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Thread: Recomp?

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    we flawless illiniStrive's Avatar
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    Recomp?

    I'm sure 99% of people on the forum seeing my stats would say "Cut cut cut", but tbh I'm totally not hating my appearance right now lol, which kills my motivation to cut a little bit. If I continued to get stronger at this weight indefinitely (in my dreams ofc) iwouldntevenbemad. But at the same time, I'm not one to be stagnant in the water, and of course my physique has loads of room for improvement.

    I read this (relatively)old article from Lyle McDonald about losing fat and gaining muscle simealtaneously in individuals:
    Which is why a lot of the approaches advocated for ‘gaining muscle while losing fat’ aren’t very effective. In fact, I’d tend to argue that most people’s attempts to achieve the above results in them simply spinning their wheels, making no progress towards either goal. Because invariably they set up a situation where neither training nor diet is optimized for either fat loss or muscle gain. Calories are too high for fat loss and too low to support muscle gains and outside of that one overfat beginner situation, the physiology simply isn’t going to readily allow what they want to happen to happen.
    I might be considered in the "overfat beginner" category, but if not I'm at a loss to know if a recomp is really applicable? Especially as a woman where muscle gains are not something to be taken for granted. Even in an ideal situation there's no way I could gain 1lb of muscle for every 1lb of fat lost.

    So would an attempted recomp just be "spinning my wheels"? Even over a long period of time? I'm thinking months and months and months here, not 12 weeks or the similar such timelines.

    Cliffs: Would a recomp be applicable to me?
    Last edited by illiniStrive; 08-02-2011 at 12:06 AM.
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    I'm sure Rowyn would be the most qualified to give you true recomp advice if that is the road you choose to take. But I wanted to give you my .02 cents since fat loss and muscle gain have been my focus for the last 5 months. You could consider me something of a beginner in that I had mostly just "flirted" with weight training most of my life. I kept gym memberships on and off and lifted weights whenever. I was never afraid of heavy weights because I was never advised against it, but I never stuck with it long enough to make any significant gains. It was more of an on again off again maintenance thing interrupted by spurts of whatever else would catch my interest like mountain biking, swimming lessons and eventually competitive running. After a few years of using running as an excuse to eat my own face off, I found myself at 5'6" and 147lbs. I had good muscle tone in my legs and a small bit of upper body strength from my usual shoulder presses, pushups and DB curls, and that's about it.

    At first, I thought I would be on a recomp path with slow small fat losses. I took my calories down just under maintenance and started lifting as heavy as possible, mostly compound exercises with a few isolations thrown in for good measure. At first I made good significant gains and I saw my body start to change. I could tell there was good muscle growing under the fat because my clothes got a lot tighter. I lost a few pounds, but I really wanted to see my muscles. That's when I decided I just wanted the fat OFF. I took my calories down further and continued to lift as heavy as possible. I have not been able to progress my weights any further from my initial gains due to my deficit eating, but I have lost 19lbs so far. I try to time my feedings around my workouts so I have energy and strength to do as much as possible. My muscle definition is improving to be sure and I'm much shapelier. I'm still 5lbs off my all time adult low of 123 but all the clothes I wore back then are loose on me now.

    So I guess you could say I've been on a "recomp" of sorts with a focus more on fat loss. I feel like I've gotten the best of both worlds considering my extreme impatience kept me from doing a true slow recomp. I know my muscle mass is nowhere near where it needs to be and I plan to bulk soon, but I've been really pleased with the changes in scale weight, measurements and appearance.

    I hope all that was helpful in some way....
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    I am having the same feelings as you I think. When I started lifting heavy at the beginning of the year, I clocked in at 120 lbs and around 23% bodyfat. I got up to 130 lbs and an even higher bodyfat%. I was really happy with my strength gains but got disgusted with the fat. I know there's good muscle under there but you can't SEE it!

    I toyed with the idea of a long recomp - like a year - but I have decided that I just need to get a few lbs of the fat off FIRST. I started my cutting efforts a few weeks ago with no scale change, but after buying a food scale I know why... Peanut butter, butter and cheese are hard for me to eyeball!

    So my new plan of attack is to drop 4-6 lbs and then go into a VERY moderate bulk - maybe looking to gain like a pound per month.

