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 Post subject: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in protein?
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:13 am 
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Rabbit
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I've been a vegetarian from 2010 to 2012 and I eventually started eating meat in 2012 because I got into working out and I thought it was impossible on a vegetarian, almost vegan diet. Now 2013 is here and I started to ask myself what I'm doing. I actually sacrificed my personal beliefs for muscle building and that was a ridiculous thing to do imo. My game plan is to be in a consistent caloric surplus while getting around 15% of my macros from protein. I find it hard to believe that you're not going to gain any muscle on a low protein diet if you're in a consistent calorie surplus and you're consistently doing resistance training, but that's what most people say. What are your thoughts on this? Did any of you have success doing this?


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:32 pm 
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Hi jr17, glad that you came to your senses and are back in the game. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) actually recommends a calorie ratio of 65% carbs, 15% protein, and 20% fat for athletes looking to gain muscle. I wouldn't call 15% of your calories coming from protein a "low protein diet" either. That's from the book "ACSM's resources for the personal trainer".

Golden era bodybuilder Steve Reeves actually recommended a calorie ratio of 60/20/20, and he was a Mr. Universe winner. Point is, 15% of your calories coming from protein will be more than enough, and the extra carbs will help you refuel.

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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:11 pm 
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Finch

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Hi Jr. Sadly, many people try to go vegan and fail, then blame the lifestyle and become lifelong anti-vegans. So I am very pleased to hear that you are back on track and acting in accordance with your principles. Good on you, brotha.

Now to answer your question... carbs are the construction workers. Without them, it doesn't matter how many building blocks (protein) you have, because the blocks will go to waste (body does not store amino acids after proteolysis). Contrarily, if you have a crap ton of workers but no building materials (protein) on-site, you will not have the raw ingredients to pack on. At any rate, fat makes this process harder by reducing insulin sensitivity, which prevents the workers from doing their job efficiently. But it provides good dense energy when eaten by itself as a snack (nuts, seeds, an avocado). Hope this helps.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:11 pm 
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That's good to hear. I bought non-gmo soy protein today and it was much better than I thought it would be. I like the fact that there's no artificial sweeteners in it and that it doesn't wreak havoc on my intestines the way whey did. I hope vegan/vegetarian bodybuilding works out for me, but if it doesn't I'm willing to sacrifice my muscle gains for being a vegan/vegetarian. I'm tired of feeling guilty every meal.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:18 pm 
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Haz wrote:
Hi Jr. Sadly, many people try to go vegan and fail, then blame the lifestyle and become lifelong anti-vegans. So I am very pleased to hear that you are back on track and acting in accordance with your principles. Good on you, brotha.

Now to answer your question... carbs are the construction workers. Without them, it doesn't matter how many building blocks (protein) you have, because the blocks will go to waste (body does not store amino acids after proteolysis). Contrarily, if you have a crap ton of workers but no building materials (protein) on-site, you will not have the raw ingredients to pack on. At any rate, fat makes this process harder by reducing insulin sensitivity, which prevents the workers from doing their job efficiently. But it provides good dense energy when eaten by itself as a snack (nuts, seeds, an avocado). Hope this helps.

Yeah, I know a person who eats 250 grams of protein a day and he barely even looks like he lifts. I made more progress than him on a diet with low to moderate protein intake in one year than he made in about 3 years on his high protein low carb diet. He looks a lot more lean than me, but I would rather have a puffy muscular look than a ripped athletic look.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:23 am 
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Hi Jr17 and welcome to the forums. What Haz said. To be honest I don't think I've ever been able to do a high protein low carb diet, even though I've really wanted to. Its just difficult, tiresome and energy depleting to always be getting your primary nutrition from proteins for the reasons stated by Haz above. I've pretty much lived like you for the past eighteen months or so and have indeed made muscle gains but I'm bulky muscular, not lean. So it's really a matter of what your end goal is and from you say, it seems you've reached your goal:-)


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:36 am 
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Thanks, but I'm far from reaching my goal. I'd like to build at least 15 pounds of muscle while keeping the same body fat percentage (I'm probably around 20%. Of course I'd like to be ripped, but I already tried that and I came to the conclusion that it's not going to happen with my body type. I was 145 pounds and wasn't even close to getting a six pack. I'm 165 now and I feel like if I couldn't get it at 145, I'm not going to be able to get it at 165. I was able to see them when I pulled my fat down so I know they are there :wink:

http://oi45.tinypic.com/107rk75.jpg


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 2:44 pm 
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Finch

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You can get a sick pack more easily at 165 than 145 as long as most of that extra weight is muscle.

