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Recomposition: Maintaining weight while losing fat

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  • jjpptt2jjpptt2 Member Posts: 4,919 Member Member Posts: 4,919 Member
    Will it work? Yes. Will it be the most effective/efficient? Probably not.

    But it's your life, your process... run it how you want. You get to decide what's right/best for you.
  • steveko89steveko89 Member Posts: 1,666 Member Member Posts: 1,666 Member
    Can a recomp be effective for a beginner who has not gained much muscle but is still pretty lean (10-12% body fat for a male) with a low BMI overall? I know a bulk would be most beneficial in this case, but I was curious if a recomp could also work or if it's just to little body fat (12-14 lbs in this case).
    I have seen very few examples of people who recomped in this situation.

    Nvm, I think from what I've seen I would suspect it would not work well.

    Agree with @ForecasterJason. If you're actually at 10-12% body fat you're in the correct range to bulk pretty optimally (10-15%) is recommended. If you're concerned about gaining too much excess fat just make the bulks short in length or only on a slight caloric surplus (<250/day). Long term, I think you'll find more success doing that than you would just trying to recomp.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    I will chime in....

    Assuming that I am reading the post correctly....you are asking about training at a very high percentage of your 1RM?

    I can tell you from experience - and we are all different when it comes to intensity, volume and recovery - that I trained in powerlifting lifts (bench, squat, deadlift) for several months at 85%+ EVERY TIME (which was four or five times a week) and ended up hurting myself. Not once, but three times within 18 months.

    Sub-optimal is really preferred - generally speaking. So, doing most of your work in the 60% - 75% of your 1RM is likely the way to go. Clearly, you would have a phase in the cycle when you lift closer to the 85% - 95% range for a "shorter period" but you would likely follow that with a de-load. Simply to mitigate fatigue.

    Does that help?
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 36,539 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 36,539 MFP Moderator
    Can a recomp be effective for a beginner who has not gained much muscle but is still pretty lean (10-12% body fat for a male) with a low BMI overall? I know a bulk would be most beneficial in this case, but I was curious if a recomp could also work or if it's just to little body fat (12-14 lbs in this case).
    I have seen very few examples of people who recomped in this situation.

    What are your goals? If its to lean out with a little muscle gain, sure it can work. If your goal is largely muscle driven, than its not very optimal.
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Member Posts: 2,583 Member Member Posts: 2,583 Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Can a recomp be effective for a beginner who has not gained much muscle but is still pretty lean (10-12% body fat for a male) with a low BMI overall? I know a bulk would be most beneficial in this case, but I was curious if a recomp could also work or if it's just to little body fat (12-14 lbs in this case).
    I have seen very few examples of people who recomped in this situation.

    What are your goals? If its to lean out with a little muscle gain, sure it can work. If your goal is largely muscle driven, than its not very optimal.
    I do want to add some muscle, but wasn't looking to gain a substantial amount. I have been on the fence between trying to go with that or do a slight bulk.
  • sijomialsijomial Member Posts: 16,737 Member Member Posts: 16,737 Member
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Can a recomp be effective for a beginner who has not gained much muscle but is still pretty lean (10-12% body fat for a male) with a low BMI overall? I know a bulk would be most beneficial in this case, but I was curious if a recomp could also work or if it's just to little body fat (12-14 lbs in this case).
    I have seen very few examples of people who recomped in this situation.

    What are your goals? If its to lean out with a little muscle gain, sure it can work. If your goal is largely muscle driven, than its not very optimal.
    I do want to add some muscle, but wasn't looking to gain a substantial amount. I have been on the fence between trying to go with that or do a slight bulk.

    Do you actually want to get leaner? Would you be happy trying to maintain sub 10%?

    Or would you be happy at the same BF range but heavier?

    Whatever you choice s a young, male, beginner you are primed to gain muscle easily.

    (To answer your question - yes some people do recomp to very lean levels, the Bret Contreras article was linked early on in this thread and @Hornsby as examples.)
  • ForecasterJasonForecasterJason Member Posts: 2,583 Member Member Posts: 2,583 Member
    sijomial wrote: »
    psuLemon wrote: »
    Can a recomp be effective for a beginner who has not gained much muscle but is still pretty lean (10-12% body fat for a male) with a low BMI overall? I know a bulk would be most beneficial in this case, but I was curious if a recomp could also work or if it's just to little body fat (12-14 lbs in this case).
    I have seen very few examples of people who recomped in this situation.

    What are your goals? If its to lean out with a little muscle gain, sure it can work. If your goal is largely muscle driven, than its not very optimal.
    I do want to add some muscle, but wasn't looking to gain a substantial amount. I have been on the fence between trying to go with that or do a slight bulk.

