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Recomposition: Maintaining weight while losing fat

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  • griffinca2griffinca2 Member Posts: 672 Member Member Posts: 672 Member
    How your body reacts to different macro %s is usually genetics; but I have heard (and read) that cutting back on carbs (especially starchy/sugary carbs) and upping your protein will help. Sunflower is right though, it usually takes several months to a year to really see results. Ditching the steady state cardio for hiit (and keeping the session to 15 -20 min) also helps. You will have to experiment to see what works for you.
  • jblon83jblon83 Member Posts: 23 Member Member Posts: 23 Member
    usmcmp wrote: »
    There's a lot of talk about recomposition through the boards, so I wanted to have a place where we can compile research on it and experiences with it.

    When is recomp appropriate? When you are at a decent weight for your height, but your body fat is still at a level that is undesirable to you recomposition is probably a good option. It's a way to maintain your weight, eat well and still lose fat. This is a slow process and can feel like spinning your wheels, but it can be less mentally stressful than bulk and cut cycles.

    The keys to recomposition are:

    1. At the end of the week you have eaten at about your TDEE. You may choose to cycle calories or eat at a flat rate every day, this should fit your personal preference. If you have a consistent workout schedule using a TDEE calculator should place your goal fairly close to your actual maintenance. The only way to know for sure is to monitor your weight and calories over time while adjusting calories when you have an up or down trend.

    2. Getting adequate protein. Protein is a building block of muscle. The goal of recomposition is to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Protein, carbohydrates and fats play different roles in the muscle building process, so make sure that you keep to a macronutrient set up that works for you. This may need to be adjusted over time.

    3. Lift! Following a good lifting program is the key to the entire process. It's where the magic happens. Pick a program that you will enjoy and that is going to challenge you. Continue to focus on improving.

    4. Take pictures and measure. It's a slow process and you may feel you are making no progress. Your measurements will help you see that you are making progress.

    Feel free to share stories of recomposition and any research you have seen on it. Ask questions if you have any.

    I have no idea what I'm doing and need basic help. WLS patient reached my goal need to maintain but don't understand recomp. From what I gather is continuing to eating at a deficit to lose fat.....ugh. I take classes that work with bodyweight exercises and lifting weights. And I take a cardiovascular class. Work out 3x a week 2 hours. My week looks like this rest Monday, tuesday buns and guns than cardio. Next day body weight class than cardio. Rest. Friday cardio total body class. Rest. Rest.


  • psuLemonpsuLemon Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator
    Macpui85 wrote: »
    leaninsc wrote: »
    How long does it take to truly see results? I've been trying recomp for about 2 months; I've actually gained weight, while loosing waist size. However, there is minimum change on my appearance as far as belly fat goes.
    I feel like belly fat is always the very last to go. Hard to be patient, but I think this is what most people aren't happy with. If you are doing everything right, it will tighten up. It just takes time.

    I am aware of that, and I am impatient. However, I wanted to get an estimate. Will it be months? A year? More? My guess is a year...

    If patience is an issue, then a recomp might not be up your alley. Cut/bulk cycles might be more effective. The efficacy of a recomp is based on training protocol, nutrition, genetics and consistency. If any of those are out of whack, it may be ineffective or take very long. I worked with a lady who went fro 26% body fat to 18% in 1.5 years. In 2 years, it was down to 14% body fat (all validated through DEXA scans). But she was extremely consistent.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator
    griffinca2 wrote: »
    How your body reacts to different macro %s is usually genetics; but I have heard (and read) that cutting back on carbs (especially starchy/sugary carbs) and upping your protein will help. Sunflower is right though, it usually takes several months to a year to really see results. Ditching the steady state cardio for hiit (and keeping the session to 15 -20 min) also helps. You will have to experiment to see what works for you.

    Carbs/starches aren't really a factor. Protein is important for maintaining/building muscle and stimulating protein synthesis (especially leucine), but even then if you are getting around .1.5g/kg to 2.2g/kg, then you should be in a solid position.
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 37,682 MFP Moderator
    jblon83 wrote: »
    usmcmp wrote: »
    There's a lot of talk about recomposition through the boards, so I wanted to have a place where we can compile research on it and experiences with it.

