Currently: 145 pounds, 170cm tall, female.

Been working out for 3 months doing cardio & intense weight lifting 5 times week with a good diet.

My question: it is believed that you cannot lose fat and gain muscle at the same time, hence bulking and cutting cycles... however.... if I was to eat high protein (150g), enough vitamins and minerals & low cal (1400 calorie) and doing intense weight lifting. Would I still see muscle growth?


3 Answers 3


No. When you're in a calorie deficit, your body must burn fuel to make up for that deficit. That fuel can be muscle or fat. When you lift weights, you are signalling your body not to burn muscle, and to burn fat instead.

Your body will not create new muscle in a deficit. That would simply be counterproductive, using up more calories and creating an even bigger deficit.

The purpose of lifting is to trigger body recomposition. Instead of losing both fat and muscle as you lose weight, lifting shifts the balance so you burn more fat and less lean muscle. That is the real purpose of lifting on a cut: to retain the muscle you have, so proportionally speaking, you are more muscular.

Also, while you won't build muscle on a cut, you can gain strength. And lots of it. These strength gains are due to improved CNS functioning and muscle utilization rather than added muscle mass. You gain strength by way of your body learning how to lift weights better.


While it is not entirely true as it's not scientifically proven that you can not gain muscle and loose fat at the same time. It could be possible through proper planning and very intense diet regime. I personally managed to stay at 160 lbs while lowering my BF percentage to 8%. You just need proper planning and determination.


This paper indicates that ketogenic diet preserves muscle mass during weight loss by using fat as the main source of energy.


By doing strength training it is possible to lose weight on a calorie deficit ketogenic diet and still maintain your muscle mass.

While I don't know if you will build more muscle (looking for papers as we speak), strength training will definitely make your existing muscles more efficient and stronger.

  • Why the downvote?
    – user5376
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 19:26

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