Our body composition basically contains fat, minerals, proteins and fat. A certain amount of fat is essential for the well-functioning of our body. Essential fat includes fat in the marrow of bones, heart, lungs, liver, spleen, kidneys, intestines, muscles, and central nervous system. While the second type is called storage fat which is found surrounding internal organs as well as right under the skin. Storage fat provides insulation to the body against cold and keeps it warm. When it comes to muscles, we have over 600 of them with a wide variety of functions ranging from supporting the skeletal system to protecting internal organs.
Excessive fat accumulation leads to issues with weight gain like overweight and obesity. Despite being preventable, the number overweight individuals have doubled since 1980.1It has been estimated that the healthy fat mass for an average male is 15-18% for men and 22-25% for women. When you are on a weight-loss journey to achieve a healthy weight with a healthy fat-lean mass ratio, you will need to work on changing your body’s composition.2
Why Is Body Recomposition A Good Way To Lose Weight?
Fat and muscle are important components of our body compositions. Many people flock to gyms with the hope that all they have to lose weight is gain muscle. It sounds simple but it isn’t. The body has been programmed to function in a particular way and altering something very intricate like muscle protein buildup and fat cell burning is quite a task.3
It all begins with calorie cycling, wherein you have high and low calories on alternate days in a week. On days you have a surplus of calories, you also do strength training exercises from lifting weights to bench presses. These are the days when your muscle mass develops.4
On the other days of reduced calorie intake, you have to combine it with some cardio exercises so that fat loss is accelerated. Keeping your calorie intake in a cyclic manner helps your body to build muscle as well as burns fat in the process, eventually undergoing body recomposition.
Why Calorie Cycling Works For Weight Loss?
For many years, the most widespread misconception was that to lose weight you have cut back on calories or just go hungry. However, long-term studies have proved that subjecting the body to long periods of insufficient calorie intake will cause your basal metabolic rate to plummet. This causes the leptin levels to fall in your body, which the brain interprets as a threat to your overall survival. The brain, in turn, signals the thyroid gland to lower the hormones secreted by it, which leads to decreased metabolism and increased hunger. Ultimately, you feel tired and often call it quits with your weight-loss regime.5
With an alternate calorie intake or calorie cycling diet plan, on days you are cutting back on calories your body is on the catabolic mode by burning fat. While on the days you have more calories with a well-planned strength training program, your body has an anabolic environment that promotes muscle growth and strengthening.
Things To Remember About Body Recomposition
Unfortunately, body recomposition program is not for everyone and it takes time to yield results. It’s a great way to maintain a healthy fat-muscle ratio but it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s best to avoid unrealistic expectations that you will be gaining a body builder’s physique if you adopt this regime. Keep the following tips in mind before you commit to body recomposition regime.
- If you are overweight or obese and want to achieve a fair level of health and fitness, then recomposition can greatly help with adding muscle mass
- If you are generally thin and want to build a muscular frame then body recomposition is a good way to achieve that. But if you don’t put on weight, then you would need to follow a calorie surplus diet instead of body recomposition for muscle gain
- If you’ve already achieved a healthy weight after a lot of efforts, then you can follow the body recomposition plan to stay fit all year long
So ultimately, alternating calorie surplus with calorie deficit days is a beneficial way to get stronger with reduced fat mass in order achieve a healthy weight. However, it’s crucial to remember that you choose calories in the form of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Have lots of water, stay clear of junk food and follow your workout regime religiously to achieve your goal of fitness and wellbeing.6
|↑1||Obesity and overweight. World Health Organization|
|↑2||Kravitz, Len, and Vivian H. Heyward. “Getting a grip on body composition.” IDEA today 10 (1992): 34-41.|
|↑3||Kahn, Bruce.Trouble Spot Fat Loss: Lose Weight, Build Muscle, & Say Goodbye to Problem Areas for Good.|
Appetite by Random House, March, 2015
|↑4||Layman, Donald K., Richard A. Boileau, Donna J. Erickson, James E. Painter, Harn Shiue, Carl Sather, and Demtra D. Christou. “A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women.” The Journal of nutrition 133, no. 2 (2003): 411-417.|
|↑5||Longhi, Silvia, and Giorgio Radetti. “Thyroid function and obesity.” Journal of clinical research in pediatric endocrinology 5, no. Suppl 1 (2013): 40.|
|↑6||Stone, Matt. 180 Degree Metabolism: The Smart Strategy for Fat Loss. 180 Degree Health. 2010|