So, you want to know whether you can grow your glutes while being in a calorie deficit.
To be honest, there’s so much conflicting information about building muscle and nutrition that it can become extremely confusing.
So, allow me to explain everything you need to know about being in a calorie deficit, while attempting to add size to your butt.
Can You Grow Glutes in a Calorie Deficit?
Yes, you can grow glutes in a calorie deficit, although this is typically limited to those who are overweight or very new to resistance training. As someone who is in good shape and regularly works out, you will find it hard to build muscle without eating additional calories. However, as building muscle is stimulated by protein synthesis, you may be able to grow your glutes by increasing your protein intake.
1. The Normal “Rules” to Growing Glutes
Unfortunately, the normal “rules” to growing glutes means that you typically have to be in a calorie surplus.
So, if you want to build muscle, add size to your glutes, then you’ll need to eat more calories than you’re burning.
Conversely, if you wish to lose weight or burn body fat, then you should eat fewer calories than you’re burning.
This is how it’s always been, and for the vast majority of us, this is how it will remain.
So, if you’re someone who is in fairly decent shape, exercises regularly, then these are the “rules” you need to follow.
With that being said, there are a few exceptions to the rules.
In other words, there are those of us who can build muscle while in a calorie deficit.
Plus, there is also a way in which you can potentially break the “muscle-building rules”.
So, let me cover these now.
2. The Exceptions to the “Rules” to Growing Glutes
There are two groups of people who can usually grow glutes (and muscle in general) while being in a calorie deficit.
These are people who are overweight and those who are very new to resistance training.
Firstly, when someone who is overweight goes into a calorie deficit the body starts to react in a different way from usual.
The body will initially break down stored fat, which in turn provides the body with energy.
This energy will fuel your workouts and your usual daily activities.
Additionally, the energy gleaned from the stores of fat will also repair damaged muscle tissues.
Just in case you weren’t aware, when you exercise you’ll damage muscle tissues, which when repaired typically grow back bigger and stronger (depending on your nutrition).
Therefore, it is perfectly feasible for someone who is overweight to grow their glutes while eating below maintenance calories.
Now, when it comes to someone who is very new to resistance training, you will typically achieve “newbie gains”.
In fact, more often than not, when you first start working out you may even see some very appreciable gains in your first few months.
Your body isn’t used to the stimulus and you’ll usually enjoy increases in both strength and muscle.
Once more, as someone new to training, you can achieve this while in a calorie deficit.
With that being said, as a newbie with a great diet, and eating at a slight calorie surplus, your muscle and strength gains are likely to be even more significant.
Gym Newbie Muscle Gains Explained
3. Protein is Your Glutes’ Best Friend
The main building block of muscle is protein.
Basically, if you want to get bigger, more muscular, or of course, grow your glutes, then protein is literally your best friend.
In fact, hypertrophy is mainly stimulated by protein synthesis, so increasing your protein intake is the way to go.
I would even go as far to say that someone who is in good shape and well-trained may notice some muscle gains in a calorie deficit, depending on how much protein they consume.
With that being said, there is a tendency for many people to overdo protein consumption, and you probably don’t need as much as you think.
There have been a couple of very interesting studies about increasing protein consumption while eating at a calorie deficit.
The first study was published in the Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism in January 2000.
This was a 12-week study conducted on a group of overweight policemen.
The participants were split into three groups.
However, for our purposes we’re just going to look at two of the groups.
Both groups were in a calorie deficit, but their diet was fairly high in protein.
In fact, their protein consumption was 1.5g per one kilogram of body weight.
With that being said, group 1 received their protein from casein, whereas group 2 got their protein from whey.
Plus, both groups regularly performed resistance training during the 12 weeks.
The casein group went from a group average of 26% body fat down to 18% body fat, while gaining 4kg in lean muscle.
The whey group went from a group average of 27% body fat down to 23% body fat, while gaining 2kg in lean muscle.
And remember, both groups were in a calorie deficit throughout.
The main takeaway point from this study is that increasing protein intake, even while in a calorie deficit, can lead to muscle growth.
However, when supplementing protein, it appears that casein increases muscle protein synthesis more, which leads to greater hypertrophy.
The second study was conducted by The American Journal of Nutrition in January 2016.
This study was far more simple to compare the effects of protein on muscle growth.
There were two groups of men, both of which performed intense exercise over a period of 4 weeks, while being in a calorie deficit.
However, one group had a low protein diet, 1.2g of protein per kilogram of body weight, whereas the second group had a high protein diet, 2.4g of protein.
The results showed that the low protein group lost an average of 3.5kg of fat, while gaining 0.1kg of muscle.
But, the high protein group averaged fat loss of 4.8kg, while gaining 1.2kg of muscle.
So, the results clearly show that you can eat at a calorie deficit, while eating a high protein diet, and gain substantial muscle. This is great news for those of you who want to grow your glutes while eating at a calorie deficit.
So, as you can see, it is indeed possible to grow glutes in a calorie deficit.
With that being said, this generally occurs for those who are overweight or very new to resistance training.
However, while eating at a calorie deficit you should significantly increase your protein intake in order to build muscle.
If you want to grow your glutes and take your gains to a new level then I have just the thing. Brian Klepacki of CriticalBench has created a workout program that includes 36 of the best glute growing exercises. So, if you want a stronger, rounder, and firmer butt then check out my Review of the Unlock Your Glutes Workout Program.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.