I know there are other questions around that are similar to this one, but read on and see that mine has more concerns regarding muscle building vs. fat building.

It's a common thing in bodybuilding: bulking and cutting. The mantra behind bulking is that one "must accept the fat gains in order to gain muscle." The idea behind this is cut and dry: it's generally believed in bodybuilding circles that one has to gain fat in order to gain muscle, and that there's no easy way around it (aside from steroids and other alternatives that need not be discussed here).

So if one is to believed to have to get fatter in order to get more muscular, how does one steadily and efficiently gain muscle while not gaining fat? The problem with the formula is this:

1.Calorie surplus needed to gain muscle.

2.Calorie surplus adds fat.

3.Ergo, gaining muscle means gaining fat is guaranteed.

The same formula works backwards and is not sexy either:

1.Calorie deficit needed to lose fat.

2.Calorie deficit means muscle loss.

3.Ergo, losing fat means losing muscle is guaranteed.

If we go by calories in-vs.-out and a basic understanding of the human body's thermodynamics, how can one accurately design a program surrounded by building muscle constantly (anabolic) and losing fat (catabolic), when all the knowledge we have and programs we tend to follow preach that:

1.Building muscle and losing fat is impossible.

2.You can't build muscle without building fat.

3.You can't lose fat without losing muscle.

Therein lies the born notion of bulking and cutting. Is this fact or is there more to the story here? If this is all true, then everyone who wants to build some muscle must get fatter too?

Isn't that a contradiction for athletes?

You can imagine that it'd make no sense for an athlete to be shoveling down a surplus and slowly getting fatter if the goal to be an athlete is generally remaining lean and built, engaging muscle building, endurance and power + speed.

I'm now trying to find the holy-grail: do both at the same time, or as simultaneously as possible.

I'm trying to do "my own thing," but I fear that it doesn't really work too well and it seems nearly impossible for me to keep revealing my six-pack through fat loss, while assuring I'm building the most muscle I possibly can.

Regardless of the answers given, I won't "stop" trying to achieve my goals whether they're unrealistic or not. I'd rather die trying to reach the holy-grail than live in an uncomfortable burden of bitter taste.

  • 2
    You can gain muscle without gaining a lot of fat, but you need to maintain a small caloric surplus. What a lot of people do is trying to gain to much to fast, and therefore eating to much. I personally gained about 20kg bodymass while remaining below 10% bodyfat over the period of about 2 years doing this.
    – MJB
    Jun 23 '17 at 7:35
  • 100% agree with @MJB ... it's all about the speed. If you are in it for long term gain, there's no reason you can't add muscle without staying lean.
    – zeFrenchy
    Jun 23 '17 at 7:57
  • So you're standing by the reasoning that one cannot gain muscle without fat? Not "gaining a lot of fat" still sounds like an argument that one must still "gain some."
    – user25900
    Jun 23 '17 at 19:50
  • Because as I said, I'm trying to steadily reveal a six-pack while still gaining at least a quarter pound of muscle per week at the same exact time. I'm told that I must cut calories to keep revealing a six-pack, but if I cut calories, will I still gain muscle? Where is the fine line drawn at the bio-micro level?
    – user25900
    Jun 23 '17 at 19:53

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