    Whatever you decide to do, be patient, and don't do anything drastic...
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  4. #4
    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    I'm sure 99% of people on the forum seeing my stats would say "Cut cut cut", but tbh I'm totally hating my appearance right now lol, which kills my motivation to cut a little bit.
    What are you hating, specifically? Cuz if you DON'T want to cut then I am assuming that your fat is not what is bothering you. (Not saying you are fat, lol).

    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    Would a recomp be applicable to me?
    I think so. No trainer here, but I agree with the passage you quoted. From what I have experienced myself and from helping a few others to attempt to recomp is that failure comes when both training and diet are not geared properly for a recomp. People either 1)undereat and fail to gain lean mass despite training hard (guys do this alot, they train hard but eat terribly because when they decide to do something, they go all out and cut cut cut their cals) , 2) they don't train properly and sit at maintenance cals and don't make any changes at all, 3) they may experience fat gains if they are not watching their diet and overeating or lastly, 4) they both undereat and lack decent training and lose scale weight without adding lean mass (women seem to do this, they really underestimate their abilities in the gym and obsess over losing weight). So you can see why Lyle would say that most spin their wheels because they can't seem to get both parts of the equation down.


    Originally Posted by CKMH View Post
    At first, I thought I would be on a recomp path with slow small fat losses. I took my calories down just under maintenance and started lifting as heavy as possible, mostly compound exercises with a few isolations thrown in for good measure. At first I made good significant gains and I saw my body start to change. I could tell there was good muscle growing under the fat because my clothes got a lot tighter. I lost a few pounds, but I really wanted to see my muscles. That's when I decided I just wanted the fat OFF. I took my calories down further and continued to lift as heavy as possible. I have not been able to progress my weights any further from my initial gains due to my deficit eating, but I have lost 19lbs so far. ....
    ^^ This sounds like a recomp and then cut. If it were all recomp, there would be very little scale change. But its all good if you are getting where you want to be

    It seems to me that recomp works best for those who have fast lean gains to make, ie "beginners" or returning trainees. By "beginner" I am not just referring to someone new to the gym. I am also referring to the physiological condition of one's body. If you have been a gym rat for a long time but have never really lifted hard and progressively, despite your experience you are a "beginner". If you have been undereating for a long time and can't seem to make lean gains, you are a "beginner" even if you have trained hard (you haven't allowed your body to grow). There is also a big learning curve to be made for both the new trainee and their body's adaptation to new stimulation and movements, so it takes some time to actually settle into real gain mode. So really, quite a number of women on the forum fall into the "beginner" category in some way, whether it be because they are new to it ALL, new to effective progressive training, or new to appropriate dietary habits.

    So yeah, my two cents would be that a recomp is certainly possible for you. I am not the only successful recomper here, Freebirdmac made most of her initial gains via recomp too (now that she is a more experienced lifter she has gone on to bulk/cut). She doesn't journal on this particular site, but she came at recomp from a different angle than I did I believe, which was skinny fat. I was just plain overfat lol. I think its more difficult to recomp from starting with skinny than chubby as well, partly because of course the skinny person won't see the bigger shift in bf% because they typically start at a lower bf to begin with. Also, skinny people tend to be hard gainers who really need to eat to support growth.
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    Sorry if this has been asked before, but then in your experience Rowyn, what is the best cals to eat for recomp? Exactly maintenance or slightly below? Or is it trial and error? I've been cutting but I average 3-4 days a week under maintenance and then the other 3-4 at maintenance or slightly above. That's just the way it's been working out with my schedule and needs lately. I'm happy with where I'm at right now and wondering if I keep up like this if I'll have a successful slow recomp.
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    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by anaerobic View Post
    Sorry if this has been asked before, but then in your experience Rowyn, what is the best cals to eat for recomp? Exactly maintenance or slightly below? Or is it trial and error? I've been cutting but I average 3-4 days a week under maintenance and then the other 3-4 at maintenance or slightly above. That's just the way it's been working out with my schedule and needs lately. I'm happy with where I'm at right now and wondering if I keep up like this if I'll have a successful slow recomp.
    So you are basically eating at maintenance with days of varying cals, which is good. Even better would be if your higher cal days corresponded to training days, deficit calories on rest days, it will give you more energy on those days and cals for growth. Eating at maintenance to start, lifting heavy on a good program that focuses on big compound lifts.

