What is a body recomp? It’s simple: body recomposition is the act of losing fat while simultaneously gaining muscle, and for many people it’s the number one goal in fitness.
Recompositioning is more common among people who’ve just started new workout regimes, and for the first few months of their training, beginners can expect to see fat loss and muscle growth occurring in tandem with relative ease.
After this, however, most people reach a plateau soon after, and they resort to the old bulking and cutting formula in order to keep improving their bodies. But can you lose fat and gain muscle at the same time for longer?
Of course you can! But you need to know how to body recomp the right way.
While nobody can continue to recomp indefinitely, it’s perfectly possible to continue your body recomposition long beyond those early stages. You just need to know the tricks of the trade.
Body recomposition: how it’s done
As a general rule, here is how much weight you should be aiming to gain each week in a body recomposition programme:
Beginner: 0.5% body weight each week
Intermediate: 0.3% – 0.2% body weight each week
Advanced: 0.1% of body weight each week
As you can see, while the possible gains for advanced gym-goers do drop off, there are substantial gains to be made for a long time before this happens.
This depends largely on your weight. You should be aiming for…
Clinically obese (over 30% body fat for men, over 40% for women)
2% body fat lost each week
Overweight (22-30% body fat for men, 32-40% for women)
1.25% body fat lost each week
Average (15-22% body fat for men, 24-32% for women)
0.75% body fat lost each week
Fit (8-15% body fat for men, 14-24% for women)
0.5% body fat lost each week
Contest-level (below 8% body fat for men, below 14% for women)
0.2 body fat lost each week
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Determining your weekly calorie balance
You have to pack on a surplus of calories to gain muscle, and create a deficit of calories to lose it.
To find that sweet spot where you can both build muscle while losing fat, there’s a fairly simple formula to use. Take your weight, your body fat and your training level, and use it to calculate how many pounds of fat you can lose per week, along with how many pounds of muscle you can gain.
After, calculate how many calories you need to cut for the weight loss, and how many extra you need to consume for muscle gain (3800 calories cut sheds 1 pound of fat, while 1600 calories consumed builds one pound of muscle).
Add these two numbers together and you’ll have your calorie balance, giving you a clear idea of the calories you need to be consuming to both lose weight and gain muscle.
How to gain muscle and lose fat: Step by step
How long does a body recomp take? That’s down to you, and depends on your body type and training level. However, following the steps below will ensure it’s the shortest time possible…
Lift heavy, at least three times a week
This may be slightly more or less often depending on your physique. Essentially, you need to be conscious of giving your muscles time to recover between workouts, as the fact you’ll be creating a caloric deficit for yourself means they’ll need longer to heal and grow.
Try to ensure your workouts hit as many muscles as possible, too. For novices, aim for three days a week, and if you’re advanced, do as many as four, and spread them out evenly.
Be careful with cardio
If you want to learn how to do a body recomp properly, you need to be wary of mixing cardio in with your weight training.
Burning a lot of calories very quickly through cardio can eat further into your deficit, and can throw off the delicate balance you need to achieve body recomposition.
Instead of cutting out cardio completely—it’s still very good for you, of course—follow these three rules to ensure your muscle gains are still met.
– Spend more time lifting weights than doing cardio
– Do intense bursts of cardio, rather than long slogs
– Do your cardio at a different time to your weight training
Practise calorie cycling
Nope, there’s no peddling involved here. Calorie cycling refers to eating more after your workouts than at other times, due to the fact that muscles grow more in this period (this post-workout window shortens the more you train).
Also Read: How To Bulk Up Fast
For body recomp, you need to only eat a surplus in a very narrow window after you exercise, and maintain your caloric deficit for the rest of the time.
For a beginner, the post-workout growth period is as much as twenty four hours. For a seasoned vet, it’s around six. To maximise your body recomposition, you should therefore aim to eat a large, healthy meal well within this window.
Work out how many calories you can eat per day and per week, and plan your workouts to be followed by your larger meals, saving your smaller meals for periods of inactivity.
Get high-quality sleep
A good night’s sleep is crucial for body recomp. If you’re not getting the sleep your body needs to heal and grow, your whole training regime can fall apart.
Also Read: The Ultimate Bodyweight Workout
Not least because while you’re asleep your body generates most of its testosterone, which is needed to grow your muscles. Aim for between eight and nine hours of sleep every evening.
Ensure your bedroom is cool and dark, and that you hit the hay at the same time every evening, which will increase the quality of your sleep rapidly.
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