Body recomposition (body recomp) is the process of building muscle while losing fat. For many people, body recomp is the holy grail of training and nutrition, providing an alternative to the more traditional bulking and cutting cycles favored by many bodybuilders.
Most body recomp programs involve eating more on training days to fuel training and muscle growth but eating less on rest days to facilitate fat loss. This can be a tricky balance to achieve, which is why so many people experience less than stellar results during recomps.
After all, you need to know how much of which foods you should eat and when which usually involves a whole lot of number crunching.
Our body recomposition calculator is designed to take the guesswork out of eating for body recomp and does all the math for you.
Body Recomposition Calculator
Read also: Body Recomposition – How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle
What is The Body Recomposition Calculator?
The Body Recomposition Calculator is designed to determine how much you need to eat to build muscle while losing fat. It produces two sets of dietary targets – one for training days and one for rest days – so you can achieve your body recomp goals quicker and easier.
Hitting these targets will provide you with the energy and nutrients you need to train, recover, and build muscle without accumulating excess body fat.
It is customizable, so you can select things like meal frequency and primary training goal, choosing between gaining more muscle while slowly losing fat or losing more fat while gaining less muscle.
You can also modify the calculator according to your body fat percentage (if you know it) and your preference for high or very high protein intake. There is also an option to select plant-based proteins.
In short, it provides all the data you need to build muscle while losing fat.
How to Use the Body Recomposition Calculator
Our body recomposition calculator is very straightforward to use. Follow these step-by-step instructions to determine your calorie and macro intakes for training and rest days.
- Select your units, choosing between imperial (pounds, feet, and inches) or metric (kilograms and centimeters).
- Select your gender, choosing between male and female.
- Enter your age, weight, and height.
- Pick your formula, choosing between normal or lean mass, for which you’ll also need to enter your current body fat percentage.
- Enter your additional weekly calorie expenditure, e.g., more than 3 x 30 minutes of strength training per week, which is the baseline for this calculator.
- Select your body recomposition goal, choosing between more fat loss, more muscle gain, or equal fat loss and muscle gain.
- Select your meal frequency, choosing between two to five meals per day. Alternatively, hit “all” to see your results for an entire day instead of meal by meal.
- Select your protein intake, choosing from plant-based, high, and maximum.
- Hit “calculate” and then read off your results.
How Does the Body Recomposition Calculator Work?
While our body recomposition calculator is very straightforward to operate, it uses a lot of hidden moving parts to determine how much you need to eat to lose fat and build muscle.
These are the steps and formulae behind the body recomposition calculator:
- Calculate your BMR using the Mifflin St Jeor equation.
- Multiply BMR by 1.2 to determine your maintenance calories.
- Estimate your body fat percentage using the Mcardle-Katch body fat formula.
- Adjust calories on training days based on goals (+20% for more muscle gain, +10% for more fat loss).
- Adjust calories on rest days based on goals (-5% for more muscle gain, -15% for more fat loss).
- Calculate protein intake at 0.95 grams per pound/2 grams per kilogram of body weight.
- Calculate fat intake at 30% of daily calories.
- Calculate carbohydrate intake as the remainder of calories.
Thankfully, you don’t need to do all this math as we’ve built each of these stages into our body recomposition calculator. You’re welcome!
Interpreting Your Results
Once you have entered all the required information and hit the calculate button, you’ll receive the following results:
These results represent how much you should eat on the days that you work out. They include a slight calorie surplus to fuel your workouts and promote recovery and muscle growth.
Calories per meal – this is how many calories each meal should contain. Calories are distributed evenly across however many meals you selected. If you selected “all,” calories are for the entire day.
Carbohydrate, protein, and fat – this is how much of each macronutrient group your meals should contain, presented in both grams and as a percentage.
These results represent how much you should eat on rest days. They include a slight calorie deficit to facilitate fat loss and reflect that you’ll be less active.
Calories per meal – this is how many calories each meal should contain. Calories are distributed evenly across the number of meals you selected. If you selected “all,” calories are for the entire day.
Carbohydrate, protein, and fat – this is how much of each macro your meals should contain, presented in both grams and as a percentage.
If you are unhappy with your results, go back and make changes to things like meal frequency, formula, and protein type. This will fine-tune your results to ensure that you make the best possible progress during your body recomp.
Strategies for Maximizing Your Progress
Knowledge, they say, is power. However, that’s only true if you put that knowledge into practice. After using our body recomposition calculator, you’ll know precisely how much and what you should eat to lose fat and build muscle simultaneously. However, you also need to use this information correctly, otherwise it’s just empty words.
Use the following strategies to help you maximize your body recomp progress:
Create a Consistent Workout Routine
Consistency is the cornerstone of any successful body recomposition plan. You need to work out regularly and frequently to achieve good results. Strength training (lifting weights) is crucial for building muscle while losing fat, and the calculator is based on a baseline of three 30-minute strength training workouts per week.
You can work out with freeweights, machines, kettlebells, or your own body weight. However, whatever you choose to do, make sure you can stick to your program religiously. Missing workouts will hurt your progress.
You can design your own program or choose one of the hundreds of workouts in our archives.
Cardio can also help you lose fat, but you should avoid doing too much. Excess cardio can make it harder to gain/retain muscle.
Short, high-intensity interval training workouts are probably your best option. However, if you stick to the nutritional guidelines generated by the calculator, you should be able to lose fat without doing lots of additional cardio.
Track Your Calories and Macros
While you can guess your way to a successful bulk, body recomposition requires a much more precise approach to nutrition. Using our calculator means you know how many calories and macros you need to eat to lose fat while building muscle. So, make sure you align your meals to these targets.
Doing this means you’ll need to track both your calories and macros. You can do this with pen and paper, but using an online food-tracking platform or an app is much easier.