    While recomp is not so much about scale weight as it is about measurements and visual changes, you need to use the scale to track the success of your caloric plan. You don't want to gain (though hormonal fluctuations and such will happen). If you are gaining, even if you are lifting on a good program, that's fat. You don't want to lose too much either, else you may hinder your ability to grow lean muscle. Start at maintenance and adjust as you go. Eat at least 1 gram of protein per lb bodyweight and enough fats to maintain health and keep you satisfied with your diet. Even though you are eating at maintenance, that doesn't mean you don't get hungry sometimes, lol. Especially on lifting days. Which is one reason its good to cycle your calories so that you can eat a little more when you train. Cardio on "rest" days if you want to do it.

    Okay, now all I gotta do is add in some IF'ing and we got a LeanGains thing going on here lol.
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    Thank you!! Yes I would love for my higher cal days to be on my training days; I do end up eating more on the weekends and often times am away from my home base so it's been a challenge but something I want to work on. I've been tracking my weight weekly on the scale and have losing since April but it's slowing down now. Anyway, I actually recalculated my maintenance tonight after reading some threads here and it looks like I'm right on track if I keep doing what I've been doing; just gotta squeeze in another workout on the weekend

    Thanks again, I appreciate the input!
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    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    What are you hating, specifically? Cuz if you DON'T want to cut then I am assuming that your fat is not what is bothering you. (Not saying you are fat, lol).
    Lol, there should have been a 'not' in there somewhere, oops! My point was actually that I'm not feeling dissatisfied enough now to just want to cut and get it over with.


    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    So yeah, my two cents would be that a recomp is certainly possible for you. I am not the only successful recomper here, Freebirdmac made most of her initial gains via recomp too (now that she is a more experienced lifter she has gone on to bulk/cut). She doesn't journal on this particular site, but she came at recomp from a different angle than I did I believe, which was skinny fat. I was just plain overfat lol. I think its more difficult to recomp from starting with skinny than chubby as well, partly because of course the skinny person won't see the bigger shift in bf% because they typically start at a lower bf to begin with. Also, skinny people tend to be hard gainers who really need to eat to support growth.
    Yeah, this is good news. Definitely glad you stepped into this thread. That does make sense about different starting points, so hopefully that will be in my favor I always use you as a recomp example in other threads, since I feel like that is what ideal recomp conditions would look like.

    Originally Posted by oregonchick76 View Post
    I am having the same feelings as you I think. When I started lifting heavy at the beginning of the year, I clocked in at 120 lbs and around 23% bodyfat. I got up to 130 lbs and an even higher bodyfat%. I was really happy with my strength gains but got disgusted with the fat. I know there's good muscle under there but you can't SEE it!

    I toyed with the idea of a long recomp - like a year - but I have decided that I just need to get a few lbs of the fat off FIRST. I started my cutting efforts a few weeks ago with no scale change, but after buying a food scale I know why... Peanut butter, butter and cheese are hard for me to eyeball!

    So my new plan of attack is to drop 4-6 lbs and then go into a VERY moderate bulk - maybe looking to gain like a pound per month.

    Whatever you decide to do, be patient, and don't do anything drastic...
    Yeah, my plan was to cut through the summer and start eating more around September. But due to inexact tracking I've lost about 5lbs of (mostly) water and that's about it. I got stronger and feel better, so it hasn't been a waste. But if I wanted to continue cutting I'd definitely have to tighten up and cut for longer than expected.

    Originally Posted by CKMH View Post
    At first, I thought I would be on a recomp path with slow small fat losses. I took my calories down just under maintenance and started lifting as heavy as possible, mostly compound exercises with a few isolations thrown in for good measure. At first I made good significant gains and I saw my body start to change. I could tell there was good muscle growing under the fat because my clothes got a lot tighter. I lost a few pounds, but I really wanted to see my muscles. That's when I decided I just wanted the fat OFF. I took my calories down further and continued to lift as heavy as possible. I have not been able to progress my weights any further from my initial gains due to my deficit eating, but I have lost 19lbs so far. I try to time my feedings around my workouts so I have energy and strength to do as much as possible. My muscle definition is improving to be sure and I'm much shapelier. I'm still 5lbs off my all time adult low of 123 but all the clothes I wore back then are loose on me now.

