It sounds pretty good doesn't it? Eat just as much and watch as your fat is replaced with lean muscle. It is entirely possible, in fact it's what I've been doing over the last year or so.
First some key points:
- You CAN lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously
- It doesn't happen overnight
- Good nutrition is still important
- It is easier for men, but women can still do it
- If you want to get lean quickly, it's not the best option
Now that we've got that out of the way, let's look at a few reasons why you might choose 'recomping' over 'bulking' or 'cutting'.
Bulk vs Cut vs Recomp
Bulking involves increasing your calorie intake to increase weight and muscle, you'll find the additional weight makes you stronger so you are able to move more weight and build more muscle. Bulking done well is the most efficient way to improve strength and create new muscle growth.
Downsides are that most people dramatically overestimate how much muscle they will build so they consume too many calories and get bigger, but also fatter. If this is the case, which it often is, you must then have the discipline to 'cut' afterwards.
Cutting involves decreasing your calorie intake to reduce fat with the aim or maintaining the muscle mass you have already developed. Cutting is the most efficient way to lose fat,
Downsides are simply that most people simply find it hard to reduce their calories for the extended periods of time necessary to reach lower levels of body fat. You always risk some degree of muscle loss when in a calorie deficit but this can be reduced or even reversed by keeping your calorie deficit small, ensuring your protein intake is sufficient and training smart.
Recomposition fits somewhere in between bulking and cutting. You're training hard and keeping your nutrition in check, you're increasing your muscle mass and maintaining your weight so your fat stores will slowly get used up to fuel the muscle growth.
Recomposition doesn't require eating more, it doesn't require eating less either. You don't have to go through phases of being big but soft, or lean with deflated muscles.
The downsides of recomposition are simply that because you're not focusing on one goal at a time, you don't achieve either one as efficiently. This may not be such a bad thing though, a six month bulk followed by a six month cut won't necessarily outperform a year long recomp.
Recomposition Best Practices
There are a bunch of things you should do to maximise your progress.
Eat 1.5-2.2g (or more) per kg of body weight. Muscle growth requires a net gain in protein. If you're not eating enough protein to outweigh the protein breakdown caused by exercise then you won't recover as efficiently and you won't get the best results from your training.
Your training routine needs to be progressive. You need to be pushing yourself further each time you step in the gym. Not every session will be your best but you should start each new month stronger than the last. If you're not achieving this then your training programme or your lifestyle needs tweaking. The most important thing to remember about your routine is that it must be tough enough to cause you to get better but easy enough for you to recover from.
Train Your Whole Body
You will get nowhere with recomposition if you're just training your chest and arms. They're small muscles, growth in them will not cause significant fat loss. You need to train your legs, back, shoulders, chest, arms and core to get the most out of recomposition.
Creatine helps you gain strength and build muscle. So take it!
You can read all about the benefits of creatine in this post I wrote on the Fitness Local website.
I've already gone on at length about the benefits of sleep in former posts. If you want to maximise your results, prioritise your sleep!
Find Out How Many Calories To Eat
Recomposition doesn't necessarily require counting calories, most people have a fairly consistent calorie intake but knowing will help to keep you on track.
To get a quick idea of your calorie needs, you can use the calculator at the bottom of the page.
Find Out How Much Protein To Eat
Use the calculator below, or multiply your body weight in kilograms by 1.5 and 2.2 to find your range.
Start Taking Creatine
You can get our creatine product here, but most creatine products will do the trick.
Save Time With Calculators!
I hope this gives you a better idea of whether recomping is right for you, and how to do it! You won't progress as fast initially, but if you do it right, you'll get the same great results without having to get fat in the process!
Until next time,