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Body Recomposition – How Does it Work?

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body recomposition
Last modified: December 11th, 2018 08:08 am

Recomposition is an interesting word.  It’s natively disliked by your spell-checker because it’s NOT a word.  We like use this particular term as more of a fancy buzzword to describe an attempt at a drastic transformation in the body’s physique.  Recomposition can sometimes be used to describe the fat to muscle type of transition, but almost equally as ubiquitous is the reference to the “bulky to lean” muscle transition.  Depending on what you’re trying to sculpt your body in to, you may have a different end-goal or vision when it comes to body recomposition than somebody down the street.  Let’s take a look at the different types of body recomposition and what you should or should not consider when trying to rapidly change your body’s physique.  Keep in mind that it’s possible you may want to participate in both types of body recomposition.

Chubby to Studly

This is something that well over half of the United States should think about taking a part of, considering we’re certifiably a nation of fatties.   Most of us can use to shed a few pounds, not only because we all want to look a little better and be more attractive, but because it’s healthier.  Being overweight will almost inevitably lead to some form of heart disease or other unpleasant complications, especially as we age.  Getting the gut under control is far easier when you’re under 50 than when you’re approaching the retirement age.  By the time you’re hitting your golden years, it’s far too late and the damage has been done.  Follow these “Steps of C’s” if you want to shed the pounds for health reasons and bulk up on muscle for the aesthetically pleasing reasons…

  1. calorie counting for body recompositionCount calories daily. This is an unpleasant truth that I’m certain you’ve heard before.  There is nothing more effective for losing stubborn fat than controlling how much you’re shoving in to your pie hole.  Use the internet to figure out just how many calories you should be taking in at your age and height.  Some calculators will differ but you should be able to get a general idea of just how much you should be consuming each day [1].  Keep a caloric journal.  Understand how much you’re over-consuming.  It’s probably going to surprise you just how much junk you’re shoving in your mouth every day.  Just because something is small, like a few chips or a bit of candy, doesn’t mean you’re not putting dozens of worthless calories into your system.  Once you’ve kept track for a couple of weeks, you should be able to consciously limit the amount of calories you’re taking in.  If it’s difficult to cut down to the recommended amount all of a sudden, we suggest slowly decreasing the average calorie consumption over the course of a few weeks.
  2. Consider calories carefully. Almost as important as the amount of calories you’re consuming is the type of calories that you’re consuming.  A calorie is not a calorie is not a calorie.  What do we mean by this?  If you eat a slab of bread or a handful of candy, you’re going to intake 100 calories primarily made up of carbohydrates or saturated fats.  These will be stored as visceral fat, which is really difficult to get rid of [2].  Visceral fat is often your body’s emergency fuel supply.  It’s the last thing to be used up and turned into energy to keep your body going during a tough workout or when your body is going into survival mode.  If you’re going to eat an egg or a piece of chicken, those 100 calories will be primarily made up of things like protein, leading to muscle gain rather than visceral fat gain.  Make sure you understand the types of calories that you’re putting in to your body, not just the amount.
  3. Consume calories frequently. Rather than eating three large meals each day, it’s often best for us to never truly feel hungry.  When you’re very hungry and you decide it’s finally time to eat, your body has been trained to believe it might be a while before its next meal.  Our systems will prepare for the future and store calories in the form of fat cells because we might need that emergency fuel source later.  Your body essentially thinks “Food must be scarce.  I feel hunger pains.  Better ration carefully.”

This is the exact type of behavior we want to discourage our body from.  By keeping our system supplied with 8 or 9 small meals each day, we should not feel hunger.  Do not eat until you’re stuffed but make sure that you’re content throughout the day.  This will keep your metabolism at a higher rate and ensure there will be little to no visceral fat storage during your journey to full body recomposition.