    So I guess you could say I've been on a "recomp" of sorts with a focus more on fat loss. I feel like I've gotten the best of both worlds considering my extreme impatience kept me from doing a true slow recomp. I know my muscle mass is nowhere near where it needs to be and I plan to bulk soon, but I've been really pleased with the changes in scale weight, measurements and appearance.
    Wow 19lbs, I had no clue! That's great. I had a similar impatience to get down from 155, but now at this weight I've just been in a rut lol. I don't think it's complete laziness, more a content feeling (for the moment), with where I'm at and how lifting is going. My initial try this summer was for slow loss, which worked for a couple weeks, but the problem with a small deficit is that everything pretty much has to be. spot. on. Even little things here and there can ruin it, which happened.

    Maybe an attempted recomp will give me that impatience back (not sure that I want it though!).


    Thanks everyone for the replies! Again, my biggest concern was that I'd just be completely wasting my time, which is always good to know about now and not 6 months later But I feel reassured now. Thanks again for the help.
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    the problem with a small deficit is that everything pretty much has to be. spot. on. Even little things here and there can ruin it

    .Again, my biggest concern was that I'd just be completely wasting my time, which is always good to know about now and not 6 months later
    just reiterating Rowyn (and you ) but imo attempting to 'recomp' beyond the fat beginner stage isn't a good idea, because

    1. micromanaging calorie intake can drive people batty and
    2. micro-obsessing about gaining fat - and this is what women do, like it or not - leads to not eating enough for muscle gains over time

    hence, plenty spinning of said wheels.

    you can certainly gain nice muscle in six months. you can certainly lose a lot of fat in six months.

    but try both within the same time frame . . . uh oh.
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    Lol, there should have been a 'not' in there somewhere, oops! My point was actually that I'm not feeling dissatisfied enough now to just want to cut and get it over with.




    Yeah, this is good news. Definitely glad you stepped into this thread. That does make sense about different starting points, so hopefully that will be in my favor I always use you as a recomp example in other threads, since I feel like that is what ideal recomp conditions would look like.



    Yeah, my plan was to cut through the summer and start eating more around September. But due to inexact tracking I've lost about 5lbs of (mostly) water and that's about it. I got stronger and feel better, so it hasn't been a waste. But if I wanted to continue cutting I'd definitely have to tighten up and cut for longer than expected.



    Wow 19lbs, I had no clue! That's great. I had a similar impatience to get down from 155, but now at this weight I've just been in a rut lol. I don't think it's complete laziness, more a content feeling (for the moment), with where I'm at and how lifting is going. My initial try this summer was for slow loss, which worked for a couple weeks, but the problem with a small deficit is that everything pretty much has to be. spot. on. Even little things here and there can ruin it, which happened.

    Maybe an attempted recomp will give me that impatience back (not sure that I want it though!).


    Thanks everyone for the replies! Again, my biggest concern was that I'd just be completely wasting my time, which is always good to know about now and not 6 months later But I feel reassured now. Thanks again for the help.
    Yeah, like Rowyn pointed out, I basically started on a "recomp", then totally lost my patience and went more to a cut while trying to maintain, or possibly take advantage of some newbie gains while cutting (since I was in such an enviable position). I'm thinking those days are just about over for me and I'm going to have to bulk soon. The recomp mindset is clearly not for me. I'm an either/or kind of gal.

    If you are truly content to be slow now it seems to me like you could be successful if you keep your head on straight. There's always plenty to be done with one's physique for sure. The trick is, IMO, like Miranda and others have pointed out, you have to just manage your emotions and your patience level so you keep tracking appropriately and stay rational.
    Last edited by CKMH; 08-02-2011 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Spelling! Sorry, Rowyn!!
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    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    Lol, there should have been a 'not' in there somewhere, oops! My point was actually that I'm not feeling dissatisfied enough now to just want to cut and get it over with.
    I actually THOUGHT that was what you were saying, that you are pretty okay with yourself right now. But wanted to check in, its an unusual thing to say on this part of the forum, but good to hear.

    ^That attitude^ is exactly what makes me a recomper. I don't like fat, lol, but I am not freaking out about getting a deadline for beach bikini/wedding/whatever. I am pretty content being strong and curvy, which makes me a bad bulk/cutter really. I don't have the drive to cut since I am relatively happy with myself (though not perfect), and bulk is not the right direction for me. I started out recomping because 1) I knew from my past lifting experience that weights alone would help me towards the body I wanted and 2) I was very motivated to lift, not so great at cutting. So I found myself inadvertently recomping and then continued forward purposefully after that. I knew nothing about the lean gains philosophies or whatever, I fell into it by experience. Kinda like the common sense idea of IIFIYM and IFing and zigzagging cals and such. People do those things all the time without realizing that they are now considered to be dieting "techniques".