    Do you actually want to get leaner? Would you be happy trying to maintain sub 10%?

    Or would you be happy at the same BF range but heavier?

    Whatever you choice s a young, male, beginner you are primed to gain muscle easily.

    (To answer your question - yes some people do recomp to very lean levels, the Bret Contreras article was linked early on in this thread and @Hornsby as examples.)
    Ok thanks, that gives me some things to think about.

  • Sassyk35Sassyk35 Member Posts: 113 Member Member Posts: 113 Member
    Following <3 great job amazing pics and progress congrats
  • josiahmace76josiahmace76 Member Posts: 9 Member Member Posts: 9 Member
    Bumping to follow, I’m a 5’10” male at 155 pounds, somewhere between 15-18% body fat (approximation?), who wants to lean out yet maintain weight. I was in a severe calorie deficit by accident in my unguided attempt to cut body fat, started out the year much heavier set at 175 lbs and it worked until my metabolism couldn’t take what I didn’t realize was such a low amount of calories. Trying get back up to eating a healthy amount, but finding it difficult to do so (feeling very full) Any tips are appreciated. From calculators I’ve been pointed towards, with my body fat my maintenance calories are around 2700, but I’m not sure if that’s correct. Work out 6 days a week w/ HIIT cardio most days, a couple of days of longer distance cardio
    edited July 2018
  • heybalesheybales Member Posts: 17,782 Member Member Posts: 17,782 Member
    Bumping to follow, I’m a 5’10” male at 155 pounds, somewhere between 15-18% body fat (approximation?), who wants to lean out yet maintain weight. I was in a severe calorie deficit by accident in my unguided attempt to cut body fat, started out the year much heavier set at 175 lbs and it worked until my metabolism couldn’t take what I didn’t realize was such a low amount of calories. Trying get back up to eating a healthy amount, but finding it difficult to do so (feeling very full) Any tips are appreciated. From calculators I’ve been pointed towards, with my body fat my maintenance calories are around 2700, but I’m not sure if that’s correct. Work out 6 days a week w/ HIIT cardio most days, a couple of days of longer distance cardio

    So those workouts aren't going to change your BF% while weight stays at that healthy level.
    Actually, that was my 20's race weight, and I know that was at lower end of BF% and weight, since tri's I at least had some upper body muscle.

    You'll need to do some actual resistance training, lifting progressively (a good program), for your body to feel the need to build muscle, and use up the extra fat you are carrying around.

    (skinny fat is term BTW for what you did and ended up with - people do it all the time, still perhaps unhealthy levels of fat, but good weight range - why BMI doesn't tell the whole story)

    You'll want to figure out that maintenance level if workouts can be pretty regular. As a guy with no monthly changing hormone levels - you can get some 2 week running averages going to figure out results.

    Measure stomach too, because as water weight changes from workouts, waist shouldn't really be increasing even if weight does go up.

