Workout Tips

How to Gain Strength as You Lean Out

Yes, it's possible to get stronger without bulking. Here's how.

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Man preparing to deadlift barbell
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Is it possible to gain strength as I lean out? If not, how much more do I need to be eating—Francis A., St. Louis, MO

Yeah, it’s possible. Gaining strength has to do with how you train, and shredding up is all about your diet—the two functions are mutually exclusive. You need just enough calories to recover, which isn’t as much as you’d think.

Consume 8-12 calories per pound of bodyweight. On nontraining days, drop the calories per pound of bodyweight by one or two calories.

C.J. Murphy is the owner of Total Performance Sports in Everett, MA.

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