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Old 04-17-2012, 02:13 PM   #1
Will Feber
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Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

After focusing on losing some fat for the past 2 or 3 months. I want to get back to focusing on getting stronger again. In the past I've made the mistake of being overeager with a caloric surplus, while trying to get stronger, just out of fear of not "fueling" my training enough and then not going anywhere...

which then just resulted in gaining way too much fat. Not like it would have been with gomad, but just more than I would have liked preferred, considering my BF is about 20%.

I've seen several people here say that they got stronger without gaining any weight? How would that be possible? Just getting stronger without gaining muscle? Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time(seems to be really really hard)..

Whats the best strategy to gain strength without gaining lots of fat?
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:28 PM   #2
Paulo Santos
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

The easiest way to do it is by tracking your calories. This isn't the only way, but I've found it to work the best for me. I tried a ton of programs and MyFitnessPal is by far the best. Just put in how much you weigh and set it up to gain about 1/2 per week. Then choose a good strength program for you. After a few weeks, see how you feel and adjust your calories as needed.

Also, depending on your current strength levels, you may actually be able to gain some good strength without gaining any weight. I gained a good amount for a few months without gaining too much weight.
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Old 04-17-2012, 02:51 PM   #3
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

I'll give you the same answer that myself and others have given you the last 4 times you've asked some variation of this same question....your BF is higher than it should be because your lean body mass is relatively low. The way you get your LBM up is by adding muscle from eating quality foods and lifting heavy. Last I remember you're squatting 225lbs for a 5RM. My prediction is that your body composition will be quite a bit better once you've added 100lbs to that 5RM, because you'll put on quite a bit of muscle in the process of getting stronger. And you can probably do it without gaining weight, which means your BF% will decrease.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:06 PM   #4
Will Feber
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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I'll give you the same answer that myself and others have given you the last 4 times you've asked some variation of this same question....your BF is higher than it should be because your lean body mass is relatively low. The way you get your LBM up is by adding muscle from eating quality foods and lifting heavy. Last I remember you're squatting 225lbs for a 5RM. My prediction is that your body composition will be quite a bit better once you've added 100lbs to that 5RM, because you'll put on quite a bit of muscle in the process of getting stronger. And you can probably do it without gaining weight, which means your BF% will decrease.
Thanks for the reply, Eric. Yes, thats what I'm planning to do. But I'm confused, how can I "put on quite a bit of muscle in the process of getting stronger" and at the same time "probably do it without gaining weight"?

Like I said, I'm mostly looking for some sort of strategy of not packing on too much weight at once, to avoid gaining too much fat along with it. Lift heavy, eat clean, etc. All sounds good. I was mostly looking for a rule of thumb for how much weight gaining is a sign of too gaining too much fat as well. Paulo's idea of planning to not gain more than 1/2 lbs a week sounds like a good one.
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Old 04-17-2012, 03:20 PM   #5
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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Originally Posted by Will Feber View Post
After focusing on losing some fat for the past 2 or 3 months. I want to get back to focusing on getting stronger again. In the past I've made the mistake of being overeager with a caloric surplus, while trying to get stronger, just out of fear of not "fueling" my training enough and then not going anywhere...

which then just resulted in gaining way too much fat. Not like it would have been with gomad, but just more than I would have liked preferred, considering my BF is about 20%.

I've seen several people here say that they got stronger without gaining any weight? How would that be possible? Just getting stronger without gaining muscle? Losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time(seems to be really really hard)..

Whats the best strategy to gain strength without gaining lots of fat?
If you are 20% right now, you have more cutting to do. When you get to 10-12%, you can start bulking/gaining strength again. At that point, your insulin sensitivity will improve and you'll make better gains with less fat gain. Once you get to 15%, cut down again, etc...

