Here’s a quick guide to body recomp
There is a LOT of confusion about what body recomp actually is.
I feel like I always hear women say that they are eating at maintenance to recomp, when in reality they are eating below maintenance AND they’re not training nearly how they need to be for recomp to actually occur.
In fact, most are surprised when they discover how critical training is to recomp in the first place! They have a misconception that it’s just something that happens if you eat maintenance calories. And this is why they are “recomping” for months on end and are seeing no progress or physical changes...
And that’s frustrating as hell! So I’m here to put an end to the confusion
Body recomposition is the goal of increasing lean muscle mass and decreasing body fat mass, which typically happens while eating at maintenance calories.
The driving force for body recomp is TRAINING. It doesn’t matter how much protein you eat or how perfect your macros are. If the training stimulus isn’t there, you will not build muscle so progressive overload is key.
Body recomp is best suited for...
✅ Individuals who are already relatively lean (roughly 22% body fat or less)
✅ Newer lifters who have “newbie gains” potential
✅ Individuals who have just finished cutting, have completed their reverse and still have muscle-building goals
✅ Individuals who desire more muscle but are not interested in bulking
✅ Individuals who are not new to training, but they’ve never trained with optimal intensity, volume, or attention to nutrition and recovery simultaneously
If you are 25-30% body fat or higher, it may be in your best interest to cut first (and you CAN still build muscle in a cut). Your body can utilize stored fat for energy to build muscle, but you must still emphasize training intensity and progressive overload!
If you are 20-24% body fat, you may still want to be in a slight deficit to optimise fat loss during your recomp phase. Start with a 100-250 calorie deficit and go from there.
If you are <20% body fat to very lean, you may actually want to be in a slight surplus to recomp optimally. Start with 100-250 extra calories and go from there.
Here are some of the most frequent questions I get asked about recomp…
1️⃣How is recomp different than normal maintenance?
The goals are different. Maintenance focuses on maintaining body weight, which could be done in the absence of resistance training. Recomposition focuses on changing your body composition with resistance training as the number one priority
2️⃣How do you determine your TDee?
There are a few ways you can do this. You can track your food and weekly average body weight for 2 weeks and watch for trends. If your weight remains constant, that is your maintenance (as long as you are certain you aren’t undereating with a down-regulated metabolism). You can also use an online calculator, like tdeecalculator.net. OR you can have a coach customize it for you.
3️⃣How can you optimize your recomp?
🔵Emphasize progressive overload
🔵Volume should be set at 12-20 sets per body part per week
🔵High protein, with 1-1.1g/lb body mass for most females
🔵Have 1-2 rest days per week
🔵Make time for recovery, with sleep and stress management
🔵Intra workout nutrition through intra workout carbs and essentials amino acids (EAAs) or by consuming a serving of these macros prior to exercise
4️⃣How long does recomp take?
Month and YEARS! Don’t expect to see drastic changes in anything less than six months. You can be in recomp for years in pursuit of your physique goals, as long as you work in de-load weeks and training breaks.
5️⃣How do you know it’s working?
🔵Changes in your progress photos
🔵Obvious muscle increases
🔵Changes in the way your clothes fit
🔵⬆ in strength (progressive overload!)
🔵⬇ in body fat percentage (dexa scan)
🔵⬆ in lean body mass (dexa scan)
I know it’s not easy to hear that it will take time to see progress. But at least now you will have the tools to do your body recomp RIGHT.
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