    When is recomp appropriate? When you are at a decent weight for your height, but your body fat is still at a level that is undesirable to you recomposition is probably a good option. It's a way to maintain your weight, eat well and still lose fat. This is a slow process and can feel like spinning your wheels, but it can be less mentally stressful than bulk and cut cycles.

    The keys to recomposition are:

    1. At the end of the week you have eaten at about your TDEE. You may choose to cycle calories or eat at a flat rate every day, this should fit your personal preference. If you have a consistent workout schedule using a TDEE calculator should place your goal fairly close to your actual maintenance. The only way to know for sure is to monitor your weight and calories over time while adjusting calories when you have an up or down trend.

    2. Getting adequate protein. Protein is a building block of muscle. The goal of recomposition is to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Protein, carbohydrates and fats play different roles in the muscle building process, so make sure that you keep to a macronutrient set up that works for you. This may need to be adjusted over time.

    3. Lift! Following a good lifting program is the key to the entire process. It's where the magic happens. Pick a program that you will enjoy and that is going to challenge you. Continue to focus on improving.

    4. Take pictures and measure. It's a slow process and you may feel you are making no progress. Your measurements will help you see that you are making progress.

    Feel free to share stories of recomposition and any research you have seen on it. Ask questions if you have any.

    I have no idea what I'm doing and need basic help. WLS patient reached my goal need to maintain but don't understand recomp. From what I gather is continuing to eating at a deficit to lose fat.....ugh. I take classes that work with bodyweight exercises and lifting weights. And I take a cardiovascular class. Work out 3x a week 2 hours. My week looks like this rest Monday, tuesday buns and guns than cardio. Next day body weight class than cardio. Rest. Friday cardio total body class. Rest. Rest.


    Recomp is essentially eating at maintenance and training hard (generally progressive overload lifting), which tends to be a bit harder with body weight training, mainly due to it's difficulty to add more volume (sets, reps, load). If you eat in a deficit and follow your current program, it might work to help maintain your current muscle mass, but that will be determined by caloric intake and protein intake in particular.
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 18,894 Member Member Posts: 18,894 Member
    griffinca2 wrote: »
    How your body reacts to different macro %s is usually genetics; but I have heard (and read) that cutting back on carbs (especially starchy/sugary carbs) and upping your protein will help. Sunflower is right though, it usually takes several months to a year to really see results. Ditching the steady state cardio for hiit (and keeping the session to 15 -20 min) also helps. You will have to experiment to see what works for you.

    Why would cutting down on carbs (your high performance fuel remember) help?
    Who would it help? How would it help?
    It certainly wouldn't help me as it would compromise my exercise and make maintenance miserable.

    Ditching steady state cardio for HIIT is also odd generic advice. It would be totally inappropriate for me and actually counter productive to my training aims.
    A lot of people will find lifting and HIIT isn't a good combination at all due to the recovery needs from both.

    Do agree with the "experiment to see what works for you" part though as it needs to be in context of the individual, their goals/capabilities/preferences/enjoyment etc.
  • CSARdiverCSARdiver Member Posts: 6,256 Member Member Posts: 6,256 Member
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    These infographics are interesting as a general reference, but as you say, symmetry is key. The lighting is ideal on all these photos.
  • SumiblueSumiblue Member Posts: 1,584 Member Member Posts: 1,584 Member
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    I find those pictures frustrating. 17-18% doesn't show much muscle but 14-15% looks very muscular. Quite a jump. I have muscle, for sure and I guess I look more like the 14-15% photo but I got hydrostatic test in Spring and it said 20% because I have more lower body fat.
  • DebSozoDebSozo Member Posts: 2,578 Member Member Posts: 2,578 Member
    Sumiblue wrote: »
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    I find those pictures frustrating. 17-18% doesn't show much muscle but 14-15% looks very muscular. Quite a jump. I have muscle, for sure and I guess I look more like the 14-15% photo but I got hydrostatic test in Spring and it said 20% because I have more lower body fat.

