Beginners gain glycogen and water mass when they first start strength training programs. I've previously written about this here . This is a bit of an issue since "noob gains" are partially glycogen/water gains ( Ribero et al., 2014 ). This affects lean body mass (LBM), fat free mass (FFM), or cross-sectional area (CSA). Muscle glycogen/water content even affects MRI measurements ( Nygren et al., 2001 ). But, there are several studies that show beginners lose or maintain FFM when they go on a cut. Probably due to a reduction in carb (glycogen) or protein intake. Hence, it’s not a given that beginners will increase FFM when they train and cut.