I know how you feel, because two years ago I was 220 and FAT, then I worked my ass off to get down to 145, and was stronger, but was (and still am) still lacking abdominal definition. However, at 155 now, I am slightly wider around the waist than I was at 145, but you can see my abs better now than when I was 145. But that damned lower belly pooch seemingly persists...

Anyway my point is, abs are a combination of hypertrophied muscle and leanness. You seem to have done the bulk of the trimming down, so you just need to work those bad boys til they pop out like a mofo.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:57 pm 
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You guys need to go to bodybuilding.com and learn about nutrition its a science proven by thousands of athletes. Its pretty simple eat more then you burn you get fat. Can not see abs fat. Too much protein will turn to fat, too much carbs turns to fat. Muscle is made up of proteins (amino acids). carbs cannot be used to build muscle you must have protein. I dont think you need as much as they say 1g per lean body weight that means for you at 165 lbs @ 20% bf you would need 132g of protein. I guess if your seeing gains with a 15% of your cal from protein great every bodies different have to find out what works for you. Macro requirements are the same for everyone we just need to get ours from a none animal source. Generally speaking everyone's metabolisms different people handle carbs differently some can eat more then others and not can weight, protein should be a pretty consistent number and carbs should be adjusted to either bulk or cut.
So far the bodybuilders on this site that look like main stream bb still try and follow the macros of regular bodybuilders 40%,40%20% and I have been impressed with the way they look. My protein intake has dropped since going going veggie but I have been able to stay around 130ish with no strength lose and have lost some weight.
There is something called skinny fat and malnutrition people in Africa with protein deficiency are skinny with big abdomens from fluids collecting there.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Haz wrote:
You can get a sick pack more easily at 165 than 145 as long as most of that extra weight is muscle.

I know how you feel, because two years ago I was 220 and FAT, then I worked my ass off to get down to 145, and was stronger, but was (and still am) still lacking abdominal definition. However, at 155 now, I am slightly wider around the waist than I was at 145, but you can see my abs better now than when I was 145. But that damned lower belly pooch seemingly persists...

Anyway my point is, abs are a combination of hypertrophied muscle and leanness. You seem to have done the bulk of the trimming down, so you just need to work those bad boys til they pop out like a mofo.

Part of it is genetics though. I store most of my fat in my belly region. My dad is the same way and even my aunt (my dad's sister) who's almost anorexic has some belly fat. On my mom's side the men were the same way. Some people have a six pack without working out because of their genetics. I've even seen fat guys who barely look like they lift that have visible abs. They just seem to store fat everywhere but their belly region.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:20 pm 
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oldlunk wrote:
You guys need to go to bodybuilding.com and learn about nutrition its a science proven by thousands of athletes. Its pretty simple eat more then you burn you get fat. Can not see abs fat. Too much protein will turn to fat, too much carbs turns to fat. Muscle is made up of proteins (amino acids). carbs cannot be used to build muscle you must have protein. I dont think you need as much as they say 1g per lean body weight that means for you at 165 lbs @ 20% bf you would need 132g of protein. I guess if your seeing gains with a 15% of your cal from protein great every bodies different have to find out what works for you. Macro requirements are the same for everyone we just need to get ours from a none animal source. Generally speaking everyone's metabolisms different people handle carbs differently some can eat more then others and not can weight, protein should be a pretty consistent number and carbs should be adjusted to either bulk or cut.
So far the bodybuilders on this site that look like main stream bb still try and follow the macros of regular bodybuilders 40%,40%20% and I have been impressed with the way they look. My protein intake has dropped since going going veggie but I have been able to stay around 130ish with no strength lose and have lost some weight.
There is something called skinny fat and malnutrition people in Africa with protein deficiency are skinny with big abdomens from fluids collecting there.

Not sure if you were directing that post at me, but I already knew just about everything you wrote. I already knew that bodybuilders recommend 40, 40, 20 especially during a cut, but I'd like to know if that's actually proven to build more muscle than something like 60,20,20. I've seen a few guys on youtube who get by on a pretty low protein diet and their physiques look amazing so it makes me wonder if the 40,40,20 macro-nutrient ratio is just broscience that the supplement companies made up to sell more protein.
This guy said that he only gets about 100 grams a day http://www.youtube.com/user/HomeGymFitness
and this guy said that he only gets about 15% of his macros from protein http://www.youtube.com/user/fitnessforl ... e=g-high-u


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:44 pm 
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No two people will get the same response from the same macro ratios, it's all going to be up to your genetics, how you train, and what you choose to eat for meeting those macros that will decide where you're going to end up. It doesn't pay to obsess about various macronutrient ratios unless you are going to try them and see how you fare on them - I've gained and gotten up to 283 lbs. and strong on lower protein (about 15% of total caloric intake), but I also got fat as hell at the same time. I've gotten down closer to single-digit bodyfat at 225 lbs. by putting protein @ 35-40% of my total calories and have managed to exchange about 8 lbs. of fat for about 6 lbs. of muscle without any real "dieting" since the start of the year. To me, this shows that my body prefers higher protein and far fewer carbohydrates, but that's just MY system, and won't be the same for everyone else.