  1. Clear calories through exercise. Here comes the hard work when it comes to body recomposition.  It’s time to get rid of that visceral fat in the most effective way we can: Exercise to create a calorie deficit [3].  Run, bike, or swim your butt off!  Cardio is the most efficient type of exercise when it comes to burning away those pesky fat cells.  Make sure that you’re eating often and keep your diet high in protein and low in carbs.  You’re going to need all the energy that you can get since you’re depriving your body of the carbohydrates that typically provide the energy your system needs each day.  Keep track of your workouts.  Calculate how many calories you’re burning during each session.  Make sure that the calories you’re burning are outweighing what you’re consuming each day and that visceral fat will melt away fairly quickly.  Stay as hydrated as you can so that you aren’t confusing the visceral fat loss with “water weight.”
  2. Create a supplement plan. There are a large variety of supplements on the market that will help you have a more successful transformation.  Understand and be aware of any allergies that you have then consider stacking the following supplements to maximize fat burn and muscle gain [4]:
    1. Raspberry Ketone – There are a number of different sources to reference when it comes to ketones. Raspberry ketone is arguably the most effective supplement that you can stack with a protein shake.  We suggest using it in 6 week cycles and monitoring the effects it’s having on your body.
    2. Caffeine – Caffeine is a natural supplement that will help your body fight off hunger without slowing your metabolism. On top of giving you a little more energy throughout the day, which is going to be helpful once you remove all those carbs from your diet, caffeine will help you watch your caloric intake.  Don’t guzzle coffee.  Consider looking for something with caffeine that you can mix in with your protein shake.
    3. Vitamin-B – Be sure to get a high level of vitamin B into your diet. There are a number of protein powders on the market that are infused with vitamin-B so make sure you get one of those for your shakes.  This will help you regulate your new metabolic levels that are resulting from your new form of diet [5].

bulky muscleCloud to Proud

For some people, they may find that their cyclic caloric intake has led to more than just muscle gain.  These people may be extremely large and bulky looking since they worked out so much and ate even more to prevent weight loss.  Losing fat but gaining muscle can be a finicky and difficult thing.  Some of you may have participated in the first type of body recomposition and have seen a drastic loss in fat but too much muscle mass forming in its place.  This is what we like to call the “cloud” look.  Your muscles are starting to look like a freshly washed set of pillows under a blanket of skin and that’s not exactly what you had in mind when you set out on this adventure.  This particular set of rules will help you sculpt that bulky muscle mass into a lean and “cut” work of art that you can be proud of.  Think Brad Pitt in Fight Club.

  1. Maintenance calories. Days that you’re working out, you’re going to need more of a caloric intake than on the days that you rest.  If you’re going to be lifting weights pretty heavily in the gym, make sure you intake about 20% more calories than the days you rest.  Remember, you’re done trying to lose weight… now you want to tighten up.
  2. This will take a while.  You’ll need to do some experimenting to decide just how many calories you should be taking in on rest days and how many you should take in on gym days.  Make sure you keep up with your cardio on gym days, but continue to hit the weights.  You don’t want to lose the muscle you’ve worked so hard to gain as well as those last linger fatty deposits!  Record what you’re eating and the results you get each day.  Eventually, you’ll see a pattern and figure out the best types of foods for you to eat and when to eat them.  You can eat carbs, but keep the intake at a reasonably low level.
  3. Continue with your weigh-protein shake.  Make sure you mix in some creatine.  Creatine will ensure that you have the energy you need to power through the intense workouts.  The more energy you have, the more reps you can fit in to a workout.  It’s perfectly safe to stack with your shake and will maintain muscle mass. [6]

In addition to creatine, do not short yourself on beta-alanine.  Supplementing the amino acid that combines with your body’s high level of histidine will form a healthy dose of carnosine.  This will literally make you a stronger and more agile person [7].  Continue to stack these all together with nitric oxide boosters and carnitine to keep blood flowing to your muscles after your workout.  Suppressing blood movement in the muscles can lead to dead water weight and the muscles will appear larger or more swollen than they actually are, leading to that cloud-like look.

  1. Get 6 to 8 hours of sleep every single night.  Believe it or not, sleep will lead to a more lean and impressive body.  Limiting your body’s sleep and recharge cycle will make our body’s system conserve energy.  This leads to inflation within our bodies and reducing our chances for successful body recomposition.  Ensuring a steady and healthy amount of sleep will entice our metabolic state and enhance the metabolism, leading to fat reduction but muscle retention.

