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Can I build muscle with SCD?

I've reached my goal weight now, minus the 5lbs of water retention I still have from cheat day (I initially gained 13lbs, so I can expect to be pre-cheat by Monday at the latest), and I'm happy with my 'skinniness'.. But I think I look bordering on anorectic because I have barely any muscle bulk , especially not on my arms and chest. I have slightly protruding hip bones, collarbones the bones in my chest show a little, and my abs don't have a lot of definition. They show, but they look 'faded'.

My face is also pretty gaunt too. I should add that I am ( as of my goal) 132-134lbs and 5'9.5. My question is simple: Can I use the same rules of the SCD to gain muscle, or should I try a more 'cyclical ketogenic' approach ( under 30g carbs per day but 1 cheat day/carb-up a week)?

I would rather gain a decent amount of muscle quickly , but I can't cope with not having a cheat day at least once every other week, and I'm worried about the fat gain Occam's may cause.


The Best Answer

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I have been training to gain muscle before.

From what i can tell you, SCD is not precisely right to gain muscle, i believe it´s awesome to drop some extra kgs.

To gain muscle you will need to eat massive amounts of protein (depending on how hard you work, and to gain muscle you need to do focalized exercises. You can´t do exercises like the trendmill and expect to gain arm, shoulder, chest, back, and of course, leg muscle at the same time just because you happen to use a bit of all of them while doing the exercise. Exercises like that are considered to be more aerobic than anaerobic). You need to do weights and to do three o four different shoulder exercises for example, if you want to gain muscle and have shoulder definition.

If you do that you will need energy, and energy equals carbs, so you would defenitely need to be eating way more carbs than in a normal SCD. This doesn´t mean that you should bury your face in pancakes or something similar. It would mean that maybe you´ll need a steamed rice portion to have energy and enough protein to rebuild damage muscle tissue and also construct new muscle tissue.

i do not believe the concept of a cheat day would be as good. it´s more like eat carbs according to your energy demand every day but keep a very balanced diet every day. You may decide that on saturdays you will indulge in something you´ve been craving but you deffenitely can´t have a dieters gone absolutely wild day.

Hope this helps

  • Beorn86 commented Feb 7th 2012:

    good answer

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I did it. I followed SCD all through 1 month of occam's my weight stayed the same but I saw shifts in body fat percentage and lost inches in the right places and gained some in others. My weight hung around 225 +/- 3lbs throughout. My body fat went from 26 to 22 however. The weight staying the same requires lean mass gain as do the shifts in inches. All in all I count ~10lbs fat lost +l0 lbs muscle gained.

The one exception I allowed from SCD was the Whey Protein Shake to meet my 220 g(protein) requirement. The workhorse of the Diet was the Men's Health Ultimate Game day Chili which I would have for brunch lunch and afternoon snack. Mine came up at about 150g(p) per pot and about 1 per day. I measured all ingredients separately before combining. It would usually last 1.5 days. For dinner I'd have beef. I did this to save time b/c I was cooking so much on this diet. Steaks took an average of 7 minutes to cook +15 min rest while chicken breasts takes 20 minutes +15 minute rest. To save cash I bought the meat in larger pieces. Usually Whole Tenderloin and Whole Top Sirloin which cost between 6 and 9 $/lb here in FL, 10-20 minutes to trim and portion out. To further save time I usually portion the large cuts into roasts instead of steaks. They took about 30-40 minutes to cook +20 minute rest and lasted 2-3 days and were easily portioned by slicing thin. To meet the requirements with chicken would have meant roasting 1 whole chicken a day. which is about 1 hour cooktime + 30min rest. The chicken roasting gear was also about $200 so it was out. For breakfast I usually had 4 eggs and pancetta or bacon to get to the 30g(p) breakfast requirement.

Cheat days were almost always pizza and beer. I usually had 2 cheat days in a row b/c it was college weekend and I always bought too much and couldn't eat it all. All in all I spent about 100 a week on food and about 150 on the supps.

I used all supplements from both chapters at the updated doses on the corrections pages of the blog.

Some mistakes I made at were drinking the shake for breakfast at first, I gained about 1 lb per day. Later I switched to mid afternoon and I think results increased in speed. Also I switched to Isopure zero carb the last week from BioChem Organic whey and lost 2 lbs almost immediately. Biochem had way too much sugar and it affected my results. I also didn't eat enough spinach at first. If I went for 2 days without having it I noticed I was quite lethargic. I might have also reduced the whey shake to workout days only with more preparation in cooking time or more cash to buy food.

If I were in your shoes however I'd just do the whole Occam's carbs and all. Because the fat gain is about 3-5lbs only and the muscle gains are significantly improved. Consider that it takes approximately 4000 kCals to grow 1 lb muscle and the additional 35-50 kCals that extra muscle burns solely by virtue of its existence. If you gain 10lbs muscle that's 350 to 500 kCals extra resting metabolic rate a day. On top of your current RMR. If you combine it with a 1-2 week taper/transition period after reaching a target gain in Lean Body mass you'll be quite happy with the results. Which should take about 4-8 weeks (12 if you can afford it)

Let's say LBM is achieved in 8 weeks it would look like this:

week 1-8 full diet, full Workout --> week 9 Remove whey shake, replace with whole food maintaining 1.25 g(p)/lb LBM, Do workout --> Week 10 No workout maintaining whole food SCD at1.25 g(p)/lb LBM -->Week 11 SCD reduce consumption to 1g(p)/lb LBM for mass maintenance

With that I think You'd be at or around the same lbs of fat you started with however you will have packed on some muscle and shifted your BF% down and your LBM up. The taper should give you time to adjust to a higher new Normal than just stopping completely. Thus creating superior fat burning conditions in later weeks.

I had 20%+ Body fat and a higher lean mass it made more sense for me to do both at the same time because my RMR was already high and mass loss without muscle gain would have lowered it. I think you are trying to make yours increase however and the little extra fat will increase it during the workouts b/c fat cells need energy too.

I don't see fat gain as a problem for you I think the fat reserves will help you build the more muscle because we build it while resting and since you need expensive medical equipment to eat while you sleep the fat reserves will provide energy for that growth. If you do however require fastidious image maintenance, Do what I did. You will be eating the requisite number of carbs from the beans in the chili and getting just enough sugar from the shake to grow just you will cannibalize some muscle in the process. Also try to space out the meals into 6-8 small portions throughout the day for caloric load balancing.

Each lb of muscle gained has an energy cost and if you create it without having the energy it will cannibalize or rob peter to pay paul. In this case probably rob legs to pay arms and vice versa. I had plenty of fat capital to pay but your body doesn't. Like a credit card with a maximum purchase being a percentage of credit limit or total fat. My metabolism is faster because I'm fatter and can transfer much more calories more quickly. I had about 40lbs extra fat when I started Let's say thats 40kCal each lb muscle costs 4kCal and I can only do 10% of my balance. I could charge it. You've got what not even 15lbs of fat maybe each lb of muscle costs 4kCal you can only charge 1.5kCals to your fat reserves the rest has to come from somewhere. Other muscles or from the carbs you would have turned into fat.

Its for you to decide. Take on a little fat and get huge quickly and work off the fat soon after or get huge slowly and be skinny the whole time.

Definitely do not do anything CKD as the caffeine requirements make the requisite rest of a mass gain workout difficult.

Hope that everything

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