    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    just reiterating Rowyn (and you ) but imo attempting to 'recomp' beyond the fat beginner stage isn't a good idea, because

    1. micromanaging calorie intake can drive people batty and
    2. micro-obsessing about gaining fat - and this is what women do, like it or not - leads to not eating enough for muscle gains over time

    hence, plenty spinning of said wheels.

    you can certainly gain nice muscle in six months. you can certainly lose a lot of fat in six months.

    but try both within the same time frame . . . uh oh.
    Oh but I think she could, given her attitude about both her image and her training. If she is in a pretty healthy place with her body and attitude about food, loves to lift and push herself, then she would be one that would not spin her wheels. Recomping doesn't take as much effort as cutting/bulking to ME, but that's because I don't obsess with food and I enjoy training hard. If you can't deal with not seeing the scale move and start obsessing, then you will get into trouble with gaining lean mass, no doubt. Its really not that hard to do the cals, as long as you are looking at it over time and keeping the reins on gaining/losing. People MAKE it hard lol.
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    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    So you are basically eating at maintenance with days of varying cals, which is good. Even better would be if your higher cal days corresponded to training days, deficit calories on rest days, it will give you more energy on those days and cals for growth.

    One thing I've been curious about when I read about cal/carb cycling like this is do you actually require more on the day of lifting or on the rest days when your muscles repair? When I've had extremely sore days and know I've shredded up my legs the day before or what have you I have often wondered what it takes the body in terms of energy to start repairing that.

    Any studies around this that you know of?
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    I'm so glad this thread was started. I'm cutting and only succeeding in being pissed off and hungry all the time, so I was thinking a recomp might be in order.

    Rowyn--do you think the mods would allow you to do a sticky on recomping (if you're willing?) What resources did you use to learn about it when you were starting out?
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    How long are you considered a beginner? I've been following a program for about a year come this Sept. The goal was to decrease bodyfat, so I've cutting for a few months then maintaining, then back to cutting. Did my newbie status expire??
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    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by toodlepip View Post
    Any studies around this that you know of?
    Good question for Emma-Leigh, she generally has that kind of stuff available. I went to the Advanced Nutrition area but you have to weed through so much stuff its hard to find.


    Originally Posted by leggomyeggo View Post
    Rowyn--do you think the mods would allow you to do a sticky on recomping (if you're willing?) What resources did you use to learn about it when you were starting out?
    I can write something, if you guys like it you call for a sticky, they review and decide whether its sticky-worthy.

    My resources were myself, lol, and then there is quite a bit of info out there on how to gain and stay lean. Really alot more people build from a very lean vantage point than you see here versus big bulk. So while they are not actually "recomping", they are attempting to do a balancing act of gaining mass without too much fat (which is really the holy grail of bb'ing). And this is a similar scenario, just more doable and dramatic results since the person here trying to recomp has higher bf% and the ability to gain lean muscle faster than an advanced trainee.

    Originally Posted by AprilShowers13 View Post
    How long are you considered a beginner? I've been following a program for about a year come this Sept. The goal was to decrease bodyfat, so I've cutting for a few months then maintaining, then back to cutting. Did my newbie status expire??
    I don't know. It depends on your progress and how hard you were lifting. I think there are beginner lifters out there who have been lifting for 5 years, and that is only sort of a joke. If you have not seriously challenged your body with progressive work and supported it with proper nutrition, one could still be a beginner.

    Also, if you were a RAW beginner with no gym knowledge, there is a huge learning curve to go through while you are trying to get in shape that may take months. Last time I came back to the gym with squat issues it took a couple of months of flexibility work and squatting to actually get to the WEIGHT part of the training where I could do enough to push the muscles to grow.
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    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    Good question for Emma-Leigh, she generally has that kind of stuff available. I went to the Advanced Nutrition area but you have to weed through so much stuff its hard to find.
    Yeah, hard to find specific info there. Ah well, thanks anyway. I shall continue to be curious...
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    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    'the overfat beginner' lyle refers to has one very important advantage: insulin resistance. basically, you can be insulin resistant in the liver, muscles and fat cells (any or all of them) due to being overweight or obese. the fat cells are so full they develop resistance (do not want to take up more goo).

    when you go on a deficit and start exercising, the fat cells are more than happy to release triglycerides as free fatty acids in the bloodstream. exercise (weight training) improves insulin sensitivity in the muscle. they slurp up the circulating free fatty acids as they cannot go back to fat cells due to resistance.

    that is, each time you eat insulin goes up, but fat storage doesn't occur in the fat cells due to the resistance, so energy can go to muscles for repair/growth. (insulin is a storage hormone and needed for uptake.)

