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  1. #1
    Registered User Joshua_B's Avatar
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    Is body recomposition possible?

    Hey all, I know this isn't the bodybuilding section, but I like the regulars in here better. First off, I'm weak and pretty chubby. 160ish at probably 18% bodyfat. I want to get stronger obviously, but I'd really like to lean down as well. I don't care about being bodybuilder cut but I would like feel okay taking my shirt off, ya know? So I've been reading about body recomposition rather than the tradition bulking and cutting. I got this article from a link in another forum and was wondering what you guys thought about this:

    http://www.wannabebig.com/diet-and-n...tion-or-is-it/

    Regarding essentially body recomposition rather than the traditional bulk/cut routine. The author's basic premise is that rather than bulking or cutting one should should choose a target body weight and bodyfat % and eat as if you were trying to maintain that. It seems like there's some logic to that, but I don't really understand the details of muscle gain/fat loss well enough to tell if it's legit or not.

    First goal is get strong, and I would like my diet to reflect that. But I'd prefer not being chubby anymore as well.

    Thoughts?
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  2. #2
    Hungry for squats wolfbaden6's Avatar
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    Let's say you were 200 lbs. You need to eat 2400 calories a day to maintain that.
    To maintain a weight of 150 lbs, you need to eat 1800 calories a day.
    To maintain a weight of 250 lbs, you need to eat 3000 calories a day.

    Knowing this, to drop to 150 lbs, you would need to eat in a caloric deficit (-600 of current weight's intake) to reach that weight. To reach 250 lbs, you would need to eat in a caloric surplus (+600 of current weight's intake) to reach that weight. No matter how you slice it, you're cutting or bulking to change your weight.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Joshua_B's Avatar
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    Right, I understand that. And the article doesn't go against the basic facts of calories in versus calories out. But let's say I wanted to be 165lbs. at 12% BF. The author basically states that I should eat as if I actually were 165lbs. at 12% BF, and trying to maintain that. I guess that's based on the idea that if you eat the exact amount of calories for maintaining your ideal weight/BF%, you will either bulk or cut to get to that point and then fat loss/muscle gain would level off. It kind of logical in a weird way, but I have no idea if it would really work that way.

    However, I really only used that article as one example of a so-called body recomp. I'm curious about the idea of changing one's body composition without the tradition bulking and cutting, which frankly don't seem to be the best way of going about it, at least in my very limited experience.
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  4. #4
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    Yes, it can be done, and I've done it. I have gained muscle while losing fat on a 5000 calorie diet. I got into an argument on the diet forum about this recently. All the theory in the world about what is and isn't possible doesn't stand up when you have guys in the real world actually changing their body composition without losing weight. Coaches such as Charles Poliquin, John Berardi, Chad Waterbury, and Craig Ballantine have all written about how it's possible.
    My workout log as I progress towards a world-class raw powerlifting total:
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  5. #5
    Registered User babyslayer's Avatar
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    i think youd have a good chance of it, if you ate matinence calories, and upped your workout volume and frequency to the point you lost fat from training.
    My names George Leeman and Im 22 years old benching 500lbs+ and deadlifting 900lbs+ with straps! Looking for custom diet and training programs and to work one on one with me as a strength and bodybuilding coach for reasonable prices? email me or add me on skype or facebook for details!

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  6. #6
    Hungry for squats wolfbaden6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Joshua_B View Post
    Right, I understand that. And the article doesn't go against the basic facts of calories in versus calories out. But let's say I wanted to be 165lbs. at 12% BF. The author basically states that I should eat as if I actually were 165lbs. at 12% BF, and trying to maintain that. I guess that's based on the idea that if you eat the exact amount of calories for maintaining your ideal weight/BF%, you will either bulk or cut to get to that point and then fat loss/muscle gain would level off. It kind of logical in a weird way, but I have no idea if it would really work that way.

    However, I really only used that article as one example of a so-called body recomp. I'm curious about the idea of changing one's body composition without the tradition bulking and cutting, which frankly don't seem to be the best way of going about it, at least in my very limited experience.
    Let's put it like this:
    Say your car is going 80 mph. You want it to go 40 mph.

