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Is Calorie Surplus really necesary to build muscle/gain weight on AAS?

7asssa7

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In the famous study by Bhasin (600 mg every week), subjects gained up to 7-8 kg of Lean Muscle Mass.

Extracted from the study:



Standardization of Protein and Energy Intake

Two weeks before day 1, the men were instructed to begin following a standardized daily diet containing 36 kcal per kilogram of body weight, 1.5 g of protein per kilogram, and 100 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamins, minerals, and trace elements. Compliance with the diet was verified every four weeks by three-day records of food consumption. The dietary intake was adjusted every two weeks on the basis of changes in body weight.

Treatment

The men received either 600 mg of testosterone enanthate in sesame oil or placebo intramuscularly each week for 10 weeks in the Clinical Research Center. This dose is six times higher than the dose usually given as replacement therapy in men with hypogonadism and is therefore supraphysiologic. Doses as high as 300 mg per week have been given to normal men for 16 to 24 weeks without major toxic effects.34

Training Stimulus

The men in the exercise groups received controlled, supervised strength training three days per week during the treatment period. All the men trained at equivalent intensities in relation to their strength scores before the training. The training consisted of a cycle of weight lifting at heavy intensity (90 percent of the maximal weight the man lifted for one repetition before the start of training), light intensity (70 percent of the pretraining one-repetition maximal weight), and medium intensity (80 percent of this maximal weight) on three nonconsecutive days each week.35 Regardless of the actual weights lifted, the training was held constant at four sets with six repetitions per set (a set is the number of complete repetitions of an exercise followed by rest). Because previous research had demonstrated increases in strength of approximately 7 percent for the bench-press exercise and 12 percent for the squatting exercise after four to five weeks of training,35 the weights were increased correspondingly during the final five weeks of training in relation to the initial intensity. The number of sets was also increased from four to five, but the number of repetitions per set remained constant. The men were advised not to undertake any resistance exercise or moderate-to-heavy endurance exercise in addition to the prescribed regimen.





If we assume that the males were 80 kg, their calorie intake was only 2880 calories per day! This is far below the calorie intakes promoted usually (3500+) And their training was also pretty standard too.

Makes one think if such high calorie and protein intakes are truly necessary
 

Elvia1023

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Of course it is but there are exceptions. Studies can be good but you have to use some common sense. These are natural athletes been given 600mg test so of course they will grow. You can give test to people who don't even train and they will grow muscle especially if natural to begin with. What do you think will happen after the initial weight gain if they were to stay on? Do you think they would continue growing year after year on 2880 calories per day for years to come? You can't just keep upping the dose plus even if you did you need calories to grow over and over.

If someone wants to look good but be relatively small then sure you can take test and eat 2880 calories indefinitely. However if you want to grow loads of muscle you are going to have to increase calories progressively. So sure you don't need to eat high calories and many can grow on fairly low calories and adding in aas with low calories will mean a lean and solid physique but most people on here have bigger goals.
 

tren_plz

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Unless you are very genetically gifted, then yes.

Test alone has shown to increase lean muscle mass without exercise, but if you're genuinely trying to grow why would you NOT want to be in a caloric surplus?
 

beastmode121

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IDK how to put this but it depends.
If you’re a beginner, no need for surplus but it does give you the max benefit if you did.
If you have few cycles down and already gained as muscle on little food then food is very essential for you to break the plateau
 

Gunsmith

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I don't think the calories are as big of a factor as have enough NUTRITIENTS.
If your daily calorie needs at 3000 to maintain 200lbs at 10% bodyfat do you think adding 1000 calories from cake a day is going to build more muscle than adding 1000 calories from beef.??
(Yes I know that's an extreme example)
 

McSwickles

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I think you can, if you look at recomp cycles, your gaining some muscle while losing some fat, but it’s not ideal. You obviously won’t gain muscle as much or as quickly if your calories aren’t there.
 

IronLion2

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I think you need to take some statistics classes before you go thumbing through other people's data
 

TheOtherOne55

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Its seems somewhat simple.
Your body NEEDS new stimulus to grow—AND at least some sort of nutrients.