    Wow. 20% is fantastic!
  • robininflrobininfl Member Posts: 1,137 Member Member Posts: 1,137 Member
    Sumiblue wrote: »
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    I find those pictures frustrating. 17-18% doesn't show much muscle but 14-15% looks very muscular. Quite a jump. I have muscle, for sure and I guess I look more like the 14-15% photo but I got hydrostatic test in Spring and it said 20% because I have more lower body fat.

    You look great, and 20% seems healthier as a maintenance level of fat. And yes, none of those pictures seem to have muscle until the 14-15% image, when more commonly a fit lady would carry both a healthy % of fat and muscle. By healthy I mean optimal for ongoing body functions and health, not "healthy" as a synonym for large.
  • DebSozoDebSozo Member Posts: 2,578 Member Member Posts: 2,578 Member
    I know I thanked you all on here before, but thank you again! I love the body shape changes that have happened for me. I'm still noticing more improvements.
  • jdhcm2006jdhcm2006 Member Posts: 2,293 Member Member Posts: 2,293 Member
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    I couldn't find that chart that I wanted when I was making my original post. I ended up finding the chart I wanted on a different site after I posted this one. But it got the job done to get my point across, lol. This is the chart I was looking for originally b/c it's more in line with my body. My body looks more like the 25% body shown in this image.
    body-fat-percentage-women.jpg


  • griffinca2griffinca2 Member Posts: 672 Member Member Posts: 672 Member
    sijomial, My last statement was that "you will have to experiment to see what works for you." This means that what works for one person may not work for another. Also, I'm not saying to ditch carbs; just to cut back on the starchy/sugary ones. Eating good carbs (mostly green) is essential for good health. B)
  • sunflowerhippisunflowerhippi Member Posts: 1,248 Member Member Posts: 1,248 Member
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »
    robininfl wrote: »
    jdhcm2006 wrote: »

    body-fat-percentage-chart-men-women.jpg

    Whenever I see this image, it's funny because I don't look like any of those. Arms and legs and shoulders more like the 14-15% lady, belly much more like the 25-26% lady (I think). My guess is that I'm in the low 20s because I feel very lean, nothing is very squishy, and whenever I carry extra fat it NEVER goes on in a flattering way like the 25-26% lady has in that picture. Just dumpy - my "extra" is inevitably expressed as saddlebags and belly, not artfully arranged all over to give the curves and smooth look she has.

    I couldn't find that chart that I wanted when I was making my original post. I ended up finding the chart I wanted on a different site after I posted this one. But it got the job done to get my point across, lol. This is the chart I was looking for originally b/c it's more in line with my body. My body looks more like the 25% body shown in this image.
    body-fat-percentage-women.jpg


    haha I got thighs like 30% and abs like 15-17% so 45-47 /2 = 22.5-23.5% and hey bodpod said 22.4% so lol just cut some bodies in half and I am good.
  • sunflowerhippisunflowerhippi Member Posts: 1,248 Member Member Posts: 1,248 Member
    Random but does anyone else find they do better eating 3 larger meals a day vs smaller meals. Smaller meals I end up not satisfied and hungry and overeating where 3 larger meals hold me over longer between meals.
  • DebSozoDebSozo Member Posts: 2,578 Member Member Posts: 2,578 Member
    Random but does anyone else find they do better eating 3 larger meals a day vs smaller meals. Smaller meals I end up not satisfied and hungry and overeating where 3 larger meals hold me over longer between meals.

    I find I do better with a small lunch and family dinner and no snacks. I don't feel deprived because I have a nice meal to look forward to in the evening. Plus I've never been very hungry in the mornings. I was hungry all of the time on 6 small 200 cal meals. I never felt like I had a true meal. It seemed like grazing on a bitty snack every 3 hours.
  • queenliz99queenliz99 Member Posts: 15,317 Member Member Posts: 15,317 Member
    Random but does anyone else find they do better eating 3 larger meals a day vs smaller meals. Smaller meals I end up not satisfied and hungry and overeating where 3 larger meals hold me over longer between meals.

    I have two large meals a day.
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