    Weigh only on valid days to minimize known water weight fluctuations (or use trend weight for daily).
    Morning after rest day eating normal sodium levels, not sore from last workout.
  • AlendralouiseAlendralouise Member Posts: 116 Member Member Posts: 116 Member
    Delighted to find this rich resource of recomping info and experience. Very grateful. I wish I had time to read all the posts- I’ll keep coming back. Meanwhile, if there’s anyone else in a similar position I’d love to hear from you.
    I’m a 5’3 olympic weightlifter in the UK. I have a coach who writes my programme (three sessions a week) and I compete. My competition bodyweight category is 71kg, so at weigh-in, I have to be anywhere between 64.1kg and 71kg on the nose. Obviously the ideal is to have as much useful weight within your bodyweight category limits as possible (really glad I was at the back of the queue when the boobs were handed out!!). I think I’m about 30% body fat but having tried various methods I’ve still no “true” figure. I have come to realise it’s very hard to get an “exact” measurement. The tools available to the average person are generally unreliable unless you use the same tool consistently, log the numbers whatever they are, and watch progress. I even took part in some research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, where they’re trying to develop better body scanning tools, and my percentage came out at 33%. A callipers trial resulted in a much lower figure. I understand this field is ongoing in development and unless you have lots of cash to use clever air displacement technology etc, it’s all a bit wishy-washy.
    So anyway, I’m trying to lose a bit of fat while maintaining strength via the lifting training, and I’ve very, very recently started a little bit of cardio, would you believe! I’m doing short runs once or twice a week- bit of running up hills, sprinting, bursts on the skillsmill, the occasional timed 5k with friends... I don’t want it to have a detrimental impact on my sport as a weightlifter, but I need to do something to be leaner and meaner within my bodyweight category.
    I usually eat 2500-3000 cals a day with 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight (so I aim for around 152g protein if I’m looking at being 69kg, but it often goes over), and fat at 0.4g per lb (so 61g). Along with the bits of cardio, I’m reducing my intake to around 2300 cals while maintaining protein.
    Back to working out your body fat %, I’ve found the images posted here of males and females across the range useful- I hadn’t seen those before- thanks for that. But I find it hard to SEE which one actually ‘matches’ my current %. Do people on here ask others to look at their pics for the objective view? Apologies if this has already been addressed earlier in the thread. I haven’t had time to look properly yet.
    Thanks again for all the info on here. Please also pick me up on anything I’ve said that’s off- I’m always learning. I do know that if you log your weight and calories, that’s the only way you can really work out your TDEE. I’ve no idea what I burn during and in between lifting sessions, but I can trust my own data.
  • mom23mangosmom23mangos Member Posts: 2,996 Member Member Posts: 2,996 Member
    Delighted to find this rich resource of recomping info and experience. Very grateful. I wish I had time to read all the posts- I’ll keep coming back. Meanwhile, if there’s anyone else in a similar position I’d love to hear from you.
    I’m a 5’3 olympic weightlifter in the UK. I have a coach who writes my programme (three sessions a week) and I compete. My competition bodyweight category is 71kg, so at weigh-in, I have to be anywhere between 64.1kg and 71kg on the nose. Obviously the ideal is to have as much useful weight within your bodyweight category limits as possible (really glad I was at the back of the queue when the boobs were handed out!!). I think I’m about 30% body fat but having tried various methods I’ve still no “true” figure. I have come to realise it’s very hard to get an “exact” measurement. The tools available to the average person are generally unreliable unless you use the same tool consistently, log the numbers whatever they are, and watch progress. I even took part in some research at Sheffield Hallam University, UK, where they’re trying to develop better body scanning tools, and my percentage came out at 33%. A callipers trial resulted in a much lower figure. I understand this field is ongoing in development and unless you have lots of cash to use clever air displacement technology etc, it’s all a bit wishy-washy.
    So anyway, I’m trying to lose a bit of fat while maintaining strength via the lifting training, and I’ve very, very recently started a little bit of cardio, would you believe! I’m doing short runs once or twice a week- bit of running up hills, sprinting, bursts on the skillsmill, the occasional timed 5k with friends... I don’t want it to have a detrimental impact on my sport as a weightlifter, but I need to do something to be leaner and meaner within my bodyweight category.
    I usually eat 2500-3000 cals a day with 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight (so I aim for around 152g protein if I’m looking at being 69kg, but it often goes over), and fat at 0.4g per lb (so 61g). Along with the bits of cardio, I’m reducing my intake to around 2300 cals while maintaining protein.
    Back to working out your body fat %, I’ve found the images posted here of males and females across the range useful- I hadn’t seen those before- thanks for that. But I find it hard to SEE which one actually ‘matches’ my current %. Do people on here ask others to look at their pics for the objective view? Apologies if this has already been addressed earlier in the thread. I haven’t had time to look properly yet.
    Thanks again for all the info on here. Please also pick me up on anything I’ve said that’s off- I’m always learning. I do know that if you log your weight and calories, that’s the only way you can really work out your TDEE. I’ve no idea what I burn during and in between lifting sessions, but I can trust my own data.

    Yes, post your pic in the bodybuilding forum. Relaxed front/side and flexed. There are several really knowledgeable people there that can help you guesstimate.
  • AlendralouiseAlendralouise Member Posts: 116 Member Member Posts: 116 Member
    @sijomial
    I am always so, so grateful for your insight, wisdom, advice and information. You’re always spot on! I could do with you on my team!
    Thank you so much. You’re right! I think not troughing like a ravenous leopard (as I did yesterday) might help...! Do you think intake could make a difference at non-pro level?
  • CarvedTonesCarvedTones Member Posts: 2,340 Member Member Posts: 2,340 Member
    Just a comment for more average build people like myself looking to build up a little more muscle and see some decrease in fat in places where it is still obvious even at a lower weight and decent BF%. My primary exercises are walking, paddling SUP/kayak and kettlebell swings/rows. I also do a little resistance band upper body work with a fairly light band I keep in my office drawer, standing up and doing a few light curls every now and then. Anyway, there has a been a significant changeover the course of about 4 months. My upper body looks athletic and the love handles shrunk. There is no guarantee about where the fat will reduce, but down in normal BMI range with a reasonable BF%, there usually aren't a lot of places with too much excess. I should note that I often walk in excess of 20 miles a week and paddle about 15 miles a week. I use the kettlebell and band almost every day. So it did require some effort, but you can get results without becoming a gym rat.
  • alexmosealexmose Member Posts: 639 Member Member Posts: 639 Member
    Hello all! I am 5’3’’ and fluctuate between 121-123 pounds. It took me 6 months to lose my last 5 pounds! Yikes! I am wondering if that is normal for everyone here or am I just really bad at fat loss? My progress chart is below.