    ^^ continued exercise/fat loss increases fitness increases insulin sensitivity overall, insulin resistance is reversed and at one point overfat beginner magic stops.

    the other thing is that a complete beginner in the gym will adapt to ANYthing, since something is better than nothing now, whether you're a retarded trainee is kind of irrelevant in the sense that if you do 4 sets of 12 reps of bicep curls 3 x week within a retarded split for a while (maybe a few months) you will initially grow your biceps a bit - and maybe not gain any significant fat.

    after that, it gets tricky.

    of course it is possible to recomp but my pet peeve is how some people read it as being 'one' magic tool that will change their lives dramatically - kind of like those fat loss ads where one develops a ript physique in a month. 'recomp' is a vague term at best imo.

    how often do we get posts in the fat loss section from women who have recently commenced training, only to find out *gasp* that they are getting 'bigger' (normal adaptation to training with highish bodyfat on top) and do not resemble a fitness model yet? things will happen, but slooooowly.

    as rowyn said, a recomp requires some sort calorie/carb cycling. most dramatic changes in recomp can be achieved at the lower end of body fatness (UD2 seems to work wonders for some). and the problem here is that many women atrociously underestimate their bodyfat a woman who's in the 18-22% or so range (and not only wants to believe she is) or lower responds differently to above gimmickry than a woman who's higher.
    Last edited by Miranda; 08-03-2011 at 02:50 PM.
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    I think a recomp thread with info on how to do it would be great!
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    Yeah, that's why I was thinking a sticky might be a good idea. Just banging around on these boards, I get the idea that people are throwing around the term "recomp" with multiple different meanings, depending on the context.
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    Ack, very conflicted now. Both Miranda and Rowyn have brought up very good points.

    Again, not quite sure if "overfat beginner" applies to me or not. At least the "beginner" part. I agree that labels like 'beginner' and 'novice' do not directly relate to one's time of lifting, rather the body's ability to adapt and make linear gains with the minimum amount of stress, yet recover faster from this stress. It has taken me a year to get where I am now (in regards to lifting), so in terms of lifting I may be wading somewhere in an intermediate, advanced-beginner range (?).

    But I am (at least by most standards) "overfat" if you will, which is why I suspect a recomp is possible. But if no growth happens on a muscular level, then essentially I would be spinning my wheels. Staying at the same weight, maybe getting stronger, but not improving in any aesthetic sense.

    Hmmm.
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    Ack, very conflicted now. Both Miranda and Rowyn have brought up very good points.

    Again, not quite sure if "overfat beginner" applies to me or not. At least the "beginner" part. I agree that labels like 'beginner' and 'novice' do not directly relate to one's time of lifting, rather the body's ability to adapt and make linear gains with the minimum amount of stress, yet recover faster from this stress. It has taken me a year to get where I am now (in regards to lifting), so in terms of lifting I may be wading somewhere in an intermediate, advanced-beginner range (?).

    But I am (at least by most standards) "overfat" if you will, which is why I suspect a recomp is possible. But if no growth happens on a muscular level, then essentially I would be spinning my wheels. Staying at the same weight, maybe getting stronger, but not improving in any aesthetic sense.

