Imagine if you were able to train and eat in a way which allows you to decrease your body fat mass and increase your muscle mass at the same time. Sounds too good to be true right? Well continue reading below, i’m going to teach you exactly how to start using Body Recomposition and why you need to be implementing these key techniques right now.
To understand body recomposition, we need to first understand body composition, so what is body composition? Body composition is effectively the percentage of body fat, bone mass, skeletal muscle, organs (brain, kidney, liver, heart, ect.) and water.
But, to understand body composition in a more simple way, we can divide this into two categories:
- Body Fat (all fat types)
- Lean Body Mass (everything which is not fat)
Many fitness guru’s in the industry will describe lean body mass (LBM) as only skeletal muscle, which is not very accurate.
Lean body mass is the remaining tissues inside the human body which doesn’t fall into the body fat category.
What Is Body Re-Composition?
Body Recomposition can be described as the manipulation of body composition, specifically focusing on changing the quantity & proportion of body fat & muscle mass.
For this reason, if your goal is to have an athletic, lean and toned physique, you would want to be focusing your training and nutrition around body recomposition.
Recomposition is designed for women who are wanting to take their physiques to the next level beyond mediocrity of a typical weight loss fitness plan. An effective recomposition program will involve the following:
- Sports Nutrition Prescription (supplements & diet)
- Measured Resistance-based Weights Training (Strength & Hypertrophy)
- Planned Manipulation of Body Fat & Lean Muscle Mass Ratio
A typical weight loss fitness plan will involve:
- Cardiovascular / Oxygen Uptake
- Heart Rate Measure
As you can see body recomposition has quite a different focus with most weight loss fitness programs, it requires a high level of discipline and accuracy with evidence based techniques. You can find results from body recomposition here.
What Type of Training Is Best For Body Recomposition?
The best type of training you will want to be focusing on is resistance based training. And you want to be incorporating compound weighted exercises for the most effective results especially when training the lower body for women.
With a strong focus on resistance based training you also need to be incorporating the correct advanced training techniques and allowing enough time for optimizing recovery.
I would recommend starting with the following routine, keep in mind if you are just starting out with weighted resistance training, make sure you take the time to learn the correct form and technique to avoid any injuries.
- Monday – Legs (Posterior): Barbell Squats, Stiff-Legged-Deadlifts, Barbell Deadlifts, Leg Press (high feet position), Lying Leg Curls (machine), Seated Calf Raise (machine)
- Tuesday – Shoulders / Arms: Standing Military Press, Dumbbell Lateral Raise, Triceps Pushdown, Rear Delt Raise, Bench Dips, Seated Dumbbell Curl, Barbell Curl
- Wednesday – Chest / Back: Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Chest Flys, Wide Grip Lat Pulldown, Bent Over Barbell Row, Straight-Arm Pulldown
- Thursday – Lower Body (Anterior): Barbell Front Squats, Walking Dumbbell Lunges, Leg Press (low feet position), Hack Squats, Leg Extensions
- Friday – Abs / Core: Russian Twist, Air Bike, Hanging Leg Raise, Plank, Cable Crunch, Toe Touchers, Swiss Ball Crunch
- Saturday – HIIT: Hill Sprints (1 minute 100% Intensity, 30 seconds 30% intensity) 15 minute session
- Sunday – Rest
I also recommend training with three key phases to be transitioned every 4-6 weeks:
- Hypertrophy Phase (4-6 weeks) – Sets: 3 Reps: 8-12 Rest: 60 seconds
- Strength Phase (4-6 weeks) – Sets: 1-5 Reps: 3-6 Rest: 2-3 minutes
- Endurance Phase (4-6 weeks) – Sets: 3-5 Reps: 12-18 Rest: 30 seconds
The following program can be used if you aren’t 100% sure where to get started with technique and form.
How To Optimize Your Nutrition For Recomposition
Sports nutrition techniques and prescription should be designed and planned carefully for predefined & measurable body composition results. Prescribed diet and supplement intake will involve the most fundamental keys for effective recomposition.
Quite simply, if you don’t put a focus on your nutrition, you won’t receive the results you are wanting, especially when focusing on body recomposition.
I would recommend having your calories either equal to your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) or slightly lower in the beginning stages. You can also slowly increase your calories starting at <300 (below TDEE), and increasing by 50kcal’s until you reach maintenance levels.
Cycling your calories is also an important key for recomposition which will involve alternating high, moderate and low calorie days. Lower calorie days will be lower in carbohydrates and higher in fats. High to moderate calories days will be higher in carbohydrates and slightly lower in fats.
By cycling your calories and carbohydrates throughout the week, you will be able to effectively target fat loss and put a strong focus on building muscle mass with higher calorie / carb intake days.
Out of all the macronutrients, protein will be the most important for ensuring proper muscle repair for lean muscle mass gains. You will want to be focusing on a daily target protein intake of 1.5-2.2g/kg body weight. Regardless of your high & low days, you need to be keeping protein consistent. Protein has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) and will be utilized the most efficiently out of any other macronutrient.
You can find out the 3 key evidence based supplements I recommend with dosage details here.
So Why Should Women Start A Body Recomposition Program?
The main reason why body recomposition is so important for women compared to your typical crash dieting weight-loss program, is because it teaches women that higher calories, carbs and weight-training aren’t evil like it’s made out in the media. They are beneficial for positive body composition changes, but also leading to a sustainable physique transformation.
One of the most detrimental problems with weight-loss programs is when the scale goes down, the weight being lost isn’t always only fat. Weight-loss programs typically teach women to decrease their calories far too low, this causes lean muscle mass to decrease with body fat, as well as potentially irreversible metabolic damage. The end result is the dreaded “skinny-fat” look, added to this problem is the high amount of focus with cardiovascular exercise. Resistance-based exercise tells your body to retain & grow lean muscle mass. Too much cardio with a large calorie deficit will cause your body to use muscle mass for energy. This happens when your glycogen stores are depleted and no glucose is available, so your body starts to break down its own muscle tissue to release amino acids. These amino acids are sent to your liver, where they are converted to glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis.
For older women, it becomes even more crucial to be implementing body recomposition. Women generally have smaller bones than men, and when estrogen levels decrease around the time of menopause, the risk of osteoporosis becomes much higher. Resistance-based weight training and optimizing key macronutrients like protein & carbs, allows women to increase lean muscle mass as well as increasing strength & bone density.
If you’re not sure how to get started & wanting a step by step plan with my support, definitely check out the 90 Day Fitness Model Challenge which is specifically designed for women interested in recomposition.
- D’eon, T., & Braun, B. (2002). The roles of estrogen and progesterone in regulating carbohydrate and fat utilization at rest and during exercise. Journal of Women’s Health & Gender-Based Medicine, 11(3), 225-237.
- Venables, M. C., Achten, J., & Jeukendrup, A. E. (2005). Determinants of fat oxidation during exercise in healthy men and women: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Applied Physiology, 98(1), 160-167.
- Frestedt, J. L., Zenk, J. L., Kuskowski, M. A., Ward, L. S., & Bastian, E. D. (2008). A whey-protein supplement increases fat loss and spares lean muscle in obese subjects: a randomized human clinical study. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 8.
- Nosaka, K., Sacco, P., & Mawatari, K. (2006). Effects of amino acid supplementation on muscle soreness and damage. International journal of sport nutrition and exercise metabolism, 16(6), 620-635.