Hi guys, Got a question for you nutrition gurus regarding "calories in vs calories out". I've switched to the StrongLifts diet to compliment the strength training programme of the same name. My goals are to (1) get strong and (2) lose my beer gut. Now, the usual argument (as Mehdi himself says) is that these goals conflict, because to build muscle you have to consume more calories than you're burning, which means that you will inevitably put on a bit of fat along with the muscle; although there are steps you can take to streamline your diet (e.g. more fruit and vegetables, cut down on carbs and stick to whole grains if you consume carbs at all), the fundamental rule remains constant. Therefore, if you are "skinny fat" you are better off bulking up first and then cutting, using your newly acquired muscle to help expedite the process. I don't know a lot about nutrition (hence I'm asking!) but... there's something I don't get. If I'm a fat git at the start of the programme, then my crappy diet is giving me a calorie surplus already, right? So in theory, by (a) reducing the size of the surplus (though not getting rid of it altogether) and (b) making it more nutritionally streamlined (cutting out bread and pasta, replacing them with veggies, laying off the beer), then (c) I will still consume more than I burn, but not to the same extent (meaning less wasted calories getting turned into fat) and (d) what I do consume is much more efficient, which again means less wasted calories getting turned into fat; therefore (e) I can have a calorie surplus and still reduce my body fat percentage... right? For example, using rough hypothetical numbers... say I need 2500 calories for maintenance. At the moment I am eating 3500 calories' worth of crap food a day, which is making me fat. I sort my diet out and cut my overall intake down to 3000 calories. Therefore, I still have the surplus I need for weight gain, but nowhere near as much, and since I am not consuming "empty" calories anymore, a much smaller proportion of that intake is going to get turned into fat, ergo my belly will start to go down over time... right? Does any of this make sense?