Do you NEED to be in a caloric surplus to gain muscle?
There are many factors that alter how much muscle you gain: how advanced you are, how much time you have to train, how much rest you get, and how you eat.
Eating right, training correctly, and recovering properly are the most important factors in gaining muscle, and as long as you are not in a huge deficit (more than 500 calories) you'll still make gains.
But if you eat in a surplus won't you make MORE gains? .
Yes, possibly, but not by much. And for the "dirty bulker," when it comes time to cut, they often find the extreme change in diet stressful both on their mind and body. They might even start losing muscle during their cut or develop metabolic damage. Long gone are the days where dirty bulking is what's believed to be the optimal way to get 'swole'. Putting your body through severe changes, from high amount of foods to super strict diets is far from effective or optimal. We don't build muscle in a linear fashion therefore long bulk periods lose their purpose half way through.
Over the span of a few years, the lifter who eats a balanced diet at, around maintenance level calories will likely make better gains than the individual who's constantly switching between bulking and cutting cycles.
I'm not saying that bulking or cutting don't have a place. They do. Some people find that bulking even helps them overcome training plateaus. But bulking and cutting should only be used temporarily, for short periods rather than long-term. #primalbreed .
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