As long as you have some calories, then the new stimulus will work for awhile.
Your study shows that. They had baseline calories and they added new stimulus in with gear...BOOM, growth.
You could take a person eating baseline cals and throw training at them (assuming they are untrained) and BOOM, growth.
That obviously works for beginners.

But at thethinker just said, as you progress, you are constantly using new stimulus (food, training, gear) to keep your body growing. Big dudes get big doing those things.
 

headtrainer

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I believe it has to do with a persons body fat levels. It’s going to be hard to gain muscular weight once you get below 6-8% body fat. Just as it becomes harder to lose body fat once you get to those same levels.
 

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buck

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Depending on the calorie surplus that they were carrying around on their body can make a difference from what i have seen.
 

beverast

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First lecture in law school, it was civil law, our professor said "First things first, if anyone ever asks you anything about a legal matter, the only answer you can give is "it depends". Turns out that's not just true for law. Human physiology is a fairly complex thing and adding hormones and other things exogenously has a tendency to blur the lines somewhat.

This is very much oversimplified, but broadly speaking, net protein accretion equals protein anabolism minus protein breakdown. We know that anabolic steroids affect both sides of the equation in our favour.

For a natural, there certainly are ways to avoid excessive muscle protein loss during times of hypocaloric dieting, probalby most importantly high tension training and high(er) protein intake. However, don't even begin to think about putting on any lbm during that time. Exceptions exist (beginners with high bodyfat who start working out and dieting at the same time), but I guess you all know what EXCEPTION means. In times of a caloric deficit, you have things like AMPK (an enzyme that sense cellular energy status) that pretty much shuts off protein synthesis in times of acute energy deprevation. On the other way you have mTOR with all it's downstream effect on anabolic hormones and it's primarily activated by movement under high muscular tension via FAK/PA and nutrient intake (esp. leucine). In turn, energy restriction pretty much shuts down mTOR - no protein synthesis for you. Recomp diets like Leangains cycle a short term (1d) caloric surplus with a short term (1-2d) caloric deficit. It works, but past a certain point it's agonizingly slow.

While steroids simply override certain parameters that naturals have to worry about (especially something like muscle protein with lowered protein intake in the context of a hypocaloric diet), I'd take the cop-out answer and say: It probably works up to a certain point, but you're probably not using your full potential for growth on low(er) kcal/protein. Maintaing is a different question.
 

Elvia1023

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First lecture in law school, it was civil law, our professor said "First things first, if anyone ever asks you anything about a legal matter, the only answer you can give is "it depends". Turns out that's not just true for law. Human physiology is a fairly complex thing and adding hormones and other things exogenously has a tendency to blur the lines somewhat.

This is very much oversimplified, but broadly speaking, net protein accretion equals protein anabolism minus protein breakdown. We know that anabolic steroids affect both sides of the equation in our favour.

For a natural, there certainly are ways to avoid excessive muscle protein loss during times of hypocaloric dieting, probalby most importantly high tension training and high(er) protein intake. However, don't even begin to think about putting on any lbm during that time. Exceptions exist (beginners with high bodyfat who start working out and dieting at the same time), but I guess you all know what EXCEPTION means. In times of a caloric deficit, you have things like AMPK (an enzyme that sense cellular energy status) that pretty much shuts off protein synthesis in times of acute energy deprevation. On the other way you have mTOR with all it's downstream effect on anabolic hormones and it's primarily activated by movement under high muscular tension via FAK/PA and nutrient intake (esp. leucine). In turn, energy restriction pretty much shuts down mTOR - no protein synthesis for you. Recomp diets like Leangains cycle a short term (1d) caloric surplus with a short term (1-2d) caloric deficit. It works, but past a certain point it's agonizingly slow.

