Body recomposition is the idea of replacing fat in our bodies with muscle.
The goal should not be weight loss. The goal should actually be fat loss.
Fat can’t be turned into muscle. They are two different types of cells and are at different places in the body.
Fat can be lost, but the only effective means to lose fat is to cause the body to eat it’s own body fat. Fat doesn’t just disappear for no reason. Your body wants to retain the fat in case it is needed.
The common way to lose weight is to reduce caloric intake and increase the energy expenditure. This is commonly called “eat less, move more”.
Fine tuning this methodology is to take a look at the macros, IE, fat, carbs and protein.
What can we do with our macros?
For body recomposition we don’t want to drop our protein levels. To build muscle mass we probably want to increase our daily protein intake. Maybe not by a lot, but it’s not the area that should be cut.
Fat and carbs both provide protein. We don’t need carbs but we do need fat. It is an essential nutrient. So this is the reason that people use low carb diets for losing weight.
Ketogenic diets are becoming popular today. They are Low Carb, High Fat and Moderate Protein. These diets provide quick weight loss but a lot of that weight is water loss. With any diet a lot of the weight loss is water. And that’s not a bad thing. But it’s quickly regained if the person returns to their previous macro mixture.
The fastest way to lose fat is to do the following:
- Ketogenic carb levels, < 20 grams of carbs per day. This puts the diet into fat burning mode instead of carb burning mode. It’s the best way to go for people with Insulin Resistance. (Prediabetes: A high-risk state for developing diabetes)
- Protein at a sufficient level to gain muscle mass. The amount depends upon your training level. (How Much Protein?)
- Fat to fill the gap between what your body can provide and what your energy needs are for the day.
I’ve made a calculator to estimate these macros (PSMF Calculator).
It takes physical exercise to build muscle. And the right kind of physical exercise to build muscle.
A Percentages Game
The real goal should be to drop body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is the number of lbs of total body weight that are fat. A numerical example might make the point clearer. Say a man weight 200 lbs and has 25% body fat. That man has 50 lbs of fat and 150 lbs of lean mass. If that person made a goal of 15% body fat with that same 150 lbs of lean mass that would be 22.5 lbs of body fat and a total weight of 172.5 lbs. The man’s body has definitely been recomposed even if he didn’t gain a single ounce of lean mass or muscle.
It is probably still necessary to gain muscle mass at the same time.