    Hmmm.
    If you are willing to take a couple of months to experiment and see if a recomp is going to work than I would suggest that. Of course it could take longer but I got pretty good results when I was able to train consistently in two almost three months. Worse case it doesn't work and you move to a slow cut.
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    great thread! I too am unclear about what seperates a successful recomp from the undesirable "spinning the wheels"
    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    as rowyn said, a recomp requires some sort calorie/carb cycling. most dramatic changes in recomp can be achieved at the lower end of body fatness (UD2 seems to work wonders for some). and the problem here is that many women atrociously underestimate their bodyfat a woman who's in the 18-22% or so range (and not only wants to believe she is) or lower responds differently to above gimmickry than a woman who's higher.
    @Miranda~so a woman in the 18-22% range responds better/worse than the "overfat" woman.... I always thought that the leaner you were the harder a recomp was and therefore required more of a bulk approach but now I am confused(doesn't take much ) I *think* I am close to the higher end of that range(22%+ish but not "overfat") and I do NOT want to "spin my wheels" and also don't want to thread hi-jack...think we need some sort of recomp sticky
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    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by illiniStrive View Post
    I am (at least by most standards) "overfat" if you will, which is why I suspect a recomp is possible. But if no growth happens on a muscular level, then essentially I would be spinning my wheels. Staying at the same weight, maybe getting stronger, but not improving in any aesthetic sense. Hmmm.
    i'm not sure what 'recommended' weight range you fall at your height, but if you're at or above the upper limits, then you will need to lose scale weight. also, if you've only been training for one year, i don't think you would have built *that* much extra lean mass to account for the overall weight. so, if your number one goal is to improve aesthetically (that is, lose fat) then the scale number would have to go down. i know some people love to hate the scale, but it is an important tool sometimes
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    we flawless illiniStrive's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    i'm not sure what 'recommended' weight range you fall at your height, but if you're at or above the upper limits, then you will need to lose scale weight. also, if you've only been training for one year, i don't think you would have built *that* much extra lean mass to account for the overall weight. so, if your number one goal is to improve aesthetically (that is, lose fat) then the scale number would have to go down. i know some people love to hate the scale, but it is an important tool sometimes
    Number one goal would be to get stronger. Aesthetics fall in the number 2 slot. Something it'd be nice to improve in, but not exactly a priority so there's no rush. Hence why I was considering the recomp in the first place.

    Definitely not all (or even a lot of) muscle at this weight! This is down from 155 before I started lifting. I've got a lot of fluff for sure
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    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by brandibopeep View Post
    great thread! I too am unclear about what seperates a successful recomp from the undesirable "spinning the wheels" @Miranda~so a woman in the 18-22% range responds better/worse than the "overfat" woman.... I always thought that the leaner you were the harder a recomp was and therefore required more of a bulk approach but now I am confused(doesn't take much ) I *think* I am close to the higher end of that range(22%+ish but not "overfat") and I do NOT want to "spin my wheels" and also don't want to thread hi-jack...think we need some sort of recomp sticky
    well, for starters, the less fat you have, the more you can see any added muscle for the 'dramatic' effect.

    the other thing is something called p-ratio - the relative amounts of muscle/fat that you gain (on a bulk). lean individuals gain more lean mass. the fatter you are, the more fat relative to muscle you will pile on.

    that's why attempting to 'recomp' or bulk (unless you're the overfat beginner) when you're fatter is not a good idea imo. now, of course there is a huge middle ground between 'lean' and 'fat' - the 25%-30% range where many women fall.

    leaner individuals respond differently to dieting since their bodies resist that much harder. what UD2 does is glycogen deplete and starve the person for a few days (for fat loss) and then massively overfeed (to restore hormones and possibly gain mass) for another few. fatter people don't need that since they're hormonally in a different place. mind you, it incorporates a BRUTAL training. death on wheels intermittent fasting can be seen as an extension of UD2 - you fast for extended periods (to enhance fat burning) then 'overfeed' for a short period of time after training to gain mass. the jury is still out on IF so don't quote me on that


    btw, depending on your definition of 'recomp' it can be stretched out over YEARS (i've been recomping for the past seven years myself ), basically your whole lifting career where you stumble and do everything asswards as a beginner but advance nonetheless, attempt a few bulks, a few cuts, maintain et cetera. <- all that leads to you greatly changing your body composition.
    Last edited by Miranda; 08-04-2011 at 02:46 PM.
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    green(bean)machine brandibopeep's Avatar
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    ^^^^^thank YOU for explaining that!
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    If you are interested, look at my profile progress pics of my 15 Month recomp. To me, the fat loss and muscle gain are quite clear....I started at between 25-30% BF and ended up at 15% with alot of lean gains. I had been playing at lifting forever, but was a 'beginner' in terms of heavy, structured lifting and VERY DISCIPLINED, structured eating..... I didn't do refeeds, but I took 5 day 'breaks' every 10 weeks or so. and a 5 week holiday in the middle!
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