While steroids simply override certain parameters that naturals have to worry about (especially something like muscle protein with lowered protein intake in the context of a hypocaloric diet), I'd take the cop-out answer and say: It probably works up to a certain point, but you're probably not using your full potential for growth on low(er) kcal/protein. Maintaing is a different question.
It's not a cop-out answer and it's all very simple. Everything you write is spot on and obviously there are exceptions. Some guys can grow on very little calories and as posted above the type of those calories are vitally important. 2800 cals of quality protein, greens, good fats and some carbs around training is a lot different to 1 pizza every day (extreme example). Many guys on here (especially the new wave) want to be 190 pounds and very lean at average height so I would even recommend lower calories for them. It's healthier and easier and can prevent certain possible side effects. Adding AAS into the mix will help prevent muscle breakdown during a low calorie diet. Now if you want to get huge then you need to throw that thought out of the window and you need to eat a sensible but progressive amount of calories the bigger you get.

Depending upon someone's genetics 2880 of calories could have people at much different sizes and conditions. But it's clear as day anyone truly wanting to build more muscle will need to up calories. If I ate 2880 cals per day with all the training and walking I do after a long time I would probably end up 210 pounds all year. As mentioned building and maintaining are two different things as well but if someone maintains on 4000 calories they will only lose size over time staying on 2880 calories... common sense. Now some guys who aren't very lean could only benefit from that amount of calories and maintain most of their muscle and drop lot's of fat. We can get all technical but there is no point and like with most things bodybuilding this stuff gets way overcomplicated at times. You get guys wondering why they are fat and they aren't tracking calories and in a constant surplus. You have guys who say they can't grow and they are eating 2880 calories daily and scared of putting any fat on.

Things can get very complicated (brain chemistry, appetite, thyroid, sex hormones, insulin sensitivity, gut health etc etc) but for most people it really is basic. I can guarantee the OP's goals can be attained with basic bodybuilding practices. Not having a go but you are obviously obsessed with ai's and estrogen and you just started a thread about dosing sust and now it's about calories when growing. The threads are good so keep doing them (not the ai ones :eek::D) if you want to learn. But so many get caught up with out of the box thinking when all they need to do is eat and train progressively and take their drugs consistently. Then when you get to where you want to be you can maintain if you want but building and maintaining are two different things.
 

danieltx

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Then why dont all the pros just stay that lean all year long and grow instead of bulking up to 15% ++ bodyfat during the offseason?
Because you don't make significant gains in size by staying ultra-lean year-round.

You diet down, depriving the body of nutrients for an extended period of time. Post-contest you flood the body with nutrients, it utilizes them near-perfectly since it's been deprived for so long, and get a rebound that results in minimal body fat gain. If you're serious about making improvements year to year, jumping a weight class, etc., you continue pushing that through your off-season and your body fat will climb some with it.

Pros getting to a legit 15% or higher body fat in the offseason is pretty rare outside of those looking to make huge gains year to year, young guys with a lot of growing left to do, etc.
 

brutus69

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this is the study. whats more telling is the low protein intake. 1.5g/kg. nowhere near what yall say u have to eat to grow. 220 pounder eats only 150g a day? bullshit! u say! MUST eat at least 1.5g per pound!
or in this study more like a 190 pounder eating 130 a day. and gaining lean mass.
 

Elvia1023

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this is the study. whats more telling is the low protein intake. 1.5g/kg. nowhere near what yall say u have to eat to grow. 220 pounder eats only 150g a day? bullshit! u say! MUST eat at least 1.5g per pound!
or in this study more like a 190 pounder eating 130 a day. and gaining lean mass.
Everyone is different and as posted some don't need loads of calories to grow effectively. Although who wrote you must take in high protein to grow in this thread? Whilst I think higher protein is optimal you definitely don't need high protein to grow. Carbs and fats are protein sparing so even with 150g protein someone could grow huge as long as their carbs and fats are sufficient. Again there are some guys who can get huge on relatively low calories but most really big and ripped guys wanting to get huge will need much much more than 2880 calories. The are even guys taking in approx 4000 clean calories per day who are relatively small so everyone is different but fact is most big bodybuilders take in at least 3500 calories when trying to grow.
 

hawkmoon

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If you are looking at this study in a vacuum, yes - it does show that adding hormones alone will cause growth.

If you take an individual who is natural and untrained adding any anabolic stimulus will create a response.

  • Add hormones alone = growth
  • Increase calories alone = growth
  • Add Training alone = growth

Getting some result vs. optimal results.

Which one do you want?
 

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