#163 - Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training - Deepstash
#163 - Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training

#163 - Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training

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Looking muscular

Looking muscular

You need contractile tissue to move weight. The consensus is that hypertrophy matters for strength training. The more muscle you have the more weight you will be able to lift. 

Bodybuilding is a much more forgiving sport. If you don’t want to hack squat you can change it up and do a split squat. However, bodybuilding is more mentally demanding. Bodybuilders that want to be insanely shredded will go through immense levels of hunger and low energy.


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Losing lean body mass

When we look at diet studies, we see how much lean body mass gets lost versus fat mass. 

A lot of this depends on how much body fat you’re starting with. People who are overweight or obese don’t need to worry about losing too much lean body mass because they have a reservoir of energy to pull from.

If you need to lose, for example, from 15% body fat to 7% body fat, it’s very easy, but from 15 - 5 %, you’ll probably lose 20 - 30% lean body mass.


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How to cut weight without losing body mass

How to cut weight without losing body mass

Individuals have a relatively tight range of homeostatic body fat that their bodies will defend. Once you drop below that range, Your body might pull more energy from lean tissue. You will start to feel the effects of caloric restriction in terms of hunger, your bar drops, and your non-exercise activity drops. 

You can lessen the loss of body mass with resistance training.

Lean body mass is not the same thing as muscle mass. Lean body mass is non-fat tissues, such as skin, bone, organ weight and body water. Water gut tissue and liver tissue will shrink in response to caloric restriction.


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Calories & energy balance

Calories & energy balance

  • A calorie is energy stored in the chemical bonds of food. 
  • Energy balance is calories in vs calories out. It is not linear within your body. You don’t lose one pound if you cut 3,500 calories. It depends from person to person. 


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The first six weeks of resistance training

The first six weeks of resistance training

During the first six weeks of resistance training, you don’t see much hypertrophy in people. You see strength improvements. 

At first, you have a considerable increase in muscle protein synthesis and protein degradation. When you do resistance training for the first time, for example, a leg workout, you may hardly be able to walk for a few days after. This is because your muscles seem to completely remodel those proteins. After six weeks, the increase in degradation goes down.


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Weight management

  • People confuse hunger with appetite. Instead, people eat for reasons such as boredom, stress, trauma and social cues.
  • Individuals are usually poor estimators of caloric intake. It is not an issue in isolation, but in accumulation, it adds up - some nuts here or a little extra dressing on the salad. 
  • To lose weight, pick the form of restriction that feels the least restrictive to you, such as time-restricted or calorie-restricted. 
  • If you can eliminate snacks, most people will improve weight loss, definition and biomarkers.


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It’s never too late to get active

It’s never too late to get active

People experience more discomfort when they are sedentary than if they are active. 

Older people think cardio is the best way to get active as they don’t walk to look bulky. But it is really hard to look bulky.

Lower body strength is more important in terms of falls. Accidental death in older people is usually because of an accidental fall. After 65, you can link most deaths to a lack of muscular strength or muscle. 


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Resistance training

  • With resistance training, train close to failure without going into failure.
  • If you’re sore all the time, you’re probably training incorrectly. If you’re never sore, you’re also probably training incorrectly.
  • Variation is vital.
  • The sweet spot for hypertrophy is 6 - 10 sets per body part per session.
  • The majority of stimulus you get for muscle growth is in the last five reps before failure.
  • Keep protein intake high: 1-1.5 protein per pound of bodyweight.
  • Play the long game.


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Diet and protein intake for muscle synthesis

  • Consume 1.6 - 2.6g protein/ kilogram of lean body mass.
  • Start your day with protein. Consider a protein shake instead of milk in cereal.
  • Make small changes to increase protein in meals. The less you can change, the better.
  • Low fat can impair testosterone levels, which may impact levels of lean body mass.
  • There is no perfect diet; there are tradeoffs for everything. For example, a Keto diet is acceptable if you’re training at 65% of VO2 max, but you’ll have lower strength accrual if it's higher.
  • Supplementing for hypertrophy training: whey tends to be most digestible.


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10% luck, 20% skill, 15% concentrated power of will


Layne Norton, Ph.D. is a physique coach and natural professional bodybuilder and powerlifter. He holds a Ph.D. in Nutrition Science and is a world-renowned expert on fat loss and maintaining muscle while losing fat.

Dominic Healy's ideas are part of this journey:

How To Build Muscle

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Effective workout routines

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