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How Much Exercise Volume is Needed to Maintain Muscle on a Diet?

man flexing arms behind three baskets of fruits and vegetables on a table

A recent study divided 38 trained males into two exercise groups, a high-volume, and a low-volume group. The participants were pair-matched based on muscle thickness to provide even comparisons of potential muscle loss or gain at the end of the study.

For the 6-week exercise program and diet, all participants cut their caloric intake to 30 kcal/kg but they kept their protein intake at 2.8 g/kg of fat-free mass. With the average participant being 85 kg, the average daily intake was cut from 3825 to 2550.

Both groups completed a total body program. The high-volume group completed 44 sets of exercise per session and the moderate-volume group completed 24 sets. Each set was 10 reps with 1-3 reps in reserve.

At the end of the study, there were no significant differences in any measure. Both groups lost weight (primarily fat) and maintained quadriceps muscle thickness.

For more, check out a deeper dive into this study here.

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