    You're not going to press the gas pedal as you would for 80 if you wanted to go 40, correct?
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  7. #7
    Registered User Joshua_B's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Blenderate View Post
    Yes, it can be done, and I've done it. I have gained muscle while losing fat on a 5000 calorie diet. I got into an argument on the diet forum about this recently. All the theory in the world about what is and isn't possible doesn't stand up when you have guys in the real world actually changing their body composition without losing weight. Coaches such as Charles Poliquin, John Berardi, Chad Waterbury, and Craig Ballantine have all written about how it's possible.
    I'd really like to hear the details of what you were doing at the time. It's not so much that I want to stay at my current weight, simply that I just don't want to waste time and strength cutting anymore and I'm tired of gaining as much fat as muscle on a bulk. I've gone through two bulks in the last year (my first year of training), and this is my second cut. So far I've done okay, keeping my strength up, but I'm starting to feel like I'm losing it. If it's really possible to do a recomp, I would much rather be patient and do that, while gaining strength, than to do anymore cuts/bulks.

    Originally Posted by babyslayer View Post
    i think youd have a good chance of it, if you ate matinence calories, and upped your workout volume and frequency to the point you lost fat from training.
    From what I'm reading, that's what most everyone is advocating it seems - keeping calories right around or a tiny bit above maintenance, and frequent low-intensity cardio (long walks, etc. ) to burn fat.


    Originally Posted by wolfbaden6 View Post
    Let's put it like this:
    Say your car is going 80 mph. You want it to go 40 mph.

    You're not going to press the gas pedal as you would for 80 if you wanted to go 40, correct?
    Of course, but that's a rather poor analogy, I think. You're only taking into account calories expended through activity, rather than calories expended to maintain a given amount of muscle mass. If a person did eat the maintenance calories of someone who was heavier (and presumably leaner) than they were, they would gain weight. I don't know what percentage of that would be muscle but let's assume that a significant portion was lean (we're hoping that the person is smart enough to make small changes and not eat like a 250 pounder at 150lbs.). If activity level were maintained, the gain would eventually level off and isn't it possible that the caloric requirements of the new muscle could tip that person back into a caloric deficit? Dunno, it seems to make sense.

    In any case, even if that particular article is complete BS, that's just one example of a way to recomp. I really wanted to know what people thought of recomping in general rather than traditional bulking and cutting. Sorry, I should have worded the original post better, I wasn't very clear.
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  8. #8
    Vaguely Alluring Blenderate's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Joshua_B View Post
    I'd really like to hear the details of what you were doing at the time.
    I'd be happy to share. You will probably not experience the same results as me, because I started in a detrained state due to coming off of several arm surgeries. My body was primed to grow. Over the past 7 weeks, my bodyweight has gone from 242 to 254 pounds, while my waist measurement has gone down 2 inches and I've visibly leaned up all over my body. My legs are especially lean, with veins and striations running all over my quads.

    Here's what I did:
    1) I ate only meat, eggs, nuts, oils, whey protein isolate, fruits, and vegetables, with a very small amount of dairy from cheese and yogurt. No grains, starches, added sugars, trans fats, or heavily processed foods. Basically only foods that have a single ingredient in the ingredient list. I tried to eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal, and I ate continuously all day long. I didn't restrict the amount of food I ate, but I did keep track of everything for informational purposes.

    2) I kept my carbohydrates low throughout most of the day to keep insulin low, but just before my weightlifting workouts four times per week, I would eat a large serving of fruit and have a glucose/protein/BCAA drink. I would continue sipping the drink throughout my workout, and then finish up with a whey protein isolate shake after I was done. This serves to spike insulin, driving nutrients into the muscles. I used Biotest Surge for the workout shake, but there are other perfectly good alternatives.

    3) I performed anywhere form 4-7 extra conditioning workouts per week. Most of these I did in the morning or early afternoon. They usually didn't last more than 20 minutes each. I also took 1-4 long walks per week of around 60 minutes each. These extra workouts serve to keep the metabolism ramped up high all the time and improve the body's efficiency in using nutrients.

