There were an article in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition earlier this year, about body composition. The team of scientists at McMaster University in Canada proved that a low calorie, high intensity weight training with added HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) combined with high protein can cause dramatic and substantial changed in body composition in as little as 28 days.
Taking 40 men in “rough shape”, hey there words not mine, cutting their usual calorie intake by 40% (this were calculated by body weight not the standard 2000/2500) and making them undertake intense exercise. I love this quote by Stuart Phillips who is the lead quack “It was a gruelling affair, These guys were in rough shape, but that was part of the plan. We wanted to see how quickly we could get them into shape: lose some fat, but still retain their muscle and improve their strength and fitness.”. Nowt like being told your rough as…
They split the guys into 2 groups, both groups were on the reduced calorie diet but the protein intakes were different as follows.
Group 1: High Protein, were taking 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Group 2: Low Protein, were taking 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Both groups were prescribed the same program of high intensity weight training AND interval training (cardio), 6 days per week, so quite intensive.
Group 1: High Protein lost 11 lbs of fat, gained 2.5 lbs lean muscle mass.
Group 2: Low Protein lost 8 lbs of fat, gained only 0.2 lbs (thats 3 oz) of lean muscle mass.
What’s interesting is that with such a huge deficit in calories none of the guys lost any muscle mass. I sort of expected them to lose more fat with the body struggling to maintain its muscle mass. Phillips went on to say “Exercise, Particular listing weights, provides a signal for muscle to be retained even when your in a big calorie deficit”. This kind of supports my view that you’d burn more fat to retain it.
Again Phillips appears to have thought the same as I did that the higher protein group wouldn’t burn as much far, but in reality they lost 33% more fat. He said “(we) were a little surprised by the amount of additional fat loss in the higher protein consuming group.”.
There is an interesting caveat, Phillips says “We designed this program for overweight young men, although I’m sure it would work for young women too, to get fitter, stronger, and to lose weight fast. It’s a tough program and not something that’s sustainable or for those looking for quick and easy fix,”, he goes on to say “We controlled their diets, we supervised the exercise, and we really kept these guys under our ‘scientific’ thumb for the four weeks the participants were in the study.”.
The precise details of the diet, exercise and such aren’t released but the blueprint is there so should be reproducable to a good extent. There is a ray of hope, the same team hope to do a follow up study where its not so strict and potentially sustainable.
This study maybe the tip of the iceberg which busts the myth that you can’t cut and bulk at the time time. It appears you can but its going to test your mettle, and push you to the edge.
A Manchester Based Photographer and Website Developer with interests in Strongman, Fitness and Geekery.