Getting shredded means calorie restriction combined with increased calorie expenditure via exercise.
Getting more muscle mass means enough calories to support your expenditure and on top of that a slight surplus of calories in combination with progressive resistance training.
When you want to get cut AND get more muscle at the same time, that’s when it starts to be tricky. You are actually asking your body to break down fat and build muscle simultaneously which is kind of confusing for it. You see, to lose fat you need to restrict your calories or expend more than needed for you to stay at your current weight, but that also means there are no calories for your body to use for muscle building.
As a beginner or someone who has NOT been consistent with their fitness program or you used to be consistent but fell off the wagon, you have the privilege of being able to do both at the same time. You can build muscle and the increased metabolism due to training stimulates fat loss.
One of the most important things to remember is you need to be able to push yourself hard in the gym. If you are eating too few calories or the wrong kind (like too much protein or too few carbs), you won’t be able to sustain intense training, which is necessary to stimulate muscle growth. Now, I know you know my story and that I never consistently ate more than about 1700 calories throughout my 11 years of training, but I am not average, I was able to focus all my energy into my workouts and then go die lol. I used to have no energy at all for my work days, but I was just very tough and stubborn. My history of not eating at all for days as a teen did help me get very efficient with my fuel, which of course was never good for one’s metabolism as we all know, however, in some way I managed. Also, in all these years I’ve kept myself around 117 lbs throughout, so I have not really grown, but exchanged fat for muscle….
Anyway, back to what I was talking about…
To get really lean you need plenty of muscle mass to burn calories for you. If you have too low lean body mass your body won’t efficiently burn enough calories for you without you having to train every day for hours. That would not be possible to maintain and it would sooner or later make you drained, overtrained and your muscle mass would break down little by little.
Newbie muscle mass you got to treat gently. It won’t stick on you like “old mature” muscle will do. Look at bodies who’ve been training and dieting consistently for decades: they can take a lot of NON training without shrinking. Beginners cannot go all out doing double cardio and train with weights 6 days a week and hope for that super body. You will just tear down the house!
It took me three years before I felt I had enough muscle mass to diet down. And even then I weighed in at 110 I believe and was no way as lean as I could be at the weight limit 115 lbs. The winner was a World champion and she weighed 115 sharp. We looked like two different kinds of people for real, how could we be in the same weight division, right? She was 35, I was 19. She was SHREDDED like I am now, I was baby cut with some abs and so on, but I could have lost another 3 lbs of fat and still not be bodybuilding cut! Did I do something wrong? Did I not diet hard enough? No, but my body was a BABY, I needed more time to mature!
So, I understand everyone’s frustration and passion about getting that super tight body! I understand you want to copy everything I do because “it got to be the way”… but it’s not…. First of all, I’m known to train extremely hard day in and day out…. Even Charles Glass once told a client of mine I was obsessed lol. People who know me see and have seen me go to the gym day in day out, they’ve seen my body mature during the last 4 years.
I get the question a lot about how I can keep up the intensity with my way of eating and staying so lean consistently: what I do is I work very very hard and been working very very hard on my mental toughness, my focus, my determination. I refuse to rely on food to energize myself. And I’ve found out many times that I am just as strong in the morning without anything but bcaas than I am after a refeed with lots of carbs. What DOES make me train with more power is when I am happy and excited. When I am on a mental high, when I accomplished something, that’s when I feel like I can run a marathon.