    I am not at the body composition I want, but I am working on trying to motivate myself to lift some weights (it’s just such darn slow progress and I love sweating on cardio equipment!). I think my bf is around 24% and I try to consume 1400-1500 calories a day, focusing on protein.

    i1lcjhdw9j7w.png
  • alexmosealexmose Member Posts: 639 Member Member Posts: 639 Member
    alexmose wrote: »
    Hello all! I am 5’3’’ and fluctuate between 121-123 pounds. It took me 6 months to lose my last 5 pounds! Yikes! I am wondering if that is normal for everyone here or am I just really bad at fat loss? My progress chart is below.

    I am not at the body composition I want, but I am working on trying to motivate myself to lift some weights (it’s just such darn slow progress and I love sweating on cardio equipment!). I think my bf is around 24% and I try to consume 1400-1500 calories a day, focusing on protein.

    i1lcjhdw9j7w.png


    Ps I have, the BELLY POUCH, which is why I’m trying to get myself to do more weight training.
  • CandyspunCandyspun Member Posts: 371 Member Member Posts: 371 Member
    I don't have any research, but I'll post my results here. I've been recomping for about 2 years. I have chronic illness and eating at a deficit can be too much stress on my system.

    On the left I was 125 lbs, 24% body fat according to the Eat, Train, Progress body fat estimation thread. On the right I'm still 125 lbs but 2 sizes smaller.

    eratv3u3d0sb.png

    e34ba407-6e5a-47d6-903c-59c82d5f512b_zps3cf7062a.png

    I have read lots of the posts on here, but at 106 pages, haven't been able to read them all. This post I'm quoting is a few years old, now.

    Is ILiftHeavyAcrylics still around? I won't ask what your chronic illness is, but I was wondering if you don't mind my asking, how long can/do your flare ups last for? I ask, because I also have a chronic illness, and I'm slowly coming out of a flare that has been almost a month, at this point.

    I really struggle with weights, these days. I used to love weights and thrived on it, and this illness makes me quite weak. A lot of what you wrote about needing to eat more calories for your illness and needing to lift less during flares, really set off a light bulb for me. Thank you for sharing your story, it's really helping me to make up my mind about a few things.

    I definitely want to recomp. I'm 5'2 (in the past, I've said I was 5'1, but I've since found out I'm actually 5'2 :smiley: ). Today, I weigh 58.6kg. I'm currently in the weight loss phase of things, and I'm happy with how it's going, despite being skinny fat, now, particularly in the abs.

    I have (Aussie sizes) size 10 bust, size 12 waist, and size 8 hips. My goal is to get these three measurements to size 8. I used an online body fat percentage calculator and it said my body fat percentage is 24.2%.

    If I had to sit at this size for quite some time because recomp is slow, I'm fine with that. Of course, I'm curious as to how my results would be! I think what's holding me back from starting now, is I only just reached a healthy BMI at 62kg, and mentally, I feel like I want more 'distance' in numbers between my weight and 62kg. It really freaked me out when I became overweight, and I think I'm just afraid of drifting back there, if that makes sense?

    I can't decide if I wait until I'm around 55kg, or start now? I genuinely do think I'd benefit from the extra calories, because MFP puts me at 1,200 calories for weight loss. I do exercise and eat back calories when I'm well enough, but it feels like I'm now needing more. Especially when my iron levels get low.

    Any advice from anyone is welcomed :smile:
    edited September 2018
  • annaskiskiannaskiski Member Posts: 1,212 Member Member Posts: 1,212 Member
    I think she's around, tag her @ILiftHeavyAcrylics

    Good luck!
  • psuLemonpsuLemon Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 36,539 MFP Moderator Member, MFP Moderator, Greeter, Premium Posts: 36,539 MFP Moderator
    annaskiski wrote: »
    I think she's around, tag her @ILiftHeavyAcrylics

    Good luck!

    She hasn't been online for about 5 months. A PM might work if she gets notifications to her email.
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