Recomposition: Is It Possible?

Building muscle and burning fat at the same time (i.e. body recomposition or “recomping”) is viewed as the “holy grail” of body transformations.

 

It’s sought by many, attained by few, and the vast majority of the fitness-going population think recomping isn’t really possible, save for those “freaks” who won the genetic lottery or “newbs” -- individuals who have just started following a structured resistance-training regimen.

 

So, what’s the truth?

 

Is recomposition possible, or is it something attainable only by the genetically blessed and those new to training?

 

Fortunately, we don’t have to guess, we have legit science to give us some insight[1].

Body Recomp Research

As you know, the longer you train the less sensitive your muscles are to training, which means you need to gradually increase the stress imposed on your muscles over time (e.g. increasing volume as well as intensity).

 

This is why newbies can see improvements in both size and strength quicker than someone who’s been lifting for 3+ years.

 

Nutrition also plays a key role in transforming your physique as higher protein intakes are associated with greater lean body mass and reduced fat mass.

 

In the end, though, research shows that both non-trained (“newbs”) as well as trained individuals can recomp.

 

That being said, to maximize your recomp potential, it helps to keep certain guidelines in place, including:

  • Use a variety of resistance training programs that are geared towards muscular strength and hypertrophy (having the right pre workout can help you to train harder during your workouts, too!)
  • Consume a high-protein diet (protein powders and amino acid supplements can help you meet this goal)
  • Prioritize sleep and stress-management, which supports recovery and muscle growth and limits muscle breakdown

 

Also, don’t forget to track your progress in the gym as well as your body composition (weight, arm/waist circumference, etc.) to see if your diet and training program are supporting your recomp goals.

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    References

    1. Barakat, Christopher MS, ATC, CISSN1; Pearson, Jeremy MS1; Escalante, Guillermo DSc, MBA, ATC, CSCS, CISSN2; Campbell, Bill PhD, CSCS, FISSN3; De Souza, Eduardo O. PhD1 Body Recomposition: Can Trained Individuals Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time?, Strength and Conditioning Journal: October 2020 - Volume 42 - Issue 5 - p 7-21 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000584