by Bryan Rivera
Body Recomposition: The Secret to being Simultaneous.
Body recomposition is a phenomena when a person loses fat and gains muscle at the same time. Decreased weight from body fat while increasing weight from muscle can cancel out any changes on the scale. However, the visual differences in your body will be dramatic. That's where the term comes from. Instead of focusing on weight, you're focusing on composition.
The thing is, body recomposition is usually restricted to two circumstances: being new to strength training or coming off of an extended break from strength training. If either of these conditions fit, then you can definitely get the benefits of body recomposition. The trick is to eat in a small calorie deficit, strength training, and avoid overdoing cardio. Let's break down those 3 steps.
1. A calorie deficit is the foundation to losing body fat. This is when you the number of calories you consume is lower than the number of calories you need to maintain your weight. Fad diets may claim that their gimmicks achieve this same outcome. Run away from any of these gimmicks: burning ketones, reducing inflammation, hacking your metabolism, blocking body fat storage, keeping insulin levels low, and maintaining periods of fasting. At the end of the day, these gimmicks only achieve fat loss if you are also in a calorie deficit.
2. Strength training provides unique hormonal and neuromuscular adaptations. It gives your body the signal to partition energy differently. Part of your calorie (energy) intake will be used to create new muscle mass. Unfortunately, merely lifting weights doesn't guarantee this signal. For example, let's say you pick a weight that you can do an endless amount of reps with. That signals your body to improve your endurance, not your strength.
3. Avoid overdoing cardio because it will block the maximum potential of your strength gains. Cardio and strength training are actually opposite types of exercise. The first uses the oxidative process for energy (aerobic) while the second type uses the phosphagen/glycolytic process (anaerobic). Your body won't let you excel at using both systems. When you overdo cardio, the interference effect occurs. That's when your strength gaining potential becomes limited.
Again, the above steps apply to when you are either a beginner to strength training or returning or a long layoff. Basically, you either have to be untrained or detrained. If you're already well into a couple months of lifting, it's more realistic to focus on one primary goal.
For fat loss, focus on a small calorie deficit as you strength train. This prioritizes your weight loss to come from body fat instead of your hard earned muscle. For muscle gain, focus on a small calorie surplus while you continue to strength train. This ensures most of your extra energy goes towards muscle storage, not fat gain.