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How Do You Eat for Muscle Gains Without Getting Fat? by Dr. Jade Teta – Well, the metabolism isn’t a great multitasker. It likes to be building up fat and muscle (anabolism) or tearing them both down (catabolism). You can do both at once, it’s just not that easy unless you’re a beginner or using anabolics. The trick here is to understand you have 4 different metabolic toggles to pull:
1 – Eat less, exercise more. This will burn fat and muscle because it creates a wide calorie gap through both exercise and food. Think marathon runner or skinny fat.
2 – Eat more, exercise less. This will put on both muscle and fat through creating a calorie gap in the other direction. Think powerlifter or muscle-fat. That latter scenario is what most people try to do when they want to gain muscle. It works, but it often makes you look like you just put a jacket on top of two sweaters. Not the best approach. This is usually creating a 500-calorie surplus or more, and that may be too much if the training isn’t right.
3 – Eat less, exercise less. Think the little old lady in Paris who climbs 4 flights of stairs 6 times a day, but eats only half a baguette, a cup of coffee, a radish, and some cheese. She stays lean because she drives the calorie deficit through diet and moves enough to not become a skeleton.
4 – Eat more, exercise more. That’s the toggle you want: the athlete toggle. Ramp up food intake to a slight surplus so you can gain some muscle: somewhere between 15-20 times bodyweight in pounds. If you tend to get “muscle-fat” easily, stay near 15 to start.
Now set your macros to 40-30-30 (carbs-protein-fat). You’ll need the extra carbs. Insulin is the most powerful anabolic hormone in the body. If you can’t get that fuel in the cell, you’re not going to grow no matter how much testosterone you have. Now turn up the training intensity. Doing things this way will amplify energy flux, reduce fat (or at least minimize accumulation) and put mechanical pressure on the muscle to grow. If it’s not working, SLOWLY ramp up the calories until it does. You’ll end up in a slight surplus of 200-400 calories. This is the best way to multitask
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