I envy those people who can eat 60-70% of their calories from carbohydrates and stay lean, but it won't work for me. Tried it off and on, ends up with me making strength and size gains, but plenty of fat along for the ride as well.

Basically, you MAY be able to do well for gains on lower protein so long as the calories are still above what you expend every day, but there's no guarantee. You may be better off with more protein, or, it may make little difference - the bodybuilding world would be much better off if the actual science were left as it is and people didn't constantly try to market their theories as universal across all people. It only adds to too much overthinking, it gets confusing, and people end up spending too much time having faith that a big change in macros will suddenly give them something they've always hoped for. Sure, it may well be that a standard bodybuilding macro plan works well for MOST people, but that doesn't mean it works best for everyone, trial-and-error is the only way to know what works best for you.

Best solution? Try the lower protein approach for a while, see how it goes as a 3-month test (just don't make it a 3-year run like I did), if you're not happy with the results, then ditch it and change things up. If you like it, keep at it until you're no longer satisfied with what it gives, and then change things up. But, if you don't try it, you'll never know how well you'll fare on it, and crazier stuff has happened as far as what people have gotten for doing something different in the face of bodybuilding "fact" that's often loosely based on actual facts and have been been twisted to meet someone's hypothesis just so they can attach their name to a book or article. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:06 am 
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VeganEssentials wrote:
No two people will get the same response from the same macro ratios, it's all going to be up to your genetics, how you train, and what you choose to eat for meeting those macros that will decide where you're going to end up. It doesn't pay to obsess about various macronutrient ratios unless you are going to try them and see how you fare on them - I've gained and gotten up to 283 lbs. and strong on lower protein (about 15% of total caloric intake), but I also got fat as hell at the same time. I've gotten down closer to single-digit bodyfat at 225 lbs. by putting protein @ 35-40% of my total calories and have managed to exchange about 8 lbs. of fat for about 6 lbs. of muscle without any real "dieting" since the start of the year. To me, this shows that my body prefers higher protein and far fewer carbohydrates, but that's just MY system, and won't be the same for everyone else.

I envy those people who can eat 60-70% of their calories from carbohydrates and stay lean, but it won't work for me. Tried it off and on, ends up with me making strength and size gains, but plenty of fat along for the ride as well.

Basically, you MAY be able to do well for gains on lower protein so long as the calories are still above what you expend every day, but there's no guarantee. You may be better off with more protein, or, it may make little difference - the bodybuilding world would be much better off if the actual science were left as it is and people didn't constantly try to market their theories as universal across all people. It only adds to too much overthinking, it gets confusing, and people end up spending too much time having faith that a big change in macros will suddenly give them something they've always hoped for. Sure, it may well be that a standard bodybuilding macro plan works well for MOST people, but that doesn't mean it works best for everyone, trial-and-error is the only way to know what works best for you.

Best solution? Try the lower protein approach for a while, see how it goes as a 3-month test (just don't make it a 3-year run like I did), if you're not happy with the results, then ditch it and change things up. If you like it, keep at it until you're no longer satisfied with what it gives, and then change things up. But, if you don't try it, you'll never know how well you'll fare on it, and crazier stuff has happened as far as what people have gotten for doing something different in the face of bodybuilding "fact" that's often loosely based on actual facts and have been been twisted to meet someone's hypothesis just so they can attach their name to a book or article. ;)

Thanks for the response. My question has been answered. I'm going to take your advice and try something like 60,20,20 and I'll see how my body responds to it. I really don't mind gaining fat (as long as I'm gaining muscle as well) since I'd rather have a husky build than an athletic, ripped physique.


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 Post subject: Re: Building muscle on a calorie surplus that's low in prote
PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:57 pm 
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Finch

Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:39 pm
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I have only been into building muscle for ~4 months and before I started I was nearing an anorexic weight. However since I have started I have gained a nice amount of mass and my protein intake is only about 10-15% eating raw breakfast, lunch and a cooked dinner. I eat app. 3000 to 4000 kcals a day (nearly all carbs) and I barely gained any fat [currently I am at 72-74 kilos at 184cm (6 feet)].I dont know if I will be able to keep on gaining like this after getting to a decent size but it doesn't seem to be slowing anytime soon even though I dont eat much protein at all. Just my personal experience, it might be completely different for you. Though I wouldnt ever drop my cooked dinners, I am scared of going below 10% protein, its just good to be on the safe side.


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