I think one of the common misconceptions of building muscle is that to build muscle you must be in a surplus.
Of course – you need to be consuming enough calories to not be in a deficit, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to eat way past maintenance levels.
Instead of thinking solely calories in vs calories out – think about controlling your insulin levels in a way to allow your body to build muscle more optimally without storing fat.
How? Simply put – you need to consume your carbohydrates strategically and secrete significant amounts of insulin during your workout.
Whether you want to solely build muscle, solely lose fat or build muscle/lose fat – you should be taking advantage of nutrient timing principles.
Using basic principles – If you want to lose fat/build muscle, you would want to consume your starchy carbohydrates post workout. This will allow you to reap the benefits of insulin and partition the carbohydrates into your muscles vs. your fat cells.
Focus the rest of your meals around protein, healthy fats and non-starchy vegetables. Making sure these meals are rich in micronutrients will also help your body burn calories more efficiently, regulate appetite, lower inflammation, aid digestion, and allow your cells to be in an optimal environment to become more insulin sensitive.