Maintaining Your New Body

Almost as important as the recomposition process, maintaining the body can be a lot of work as well.  In all cases, maintaining your new body composition is as simple as regulating all of the different things we talked about already.  We say “simple” but we understand that’s really not that simple at all.  Be sure to own the following several steps to keep up with that newly sculpted body you’ve made:

  • Resist temptation. Don’t get lazy!  This is going to be a lifetime of work, if you always want to look good.  Understand that if you overeat or stop exercising, you’re probably going to revert back to your old body composition.
  • Keep supplementing. Find out what seems to work best for you and your workout regimen and continuing enhancing your lifestyle through the all-natural supplements that are available out there.
  • Treat yourself. Perhaps the most overlooked step in maintaining the success you’ve had.  It’s okay to have a cheat day or cheat meal now and then.  You need to enjoy the little things in life.  There is no reason to make yourself mentally miserable in exchange for physical health.  Indulge in the alcohol, carbs, and sweets during holidays or special occasions!
  • Continue the rest. Don’t stress yourself out and make sure you’re finding time for those 6 to 8 hours of sleep.  This will help you in more than just the body recomposition.  The benefits of adequate sleep are wide-ranging.
  • Review your caloric journal. You don’t need to keep track of what you’re eating every second of every day, but it’s a good idea to understand if you’re on track for what you believe your baseline should be.  Pick your journal back up every couple of months and make sure you’re eating the correct amount of calories to keep on par with the desired look you want to maintain.

Body recomposition can be a confusing term, but the actual process itself doesn’t need to be all that confusing.  Barring some sort of serious medical ailment, nearly anybody can change their body composition simply by changing their diet and exercising.  The type of figure you so longingly desire can certainly be obtained.  There is no magic formula or instant pill.  It’s just a matter of how serious you are about putting in the time and work needed to get there.  Get out there and good luck!

References

  1. Caloric Intake and Aging
    Richard Weindruch, Ph.D. and Rajindar S. Sohal, Ph.D. N Engl J Med. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2010 Apr 8. Published in final edited form as:
    N Engl J Med. 1997 Oct 2; 337(14): 986–994. doi: [10.1056/NEJM199710023371407]
  2. Visceral Fat and Metabolic Inflammation: The Portal Theory Revisited.
    Item F1, Konrad D. Obes Rev. 2012 Dec;13 Suppl 2:30-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01035.x.
  3. Caloric expenditure of aerobic, resistance, or combined high-intensity interval training using a hydraulic resistance system in healthy men.
    Falcone PH1, Tai CY, Carson LR, Joy JM, Mosman MM, McCann TR, Crona KP, Kim MP, Moon JR. J Strength Cond Res. 2015 Mar;29(3):779-85. Doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000661.
  4. What are dietary supplements?
    Informed Health Online [Internet].© IQWiG (Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care)
  5. B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy—A Review
    David O. Kennedy Nutrients. 2016 Feb; 8(2): 68. Published online 2016 Jan 28. doi: [10.3390/nu8020068]
  6. Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Performance and Training Adaptations.
    Kreider RB1. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):89-94.
  7. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis
    R. M. Hobson,1 B. Saunders,1 G. Ball,1 R. C. Harris,2 and C. Salecorresponding author1 Amino Acids. 2012 Jul; 43(1): 25–37. Published online 2012 Jan 24. doi: [10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z]

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SR Content Strategist & Fitness Expert

Matt Weik, the owner of Weik Fitness, LLC, is a well-respected fitness expert/author/podcaster with a global following. His work has been featured in nearly 100 fitness magazines (Flex Magazine, Men’s Muscle & Health Magazine, Oxygen Magazine), 2,000+ websites, as well as having numerous books and audiobooks that are published.  Matt Weik graduated from Penn State University with a degree in Kinesiology. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist, personal trainer, and sports nutritionist. Matt is a member of the supplement expert panel at the Bodybuilding.com Awards 2018.

You can contact Matt via www.weikfitness.com or on social media links below.

One thought on “Body Recomposition – How Does it Work?

  1. mtbikerdan says:

    I have ordered the 3 wiseman combo and expect to get it any day now. Should I cycle this product? and after I cycle it, is there a product that I will need to take after so i don’t get
    any unwanted side affects?

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