Let's tackle this!
There are special circumstances in which a person can gain muscle while eating at maintenance…
But wait, it gets better,
This person can actually lose fat and build muscle at the same time as well.
This is called body recomposition, and something I help some of my clients do.
However, you can do this only under the following criteria:
- You are a person that's new to weightlifting, or
- You’re obese, or
- You are taking PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs)
So if you’re like me, and have over 4 years of weightlifting under your belt, it is very unlikely that you can burn fat and build muscle at the same time.
The good news?
You can still build some muscle if you’re eating at maintenance. The trick to do this is to eat enough high-quality protein; anywhere between 0.7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight seems to be a good spot.
Eat enough calories to help you through your workouts and still be at maintenance.
Finally, get stronger over time by progressively overloading and by taking recovery very seriously.
Keep in mind, if you do a lot of exercise, usually, your maintenance would be higher than what you think.
Being able to correctly assess maintenance calories and adjust to metabolic adaptation will be key! And no, an internet calculator will not give you the right answer, only merely a ballpark number.
Now, if you want to build muscle FASTER I’d recommend a slight calorie surplus!
Here’s me doing a 6-month cut.
You can create your own bulking (or cutting) diet with all the tools I give you in the Epic Nutrition Handbook.
Grab your copy.