You cut calories by a reasonable amount to burn fat‚ and you increase calories to gain.
Obviously‚ more thought is required when mapping out a diet plan for your specific goals‚ but this is the basis of dieting.
Recomposition‚ where you’re trying to burn fat and build muscle at the same time‚ is more complicated. In fact‚ dieting is the single biggest area where most guys fail when trying to recomp.
In this article we'll discuss the different steps that you need to formulate a great Body-Recomposition Diet – the kind that’ll help you achieve a lean‚ yet muscular physique that inspires jealousy from other guys and gets you intense stares of admiration from women.
First Off‚ What Are Your Caloric Needs?
Most people think that dieting consists of starving yourself to lose fat. But with a recomposition diet‚ you need enough fuel to gain muscle along with your fat loss.
The number of calories that you consume depends on how active you are in the gym. If you google ‘calorie calculator’‚ you can find out what your general calorie requirements would be with ease.
For example‚ an active 200–pound male who exercises 4X per week needs 2‚900 calories per day to maintain his weight. A 150–pound female who works out 4X per week would need 2‚300 calories for maintenance.
Here’s the secret to a recomp cycle diet. During a recomp cycle‚ you should drop below your maintenance calorie level on non–workout days so that you burn fat‚ and you need to eat above your maintenance calorie level on your workout days to help you build muscle.
A good number for you to shoot for include a 300 to 500 calorie deficit below maintenance on non–training days and a 100 to 200 calories surplus above your maintenance level on training days to pack on muscle.
Using Lean Body Mass to Determine Recomp Calories
The less genetically gifted you are‚ the more you need to refine your recomposition diet. That said‚ it’s good to understand how your lean body mass (LBM)‚ or your weight minus the weight of your fat‚ affects your caloric intake when you recomp.
The reason this is important is because the fatter you are‚ the quicker you can burn fat without losing muscle along with it. This is why many overweight guys lose weight and look really muscular afterward.
Here’s a general guideline on how many calories you want to consume per pound of LBM‚ based on your percent body fat:
- 6% to 11% body fat – Consume 17 calories per pound of LBM
- 11.1% to 15% – Consume 16 calories per pound of LBM
- 15.1`% to 19% – Consume 15 calories per pound of LBM
- 19.1 – 23% – Consume 14 calories per pound of LBM
- 23.1% and over – Consume 13 calories per pound of LBM
To follow this guideline‚ you first need to figure out your body fat‚ which is accomplished easiest with calipers and a little practice.
Here’s an example of putting LBM recomp diet into practice:
- You weigh 200 pounds and use calipers to find that your body fat is 16%.
- This means you have 34 pounds of body fat (200 x 0.16) and 166 pounds of LBM.
- Multiplying 166 pounds by 15 calories‚ your LBM maintenance calories would be 2‚490 calories. Let’s round to 2‚500 calories to make things easy.
- Note how this is different from the 2‚940 maintenance calories that you get from a general calculator when working out 3X to 5X per week.
Once you’ve figured out the maintenance calories needed to keep your LBM‚ you’ll want to vary your calories on workout and non–workout days. In this case‚ you could go 500 calories under maintenance on non–workout days (2‚500 LBM maintenance calories – 500 calories = 2‚000 calories on non–training days)‚ and you can eat an extra 100 calories above maintenance on workout days (2‚500 LBM maintenance calories + 100 calories = 2‚600 calories on training days).
Even though you’ll be eating around 2‚600 calories and work out on most days‚ remember that you’re still almost 400 calories below maintenance based on the general calorie counter.
Recomp Dieting Rules of Thumb
Below‚ I’ve listed a few general rules that you should follow during your recomping efforts:
Rule #1: What to Avoid – Don’t eat calorie–dense foods like pasta‚ dairy products‚ protein bars‚ processed foods and sweets. In contrast‚ eat lean meats (fish‚ turkey‚ etc.) and vegetables to give you minerals‚ protein‚ and vitamins‚ without also loading you up with calories. In essence‚ you get more bang for your calorie this way.
Rule #2: Protein Requirements – Some guys think that recomposition bodybuilding consists of gobbling up all the protein in sight. This isn’t the case‚ though‚ since you can still build muscle during a recomp cycle with 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight. If you weigh 200 pounds‚ then 200 grams of protein per day is a good goal. Even when using LBM as we discussed before‚ you should at least get 1 gram per pound of your total weight just to ensure that you’re building muscle on this recomp plan.
Rule #3: What to Drink – Don’t fall for sports drink commercials because these high–calorie drinks will only fill you up with carbs and sugar! Instead‚ opt for water since it hydrates you and contains 0 calories.
Rule #4: Make Adjustments – What we’ve covered so far on eating above or below your maintenance calories is a good general guideline to follow. But each individual will differ‚ meaning you should make adjustments based on your results. If you’re cutting fat but not gaining muscle‚ you may need to increase your calories on your workout days. If you’re gaining muscle but not losing fat‚ you should decrease your calories more on your non–workout days.
Dieting Is Only Half the Battle
As we’ve covered‚ there’s no magic pill that’ll make up for a poor diet – not Anorectant No.10‚ Test Stack No.17‚ or even anabolic steroids.
Your diet is crucial if you want to build muscle and lose weight at the same time. But dieting is only part of the equation when you’re trying to recomp because training also plays a huge role.
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