You’ll also need to plan your meals in advance to ensure you consume the right amount of calories, protein, carbs, and fat each day.
While this is time-consuming initially, it gets easier the longer you do it. Once you’ve calculated the values for a meal, you can save it and make it again without having to do all that adding and subtracting. After a week or so, you should have a good menu of meals tracked, and you won’t need to calculate calories and macros for them again.
Monitor Your Progress and Adjust Accordingly
Your body recomposition results are based on your nutritional requirements right now. In a few weeks, when your muscle mass and body fat percentage have changed, your dietary needs will have changed too.
So, to avoid progress plateaus, make sure you monitor your progress and adjust your food intake accordingly. For example, if you lose body weight, your total daily calorie requirements will decrease slightly.
You can also use these progress checks to ensure everything is going in the right direction. For example, suppose you are not noticeably losing fat. In that case, you may need to subtract an additional 100-200 calories from your daily intake.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Believe it or not, the amount of sleep you get per night can have a significant impact on your body composition results. Too little sleep inhibits fat burning, can interfere with workout recovery and muscle building, and rob you of the motivation and willpower you’ll need to train and eat consistently.
Most people need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. That’s EVERY night, and not just at weekends.
Sleeping enough ensures your body gets the time it needs to maximize muscle growth and burn fat.
Read more about how sleep influences fat loss and muscle building here.
While you can build muscle and lose fat without supplements, a few well-chosen products may help things go more smoothly. Good options worth considering include:
- Pre-workout – for an instant energy boost and longer, more intense workouts.
- Protein powder – to make getting enough protein easier.
- Creatine – a proven muscle-builder, energizer, and muscle cell volumizer.
- Amino acids – to preserve muscle mass and promote recovery and muscle building.
- Multivitamins and multiminerals – to make sure all your micronutrient bases are covered.
- Fat burners – to accelerate fat loss and control your appetite.
If you want to gain muscle or lose fat fast, you should follow a bulking or cutting program. Focusing on just one aspect of body recomposition at a time usually produces quicker results.
However, after a bulk, you’ll invariably need to do a cut to lose the body fat you’ve accumulated. Similarly, you’ll probably need to do a bulk to rebuild any lost muscle after a cut.
Concurrent body recomposition is slower than bulking or cutting, but that’s the price you’ve got to pay if you want to lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously. So, settle into the long haul as your body slowly becomes lean AND muscular. Your patience will be rewarded!
Body Recomposition Calculator FAQ
1. How accurate is the body recomposition calculator?
Our body recomposition calculator estimates your total daily energy expenditure, creates a slight calorie surplus for training days and a calorie deficit on rest days, and then determines your macros based on the best percentages for body recomp.
It does this using accepted formulae for these purposes.
Like all such formulae, this is an estimation of what you need to eat to lose fat and gain muscle and is not 100% accurate.
Because of this, you should monitor your progress and fine-tune your nutritional intake based on your results. For example, consume more calories on training days if you aren’t building muscle and fewer calories on rest days if you aren’t losing fat.
2. What should I eat for my body recomposition meals?
There is no set diet for body recomposition, so you are free to plan your own meals. So long as whatever you eat fits your calorie and macro targets, you should make progress. This is called flexible dieting, or If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM).
That said, you may make better progress if you eat mostly clean or natural foods. These tend to be the most filling, so you won’t feel hungry and tempted to break your diet.
Clean foods are also high in health-boosting micronutrients.
3. Am I allowed cheat meals while doing a body recomp?
Cheat meals provide you with a break from your diet. They usually involve eating foods you otherwise avoid during a restrictive eating plan. This can be psychologically rewarding and gives you something to look forward to.
However, too many cheat meals can sabotage your diet and put the brakes on your progress. Every time you miss your macro and calorie targets, the longer it’ll take to reach your body recomp goals.
So, enjoy cheat meals if you wish, but make sure you practice self-control to avoid doing more harm than good. Remember, too, that nothing tastes as good as being lean and muscular!
Use these strategies to stop cheat meals from ruining your progress.
4. What is the best workout for a body recomposition?
The aim of body recomposition is to build muscle while losing fat. As such, you need to do workouts that promote hypertrophy or muscle growth. Invariably, this means lifting weights and following a bodybuilding-style training program.
However, you’ll probably get the best results from a low to moderate-volume training program, as you won’t have the large calorie surplus normally need for a high-volume plan.
3-4 one-hour workouts per week should be sufficient for most people. Build your workouts around compound exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, bent-over rows, pull-ups, and military presses. These exercises generally provide the best bang for your buck.
In terms of splits, sets, rep range, etc., whatever you want to use will work fine, providing you train with sufficient intensity and consistency. Create a program you can stick to.
Read more about what makes an effective training program here.
5. How long does a body recomp take?
You should begin to see progress in 4-8 weeks of starting your body recomp. However, the length of your body recomposition depends on how much fat you want to lose and how much muscle you want to build. For example, if you are very overweight or need to develop a lot of muscle, you could be body recomp-ing for many months or even a year or more.
While your progress will probably be slower than you want, take comfort in knowing that body recomp is a one-way journey, and you won’t have to follow it with a bulk or cutting phase.
Body Recomposition – Wrapping Up
Losing fat while building muscle cab be challenging, but, contrary to popular opinion, is not impossible. Bodybuilders and athletes have been doing it for centuries.
The trick to a successful body recomp is creating a small calorie surplus on training days and a calorie deficit on rest days. This will allow you to build muscle and lose fat simultaneously.
Take the guesswork out of creating a body recomposition diet with this handy calculator. Plug in your details and then consistently hit the calorie and macro targets.
While you won’t lose fat or build muscle quickly, you will make slow, reliable, steady progress toward your body composition goals.
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