Of course you can get stronger without gaining muscle, how else would athletes in different weight classes compete? As for putting on lots of muscle while losing lots of fat, not without some pretty powerful drugs. Trying to increase muscle mass in an attempt to lower your BF% is a losing proposition, the math just doesn't work out. I am 5'11", 194 at about 10% BF right now. If I gained 20lb of muscle (which I couldn't do without steroids, but lets say I could just for fun), which would take me 3+ years at this point in my training career, my bodyfat percentage would be...9.1%. Or for that same BF%, I could lose 2lb of fat, which would take me 2 weeks or so, without drugs.

Last edited by Dimitri Dziabenko : 04-17-2012 at 03:27 PM.
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Old 04-17-2012, 04:48 PM   #6
Eric Montgomery
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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Originally Posted by Will Feber View Post
Thanks for the reply, Eric. Yes, thats what I'm planning to do. But I'm confused, how can I "put on quite a bit of muscle in the process of getting stronger" and at the same time "probably do it without gaining weight"?

Like I said, I'm mostly looking for some sort of strategy of not packing on too much weight at once, to avoid gaining too much fat along with it. Lift heavy, eat clean, etc. All sounds good. I was mostly looking for a rule of thumb for how much weight gaining is a sign of too gaining too much fat as well. Paulo's idea of planning to not gain more than 1/2 lbs a week sounds like a good one.
Since you're still basically a novice lifter and you're not down in single-digit bodyfat levels, you can probably swap fat for muscle for at least a little while.

I would recommend you quit worrying about weight and bodyfat percentage for awhile, focus on getting stronger with something like GSLP (which I think you may already be on), doing 2-3 intense metcons per week, and adding in the frequency burpees. I feel pretty confident saying that you'll be quite a bit leaner once you've added 100lbs to your squat work sets and can do the SV challenge of 100 burpees in under 5 minutes. I don't think you could get fatter while doing those two things if you tried to.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:11 PM   #7
Paulo Santos
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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Originally Posted by Dimitri Dziabenko View Post
If you are 20% right now, you have more cutting to do. When you get to 10-12%, you can start bulking/gaining strength again. At that point, your insulin sensitivity will improve and you'll make better gains with less fat gain. Once you get to 15%, cut down again, etc...

Of course you can get stronger without gaining muscle, how else would athletes in different weight classes compete? As for putting on lots of muscle while losing lots of fat, not without some pretty powerful drugs. Trying to increase muscle mass in an attempt to lower your BF% is a losing proposition, the math just doesn't work out. I am 5'11", 194 at about 10% BF right now. If I gained 20lb of muscle (which I couldn't do without steroids, but lets say I could just for fun), which would take me 3+ years at this point in my training career, my bodyfat percentage would be...9.1%. Or for that same BF%, I could lose 2lb of fat, which would take me 2 weeks or so, without drugs.
This is what I would do. With your strength level right now, you can still get strong while cutting some fat. If you want to cut, just try to loose 1/2 pounds per week and do a strength program.
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Old 04-17-2012, 05:22 PM   #8
Dimitri Dziabenko
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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This is what I would do. With your strength level right now, you can still get strong while cutting some fat. If you want to cut, just try to loose 1/2 pounds per week and do a strength program.
Yeah, seriously, what's this idea that you can't gain strength while losing fat. You can't gain as much strength, but you can at the very least maintain, unless you're a powerlifter or going down to 5%.
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Old 04-17-2012, 06:41 PM   #9
Chris Mason
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

You can gain strength without adding muscle by making your nervous system better at recruiting your muscles for a given movement. The neural component is a huge part of absolute strength.

By the way, body fat measurements are a joke and going by them is a bit ridiculous.
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Old 04-17-2012, 07:29 PM   #10
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Gaining strength while not gaining a lot of fat

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You can gain strength without adding muscle by making your nervous system better at recruiting your muscles for a given movement. The neural component is a huge part of absolute strength.

By the way, body fat measurements are a joke and going by them is a bit ridiculous.
What Chris said. Unless you have visible abs and are lifting substantial fractions of the world records for your weight class, you are nowhere close to exhausting the available strength gains at your current weight.

Katherine
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