Have you ever tried to lose weight? If yes, there is a high chance that you measure your progress on the weighing machine as it is a convenient way to track the progress on your health goals, giving you a solid idea of where you stand. However, as per expert opinions, it shouldn’t be the only method to track your progress.
Now, the question arises, why? The weighing scale indicates your overall weight, but many other factors contribute to that figure. For instance, body fat and muscle mass help determine your weight. A pound of muscle mass and a pound of fat weigh the same. However, fat takes up more space than muscle mass as it has more volume, which is why fitness professionals, regular exercisers, and many social media influencers focus on body recomposition, considering its health benefits.
Body recomposition is a process by which an individual aims to change body composition by losing body fat and gaining muscle mass. The goal is to reduce overall body fat percentage and increase lean muscle mass to create a more defined and toned physique.
Body recomposition requires a structured diet and exercise program. The diet should focus on consuming adequate protein to support muscle growth, creating a moderate calorie deficit to support fat loss; strength training is also essential since it helps build and maintain muscle mass and increases metabolic rate.
Body recomposition is a gradual process that requires consistency and patience- one cannot gain muscle and lose fat at the same rate, so the process may take longer than focusing on only one goal at a time. However, the result is a healthier and more aesthetically pleasing body composition.
Body Recomposition Vs Weight Loss
Body recomposition and weight loss involve changes in body composition but differ in their goals and approach.
Weight loss focuses on reducing body weight and overall body fat percentage, which can be achieved by creating a calorie deficit through diet and exercise. The goal is to burn more calories than you consume, resulting in a decrease in body weight and fat mass. While weight loss can improve health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, it can also result in a loss of muscle mass if not done correctly.
On the other hand, body recomposition aims to reduce body fat percentage and increase muscle mass. It involves strength training to build muscle while creating a calorie deficit to support fat loss. The goal is to maintain or increase muscle mass and reduce body fat percentage, resulting in a more defined and chiseled physique.
While weight loss and body recomposition may seem similar, they require different approaches and produce different outcomes. Body recomposition may be more appropriate for individuals who want to achieve a lean and toned body while maintaining muscle mass and strength; weight loss may be more apt for individuals primarily concerned with reducing body weight and improving overall health.
How to Recompose Your Body?
When trying to recompose your body, it is imperative to use diet and exercise strategies to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Consume Enough Protein:
Protein is essential for building and maintaining muscle mass. Hence, one should consume enough in your diet. As per ICMR (NIN), RDA 2020 adult men and women should take at least 0.83 gm of protein per kg of body weight daily.
2. Create a Calorie Deficit:
To lose body fat, create a calorie deficit. However, don’t restrict calories too much, as this can lead to muscle loss. Aim for a moderate calorie deficit of about 300-500 calories daily.
3. Focus on Strength Training:
Strength training is essential to build and maintain muscle mass. Aim to strength train at least 2-3 times a week, focusing on compound exercises that work for multiple muscle groups, such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups.
4. Incorporate Cardio:
Cardiovascular exercise can help burn calories and create a deficit. Aim for 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio 3-5 times a week.
5. Be Consistent:
Consistency is the key for obtaining results. Stick to a structured exercise and diet plan and be patient with the process. Body recomposition is a gradual process that takes time.
6. Get Enough Rest and Recovery:
Rest is essential for muscle growth and recovery, so get enough sleep and rest days as needed. Overtraining can impede progress, so listen to your body and give it the rest it needs.
Remember, recomposing your body is a gradual process that requires consistency, patience, and dedication. Stay focused on your goals and be willing to make lifestyle changes to achieve the results you want.
How to Lose Fat?
Excess body fat can increase the risk of chronic and acute diseases and affect your emotional well-being and body image. Lose fat through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. Here are some tips:
1. Eat a Healthy Diet:
Eating a diet rich in whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats, can help you lose weight. Limit your intake of processed foods, sugary drinks, and foods high in saturated and trans fats.
2. Exercise Regularly:
Regular exercise, including cardio and strength training, can help you burn fat and increase muscle mass. Aim for at least 180 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 135 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
3. Reduce Calorie Intake:
To lose fat, you need to create a calorie deficit or consume fewer calories than you burn- reduce your portion sizes, choose lower-calorie foods, and track calorie intake with a food diary or app.
4. Drink Plenty of Water:
Drinking water can help you feel full and reduce your calorie intake. Aim for at least 8-10 glasses of water per day.
5. Get Enough Sleep:
Getting enough sleep can help you regulate your hormones and reduce stress, which can help you lose fat.
Losing fat takes time and effort, so be patient and consistent with your healthy habits.
Steps to Gain Muscle Mass
Gaining muscle mass requires a combination of proper nutrition, strength training, and adequate recovery. Here are some steps you can follow to gain muscle:
1. Set Realistic Goals:
Determine your goals and create a plan to achieve them. Be realistic about how much muscle you can gain in a given time frame.
2. Follow a Proper Nutrition Plan:
To gain muscle, focus on consuming high-quality proteins, nutrient-dense foods like lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
3. Incorporate Strength Training:
Strength training is essential to build muscle- lift heavy weights and aim to increase the weight or number of repetitions over time.
4. Rest and Recovery:
Adequate rest and recovery are crucial for muscle growth. Allow your muscles to rest for at least 48 hours between strength training sessions; include protein-rich foods such as eggs, whey protein, lentils, dairy products, and more after a workout; get plenty of sleep and prioritise recovery activities such as stretching and foam rolling.
5. Be Consistent:
Building muscle takes time and consistency. Stick to your nutrition and training plan and be patient. It may take several months to see significant results, but you will get there with consistency.
Exercises to Lose Fat & Gain Lean Muscle Mass
Body recomposition means changing your body composition by reducing fat and building muscle mass. Here are some exercises that can help you achieve body recomposition:
1. Resistance Training:
Resistance training is a crucial component of body recomposition and helps build lean muscle mass while burning body fat. Incorporate compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, pull-ups, and lunges into your routine.
2. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by rest periods. This training can help you burn calories and increase your metabolism, helping in body recomposition. Examples of HIIT exercises include sprints, jumping jacks, and burpees.
3. Cardiovascular Exercises:
Cardiovascular exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming can help you burn calories and reduce body fat. Aim for 30-60 minutes of cardio exercise three times weekly.
4. Yoga or Pilates:
Yoga or Pilates can help you build lean muscle mass, improve flexibility, and reduce stress levels. These exercises can be beneficial for body recomposition as they can help you maintain muscle mass and reduce body fat.
5. Functional Training:
Functional training involves exercises that mimic everyday movements, such as pushing, pulling, and lifting- it can help you build strength and improve your overall fitness level, which can help in body recomposition. Examples of functional training exercises include kettlebell swings, medicine ball slams, and box jumps.
Supplements to Increase Muscle Mass
Consider including supplements to support muscle growth for faster results- pair them with resistance training, HIIT, aerobic exercises, functional training, and a healthy diet. Supplements that help increase muscle mass include whey protein, creatine, BCAA, beta-alanine, and mass gainers.
Foods that Support Muscle Mass Gain
Protein-rich foods help build muscle; healthy carbohydrates and fats are good sources of energy, fuelling your workouts and day-to-day life. If you aim to gain lean muscle and get rid of excess fat, exercise regularly and add calories from muscle-building foods. Foods that promote muscle mass gain include eggs, salmon, chicken breast, greek yoghurt, tuna, lean beef, shrimp, soybeans, cottage cheese, chickpeas, tofu, lentils, dairy and its products, whey protein, and peanuts.