Have you ever thought about what is happening to your muscle while losing fat through dieting? The science behind cutting makes it physically impossible to spare muscle mass while shedding body fat. This may come as a shock to many athletes attempting to build muscle while decreasing their overall body fat levels.
This biological process happens because the body is in a caloric deficit and must utilize existing fat and tissue to provide the necessary energy. This means that while you are losing fat, your muscle composition is also suffering. Even though the results may not be readily apparent, prolonged cutting can result in substantial reduction of overall strength and power.
When the body is in a catabolic state, it is impossible to build muscle mass because the body needs to be in an anabolic state for muscle growth. During a fasted or dieting state, anabolic hormone levels and protein synthesis will suffer. This can definitely cause a problem for extended dieters. Instead, alternating periods of bulking and cutting can provide the best of both worlds.
By alternating these diet methods, muscle growth can continue while periods of fat loss can also be achieved. Though fat loss may be slowed when bulking, it is important not to pack on more pounds than you had lost in the first place. There are certain circumstances that can allow for some muscle growth and fat loss at the same time.
For instance, if you are new to weightlifting or have recently perfected your form, it is likely that you will be able to build muscle while cutting for at least some period. Though it may not be a massive aesthetic change, the potential for muscle growth is still there. This scenario is not likely for experienced weightlifters, however.
Experienced weightlifters are only likely to see insignificant gains in muscle size while fasting if any. In some cases, the only logical pursuit is to preserve existing muscle mass while cutting. Instead, limit dieting periods and refeed the body to return to an anabolic state. Perhaps the best idea is to plan your cuts in advance to allow more time to get where you want to be.