It’s tricky. It’s possible if you know what elements of strength to work on, but much harder. Here’s what you need to know.
Is it possible to gain strength while in a caloric deficit? Let’s find out.
- If you’re in a caloric deficit (eating less than maintenance) using any type of diet, yes, it will be harder to gain strength, but not impossible.
- It’s easier to keep gaining strength while on a fat-loss diet than it is to keep gaining muscle.
- Where does strength come from? Three things allow you to increase strength: more muscle mass, a more efficient nervous system, and better technical efficiency.
- When in a calorie deficit, it’s very hard to improve the muscle mass component of getting stronger. However, the neurological factors aren’t calorie dependent. The same is also true for improving technique.
- If you want to get stronger on a carnivore diet or any low-calorie diet, focus on the neurological components of building strength. For example, using strength skill. You can also use supramaximal partials.
- When you’re dieting down, some lifts will stay the same, some will go up in weight, and some will go down. Isolation exercises will usually stay the same or even increase. Pull-ups will increase as you lose fat. The deadlift will often stay the same.
- However, the overhead press, bench press, and squat will typically go down because of passive stability. This can be prevented by improving activity stability before dieting down.
- You can keep your muscles strong by switching to stable machines during a dieting phase.
- Fat doesn’t move weight.
- Low-carb and carnivore diets are worse when it comes to passive stability because more muscle glycogen is lost and not replaced.
Note: For daily videos like this and more Q&A with Coach Thibaudeau, join him in his exclusive T Nation Plus forum.
Make any workout work better. Fuel it.