Although it is possible to gain muscle mass in caloric deficit (at the expense of energy from fat oxidation), the most efficient way to gain muscle mass is through a calorie surplus. In addition, stimulation is needed to increase protein synthesis, which may come from weight training or an increase in anabolic hormones (testosterone for example).

For beginners it is much easier to gain muscle mass than individuals who already have large muscle volumes. In addition, for the same caloric surplus, different individuals may have different gains in muscle mass and fat, since the gain depends on the individual's genetic potential and metabolism.

At the beginning of a BULK diet the gains in lean mass (muscle and water) are greater, but part of that gain may be fat. A diet with a large caloric surplus can lead to a large gain in fat, since muscle protein synthesis is limited by genetics and the hormonal environment. Individuals using steroids and other anabolic hormones may increase the capacity for protein synthesis (by increasing the amount of muscle fiber myonuclei and androgen receptors), but this increase depends on the effect combined with training. Either way, a plateau in gains will occur after a few weeks and an increase in calories alone cannot effectively increase muscle protein synthesis.

Weight gain also worsens insulin sensitivity, which tends to favor an accumulation of fat with increased calories. The capacity for protein synthesis needs to be increased so that the individual continues to make gains in the long run, but for that it is necessary to have patience and promote changes in training and diet.

Although gains with anabolic steroids are dose dependent, it is clear that they cannot increase protein synthesis capacity effectively and immediately without synergy with training and nutrition. Otherwise, to become a great bodybuilder quickly it would be enough to take doses similar to professional bodybuilders. Any idiot realizes that this is not possible in the short term.

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