    4) I took the following supplements: double-strength fish oil (10 grams), Con-Cret, L-Leucine, CoQ10, Vitamin D (5000 IU), Alpha-GPC, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and inulin fiber.

    I really like eating and training this way, and I plan to keep it up. The only thing I need to do is possibly restrict calories if I get too far out of my weight class. I can't put muscle on as fast as if I were purely bulking, nor can I lose fat as fast as a straight cutting program, but I'm constantly getting stronger and leaner.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Joshua_B's Avatar
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    That's really interesting. Thanks for taking the time to write that out. That's amazing progress, though I'm guessing coming back from an injury definitely is the deciding factor there.

    I don't know, maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part.. It just seems that there must be a better way to get bigger, stronger & leaner without taking two steps forward and one step back, which is pretty much how I view the whole bulking and cutting cycle. I'm just the type of person that loathes inefficiency, I suppose.
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  10. #10
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    Yes, it is possible. It takes extreme precision though.
    I want to touch the butt.
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  11. #11
    Manlet PHOENIX ONpump17's Avatar
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    theres a nice post on iron addicts.
    im banned so i cant send you a link, except through a proxy via PM
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  12. #12
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    Originally Posted by Joshua_B View Post
    Thoughts?
    I sure hope so, I hope I never need to step backwards.
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    I have done it. I generally use the CKD, though.
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    Originally Posted by Arlecchino View Post
    I have done it. I generally use the CKD, though.
    I was hoping you'd drop by this thread. I read your thread on keto for powerlifters, and that eventually led me to trying the anabolic diet. I've sort of modified it since then, basically eating as few carbs as possible during the week, and then either one or two carb up days on the weekends, depending on how I feel. It's working very well as a cutting diet, but I'd really like to avoid having to do a true cut in the future. I would much rather, if possible, just train and eat for strength, and slowly put on size while leaning out. It seems like it works for some people, but I seem to gain as much fat as I do muscle, any time I'm in a caloric excess.

    I'd have to reread the thread, but if I remember correctly you have as little carbs as possible during the week except post workout, is that right? And then weekend carb ups? Are you eating maintenance calories? More or less?

    Do you think it was the CKD specifically that allowed you to recomp, or another factor as in Blenderate's case of coming back from an injury? Do you think it's possible for anyone to do it, or just in specific cases (regaining lost muscle, beginners etc.)?

    Sorry for all the questions, you just seem to be one of the more knowledgable folks on the nutrition side of things.
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by strongaaron15 View Post
    theres a nice post on iron addicts.
    im banned so i cant send you a link, except through a proxy via PM
    That's where I started reading about it. There's several write ups there.


    Originally Posted by Heavy_Beats View Post
    I sure hope so, I hope I never need to step backwards.
    I wish I never had to step backwards.
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  16. #16
    Registered User Baby_Hulk's Avatar
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    Pardon my ignorance, but what is CKD?

    I'm interested in this too. I've been cutting for a year since my last bulk left me borderline obese. Just started eating normally again but my weights been shooting up pretty fast yet again. I don't mind gaining a little weight in the process of getting stronger, but I'd like my next cut to be more of a recomp one so I can still train heavy/make strength increases when time comes.

    Also, do recomp diets work regardless of body fat percentage? Like, do they only work best on those of a certain body fat percentage (whether leanish/15% or under, or heftier/20% or above)? Or does it work on everyone regardless?
    Last edited by Baby_Hulk; 09-21-2009 at 08:25 PM.
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  17. #17
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    Originally Posted by Baby_Hulk View Post
    Pardon my ignorance, but what is CKD?

    I'm interested in this too. I've been cutting for a year since my last bulk left me borderline obese. Just started eating normally again but my weights been shooting up pretty fast yet again. I don't mind gaining a little weight in the process of getting stronger, but I'd like my next cut to be more of a recomp one so I can still train heavy/make strength increases when time comes.

