If you’re trying to lose weight, you generally need to eat fewer calories than you burn or maintain a calorie deficit. However, if you’re also interested in building bulk, what do you do? Adding muscle can burn more calories and fat, prevent injury, and make your clothes look better before you notice any weight loss. Having said that, the million dollar question is, can you build muscle while you’re cutting calories? 

    Your calorie deficit may not allow for muscle gains, depending on your circumstance. A bodybuilder often performs better if he or she alternates bulking and shredding before competitions.

    Maintaining lean muscle mass, perhaps even gaining muscle, during a calorie deficit is a much more realistic and achievable goal if you are trying to lose weight.

    How Many Calories Should You Consume?

    What is the right amount to eat? In addition to your age, height, weight, and activity level, you can determine how many calories your body consumes during rest by calculating your resting metabolic rate. The human body is the engine that runs your breathing, heart rate, digestion, and so forth. Based on your resting metabolic rate, you will be able to determine how many calories you need to consume to lose weight. For muscle growth, you should consume between 300 and 500 extra calories each day.

    How Much Should You Lift?

    Remember that lean muscle mass will only increase if you give it the proper stimulus, whether or not you’re operating on a calorie deficit. It could be a challenge to lift heavy everyday items at first, but that won’t last for long. Your muscles cannot develop if you do not challenge them.

    That’s why you should always modify your fitness program as you progress. However, that does not mean you should jump from 50 to 350 pounds on the bench press- that is a sure-fire way to get injured. Make yourself realistic goals for sets and repetitions; a good place to start is following the NHS recommendations for strength and flexibility training, which describe performing 1 to 3 sets of 8 to 12 repetitions.

    Even though finishing that last repetition may be challenging, taking care of your form will help greatly. Then, once it no longer seems challenging, increase the weight, or try a simpler variation of the lift.

    building muscle in a calorie deficit

    As a final point, multi-joint exercises, also called compound exercises, provide an efficient way to train multiple muscles simultaneously. When you perform compound exercises, you burn more calories and stress your muscles more, as these exercises are better suited to mimic (and prepare for) real-life situations than isolation exercises that focus on one muscle at a time.

    As long as your major muscle groups are appropriately challenged, it doesn’t matter what type of strength-training you do after that.

    Powerlifters, bodybuilders, and even boot camp classes can all be excellent for strength training if you’re lifting for general health rather than competing.

    To maintain lean muscle mass, you need to exercise and keep challenging your body’s muscles while also ensuring your body is receiving the necessary nutrients and stimuli.


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