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Physical Wellness

Body Recomposition: Lose Fat and Gain Muscle Simultaneously

Transforming your body is by no means easy. It’s a long journey that takes a ton of hard work and commitment. Often, people think that you can’t build muscle while losing fat or the other way around. They think they have to choose one goal and stick with it. But, while it’s hard to maximize one or the other, you can lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. Body recomposition is an approach to body transformation that strikes a balance between losing fat and building muscle.

How to Build Muscle

The main driving factor for lean gains is resistance training and progressive overload. This means that you need to lift heavy weights and eat so that your body has enough calories to build muscle. So you need to lift heavy, eat the right foods, and give your body the chance to rest to build muscle effectively. 

How to Build Muscle, According to Science

Progressive overload is the principle that, if you continue to increase the demands on your muscles, you will increase muscle size, strength, and endurance. Put simply, if you want to get bigger and stronger, you have to keep challenging your muscles to work harder than before. You’re putting your muscles out of their comfort zone. 

Resistance training is a form of exercise that increases muscle strength and endurance. It’s also called strength training and weight training. Types of resistance training include free weights, weight machines, or using medicine balls and sandbags. Resistance band exercises for legs focus on the lower body, while movements like bicep curls and tricep extensions pinpoint the upper body. 

Fat Loss: How Does it Work?

With fat loss for body recomposition, the main driving force is a calorie deficit. So the simple approach to fat loss is to burn more calories than you consume. When your body is using more calories than you eat, you’re in a calorie deficit. With this, the hope is that your body pulls from your fat stores to burn energy. But this isn’t always the case. When you are in a calorie deficit, your body will take what it needs from both fat stores and muscle. 

Often the key to healthy fat loss is developing healthy and sustainable habits that you can keep up in the long term. Fat loss tips include eating a balanced meal every mealtime, drinking water when you wake up, and exercising first thing in the morning. 

Can You Lose Fat and Gain Muscle at the Same Time?

The answer is yes. You can still build muscle and lose fat at the same time. This is because you can increase muscle mass while on a calorie deficit. The key is to follow a plan that is realistic and not extreme as not to drop your calories too low. This approach to fitness and weight loss should be individualized to your goals to avoid side effects like:

  • Burnout
  • Muscle loss
  • Bone density loss 
  • Binge eating 
  • Mood changes 
  • Overtraining
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Immune system damage
Slim and sexy stomach on black background.
The Key Is To Follow A Plan That Is Realistic And Not Extreme As Not To Drop Your Calories Too Low (Image Source: Shutterstock)

Instead of primarily trying to lose fat or build muscle, if you can lower your body fat while maintaining or even building muscle, it’s a win-win. 

Body recomposition is an approach to fat loss, not weight loss. When you’re on this type of plan, your actual weight could remain the same because you’re not focusing on your weight. You’re looking to change your fat and muscle percentages. You could easily weigh the same now and after your body recomposition plan. But you could look and feel like a completely new person. 

Your journey to body recomposition is slow and steady. To achieve long-term and sustainable results, you need to adopt healthy behaviors and stick to them. If you want to lose fat and gain muscle, you’re in this journey for the long haul. 

How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat Simultaneously

To effectively build muscle and lose fat, you need to do resistance training, apply progressive overload, keep your protein up, and drop your calories. Try to avoid an extreme drop in calories; your body recomposition plan should be realistic and specific to your goals and needs.

How to Build Muscle and Lose Fat at the Same Time

While it sounds backward that you can be in a calorie deficit to lose fat while gaining muscle, it’s completely possible. By being in a calorie deficit, you can lose fat. But when you combine resistance training and progressive overload with a diet high in protein, you can build muscle at the same time.

Three Tips for Body Recomposition Fat Loss and Muscle Gains

1. Eat Enough Protein

While you need to be in a calorie deficit to burn fat, you also need to eat enough protein to repair and build muscles. Foods that are great for losing fat and building muscle include:

  • Eggs 
  • Salmon 
  • Chicken breast 
  • Quinoa 
  • Almonds 
  • Peanuts
  • Beans 
  • Legumes

2. Ditch the Scale

Your scale doesn’t see the difference between fat and muscle; it’s just one number. Your goal is to lose fat and build muscle. Your standard bathroom scale doesn’t tell you what you need to know. 

Woman holding jeans and bathroom scale.
Your Goal Is To Lose Fat And Build Muscle Not Lose Weight (Image Source: Shutterstock)

3. Don’t Rush It

Changing your body, losing fat, and building muscle all take time. Be kind to yourself, and don’t rush the process. Transformation doesn’t happen overnight. The most important thing is to adopt healthy habits that you can continue to implement now and in the future. 

Final Thoughts on Body Recomposition

If you’re trying to change your body, the best way to keep going is to see progress. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know if you’re improving or not. Throughout your journey, take progress photos and even try a full body composition scan at your local gym.

It’s easy to think that you have to choose whether you lose fat or build muscle, but you can do both with this approach. By setting a realistic plan to follow that’s not too extreme, you can start your fitness journey. Support your overall well-being by cultivating healthy habits and behaviors for sustainable fat loss and muscle gains.

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