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Body Recomposition: Bodybuilding’s Biggest Secret

You CAN lose body fat while increasing lean muscle mass at the same time.

For a very long time, many workout programs have been telling you one big lie; you can’t build muscle while burning fat at the same time.

And it’s no wonder that most people believe it, because while it’s possible, it’s extremely difficult to achieve.

This process has an official name – Body Recomposition.

We know that this is quite a controversial subject in the fitness and bodybuilding industry, as many don’t believe you can actually achieve body recomposition.

So in this article we’ll be providing you with the scientific studies, conducted using human studies, to prove the doubters wrong.

Article Brodown:

  • What is body recomposition?
  • The studies
  • Top tips for success
  • Conclusion

What Is Body Recomposition?

Body recomposition is the process of losing body fat, while simultaneously building lean muscle mass.

As we’ve mentioned, it’s very difficult to achieve, which is why many trainers take the ‘easy way out’ and tell you it’s impossible.

While impossible isn’t the right word to describe body recomposition, you have to understand that not everyone can achieve this.

Who can achieve body recomposition?

One kind of people that can’t accomplish body recomposition are lean beginners; but if you’re already lean, then why would you want to lose body fat anyway?

So the people who experience the best results are those carrying excessive body fat, or those who were previously in shape and let themselves go for a few months.

If you fit into these 2 categories, you’ll want to keep reading.


body-recomposition-bodybuilding's-biggest-secret-fat-loss


The Studies

This is the section that the doubters will like to see. You’ll be glad to know that body recomposition has been proven to work in human studies.

Study 1

One particular case study by Garthe, I [1] included 24 athletes; they were asked to complete 4 resistance training sessions per week, while following energy restricted diets (aiming for a weekly weight loss of 0.7%).

By the end of the study, the athletes had lost body weight and fat mass, while gaining lean body mass (and increasing their 1 rep max).

Study 2

Another study by Paoli et al [2] proved that body recomposition is very possible.

To do this, 8 elite-level gymnastics were asked to perform challenging exercise while following a strict calorie restrictive diet.

30 days after the beginning of the study, the participants had lost bodyweight and fat mass, while making small increases in lean muscle mass.

Study 3 

Remember that we mentioned those with excessive body fat can achieve body recomposition slightly easier than others?

Well, this study by Demiling et al [3] saw the best results using 24 overweight police officers.

During a 12 week period, under a calorie-restrictive diet, the participants managed to lose 2.5kg in weight, showing significant decreases in body fat.

However, the police officers also showed significant increases in strength and lean muscle mass.

For this reason, this is the most successful case of body recomposition we’ve seen so far.


Top Tips For Success

You should be pretty convinced that body recomposition is possible now, so we’ll continue by giving you some key tips to help you succeed.

This is probably the only time when we’ll say you’re in a great position if your overweight. Or if you usually train in the gym but have given yourself a few months off, then you’ll be in an equally beneficial position to achieve body recomposition.

Here’s SpotMeBro’s Top Tips For Body Recomposition:

  • Aim to lose 0.7% weight loss each week – studies have shown that this gives you the best chance of achieving body recomposition.
  • Eat a high-protein, clean diet – you need to be strict with your diet, eating clean, high-protein sources and avoiding junk food to succeed.
  • Don’t eat too little – While you need to follow a calorie restrictive diet, make sure you eat a sufficient amount, or you’ll end up losing muscle mass.
  • Lift Weights – to increase your strength and lean body mass while cutting body fat, studies have shown that lifting weights is optimal.

body-recomposition-bodybuilding's-biggest-secret-nutrition-advice


Nutrition Advice For Body Recomposition

Our top tip for those interested in achieving body recomposition is aiming to lose 0.7% weight every week. That’s because this has consistently shown to be the optimal amount in human studies.

However, while following a calorie restrictive diet, it’s can be easy to be ‘too strict’ on yourself and end up eating even less.

Don’t eat less than your planned calorie limit

You might be thinking ‘eating less will just help me lose body fat faster’. And while this can be true, it also means you’ll lose a significant amount of muscle mass too – then you’ll want to bulk and get stuck in the vicious ‘cut & bulk’ cycle again.

For this reason, it’s actually important that you do eat up to your planned calorie limit.

Keep your protein intake high 

Everyone knows the importance of protein when aiming to lose body fat or build muscle. Countless studies have covered this, and there’s simply no arguing against it.

So it’s very important to consume around 1.5g protein per kg of bodyweight; for example, an 80kg person would require 120kg protein per day.

This will ensure that you’re able to increase your strength and lean body mass while losing body fat.

If you don’t consume enough protein, then you’ll find it very difficult to achieve body recomposition.


Conclusion

It’s usually the hard gainers that are naturally quite lean that claim body recomposition isn’t possible.

But this is because it’s almost impossible for them to achieve; studies have shown that those carrying excessive body fat, or those who have take time away from the gym, are the most likely to achieve fat loss and lean gains simultaneously.

We’ve given you the best tips, drawn from human studies that prove body recomposition is possible. So it’s up to you to try and make it happen.


References: 

  1. Garthe, I. Effect of two different weight-loss rates on body composition and strength and power-related performance in elite athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2011
  2. Paoli, A. Ketogenic diet does not affect strength performance in elite artistic gymnasts. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012
  3. Demling, R.H. Effect of a hypocaloric diet, increased protein intake and resistance training on lean mass gains and fat mass loss in overweight police officers. Ann Nutr Metab. 2000

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[Updated January 2019]

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