    Also, do recomp diets work regardless of body fat percentage? Like, do they only work best on those of a certain body fat percentage (whether leanish/15% or under, or heftier/20% or above)? Or does it work on everyone regardless?
    1) CKD means you have carb ups.
    2) Yes, as far as I am aware.
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  18. #18
    Registered User PanosZag's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Blenderate View Post
    I'd be happy to share. You will probably not experience the same results as me, because I started in a detrained state due to coming off of several arm surgeries. My body was primed to grow. Over the past 7 weeks, my bodyweight has gone from 242 to 254 pounds, while my waist measurement has gone down 2 inches and I've visibly leaned up all over my body. My legs are especially lean, with veins and striations running all over my quads.

    Here's what I did:
    1) I ate only meat, eggs, nuts, oils, whey protein isolate, fruits, and vegetables, with a very small amount of dairy from cheese and yogurt. No grains, starches, added sugars, trans fats, or heavily processed foods. Basically only foods that have a single ingredient in the ingredient list. I tried to eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal, and I ate continuously all day long. I didn't restrict the amount of food I ate, but I did keep track of everything for informational purposes.

    2) I kept my carbohydrates low throughout most of the day to keep insulin low, but just before my weightlifting workouts four times per week, I would eat a large serving of fruit and have a glucose/protein/BCAA drink. I would continue sipping the drink throughout my workout, and then finish up with a whey protein isolate shake after I was done. This serves to spike insulin, driving nutrients into the muscles. I used Biotest Surge for the workout shake, but there are other perfectly good alternatives.

    3) I performed anywhere form 4-7 extra conditioning workouts per week. Most of these I did in the morning or early afternoon. They usually didn't last more than 20 minutes each. I also took 1-4 long walks per week of around 60 minutes each. These extra workouts serve to keep the metabolism ramped up high all the time and improve the body's efficiency in using nutrients.

    4) I took the following supplements: double-strength fish oil (10 grams), Con-Cret, L-Leucine, CoQ10, Vitamin D (5000 IU), Alpha-GPC, digestive enzymes, probiotics, and inulin fiber.

    I really like eating and training this way, and I plan to keep it up. The only thing I need to do is possibly restrict calories if I get too far out of my weight class. I can't put muscle on as fast as if I were purely bulking, nor can I lose fat as fast as a straight cutting program, but I'm constantly getting stronger and leaner.
    Great job. Nice to know there's another living example except for me out there.
    I have done it, too. After dropping from 92 kg (202.8 lbs) to 85 kg (187.3) due to some health issues, I've lost 1.3 kgs of weight (2.86 lbs), with 4.7 kg of fat (10.36 lbs). I was at about 4100 calories a day, following an almost identical schedule to yours. NO sugar or processed foods, no trans fat, fruits and vegetables with every meal, 6-7 meals a day. It is possible. But it takes A LOT OF EFFORT and dedication.

    Joshua, if you just want to look good but you're not in a hurry, you may as well follow the standard bulking/ cutting path.
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  19. #19
    Shack Brah adamsz's Avatar
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    Yes Josh, i sure hope you're looking for an answer 5 years later!

    :rollseyes:
    My 1 year natty transformation thread --------> http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=157144143

    My workout log --------> http://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=150448553

    Best Gym Lifts / Best Competition lifts (raw)

    Squat: 415 / 402
    Bench Press: 365 / 355
    Deadlift: 495 / 523
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    Wow a bit of a necro but I will share my thoughts. I have recently recomp'd by eating at or near maintenance. This wasn't my original intent I just suck at dieting. I will say it hasn't been great for my strength gains and I would have lost a lot more weight by now simply bulking/cutting. I also contribute this to being a novice lifter, I don't believe if I was more advanced my recent diet would have been successful regarding training improvement.
    Recreational lifter, 5'8" @ 187lbs.
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    Registered User Silentpoet's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by adamsz View Post
    Yes Josh, i sure hope you're looking for an answer 5 years later!

    :rollseyes:
    I blame the similar threads function. People just see the headline and dont pay attention to the date.
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  22. #22
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    Originally Posted by adamsz View Post
    Yes Josh, i sure hope you're looking for an answer 5 years later!

    :rollseyes:
    Hahahaha!!! I dindn't even notice! You're right :P
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