For a personal reason I will not be capable to get enough calories (or proteins for that matter).

My question is whether lifting weights will only contribute from now on to "destroy" the muscle I've already built, because I understand that the principle of bodybuilding is to cause the muscle to grow by partial destruction of tissues and their subsequent reconstruction (fueled by food and rest).

Is there any chance I could lift without only causing my muscle to shrink ? I suppose not since, ultimately, it's about calories intake and overall caloric balance. But since I still have some fat tissue (and quite a lot of it since I am 20-25% body-fat percentage), I thought I could at least make this an opportunity to lose fat by training without really going for bigger weights, thus I would be at least capable to maintain muscle while dropping the fat, does this reasoning hold ?

Thanks for enlightening me and giving me suggestions.

Here are my stats :

  • Weight : 170 lbs / 77 kgs ;
  • Height : 5'11 f / 178 cms ;
  • How much calories are you consuming, and how do you determine that you are not getting enough protein and nutrients?
    – xCodeZone
    Nov 1, 2016 at 22:41
  • Well I am now around 2500 Cal and no more than 70-80 grams of proteins. The rule of thumb being 1-2g per pound of body weight for muscle hypertrophy, I should be taking now up to 150 g of protein, but I figured since I can't afford that, I would just be glad not to lose any muscle at the time being.
    – Akheloes
    Nov 2, 2016 at 20:22
  • 1
    2 grams would be excessive protein. 0.9 grams per pound would be about right in your case. Also, you must be getting enough protein from your 2,500 Calories to sustain you for the day. JJosaur has already covered the rest up in his answer.
    – xCodeZone
    Nov 2, 2016 at 22:20

1 Answer 1


Muscle atrophy (decrease in muscle size) is triggered by lack of activation of that muscle (can be triggered by various diseases and syndromes too). A real-world example would be if you had your arm in a cast for a long time, you would sense a lessening of strength and maybe be able to measure a size difference. Basically: "use it or lose it".

Your assertion about micro-tears reducing muscle size is false. You have enough energy stored in the fat in your body and you will have some protein in your diet which will be used to grow muscle. However, your lifting progress will be slow and you will stall often if your diet is not supporting it.

  • Ok good ! Seems then that excercice plays a much more prominent role in conserving muscle mass, but tell me just for curiousity sake :what's the strict minimum amount of protein to consume in ordre to insure any growth (however slow that might be) ? I hear 50-70g is a recommendation ot be considered.
    – Akheloes
    Nov 2, 2016 at 20:25
  • 1
    Anywhere between 0.7-2g/lb body-mass. Opinion on this vary greatly still, most bodybuilders swear by 1g/lb. It seems most strongmen competitors aim for a lot higher (2-5g/lb). Depends on your goals.
    – John
    Nov 3, 2016 at 7:47

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.