Body Recomposition: What Is it and How to Do It?

Getting to increase muscle volume is one of the bases of body recomposition. To do this, you have to guarantee an adequate protein intake and physical exercise.
Body Recomposition: What Is it and How to Do It?
Saúl Sánchez

Written and verified by el nutricionista Saúl Sánchez.

Last update: 22 March, 2021

Body recomposition is the process by which we attempt to make significant changes in the different parts that make up the human organism. The fundamental objective is to maximize muscle gains and lose fat mass, with the goal of improving health.

However, for many people, it’s difficult to put something like this into practice. They have acquired bad habits over the years that have made it difficult to get rid of them. Because of that, we’re going to explain step by step what you have to take into account in order to achieve this goal and avoid frustration.

For body recomposition, physical exercise

The basis of body recomposition will always be physical exercise, although this must be complemented with an adequate diet. According to research published in the journal Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine , physical activity is capable of promoting the physiological mechanisms that cause muscle hypertrophy.

In this way, there’s an increase in the cross section of the muscle, which will impact almost every system in our body. From this point on, you’ll experience an increase in basal metabolism, as lean tissue is very active from a metabolic point of view and requires a high-calorie intake in order to keep it functional.

Our conclusion here is that muscle gain usually favors the reduction of fat tissue.

In order to achieve this goal, it’s necessary to carry out strength exercises on a regular basis. While resistance work can also achieve increases in muscle tone and cross section, it isn’t the most efficient way.

However, it’s crucial to ensure that the protein intake is correct. Protein is the most important nutrient when it comes to tissue building. Its regular contribution has been shown to prevent the appearance of complex pathologies such as sarcopenia, which causes involuntary loss of strength and lean mass.

At the same time, it allows cell adaptation processes to take place, favoring muscle growth.

Daily physical activity is essential to achieve body recomposition.
Regular physical exercise provides indisputable body-shaping benefits, even more so than diet.

Diet is essential in body recomposition

To support the effects of physical activity, it is important to ensure that you follow a good diet. At first, it isn’t a good idea to reduce calories a lot, especially when we’re talking about obese people with a low amount of lean mass.

In this way, the toning of the tissue is favored, which will increase the metabolic rate and facilitate the subsequent descent work.

Once a reasonable level of muscle tone already exists, as well as a certain adaptation to the workload, you can begin to consider a hypocaloric diet. In this sense, the intermittent fasting protocol is useful.

There is solid evidence that ensures that it stimulates weight loss, safeguarding lean mass due to hormonal adaptations. With this mechanism, insulin resistance will also be reduced, something we will talk about later.

As we have already mentioned, it will always be appropriate to maximize the protein intake, regardless of whether an intermittent fasting protocol is implemented. This will achieve an adequate adaptation to work, an optimal super-compensation, and a reduction in the catabolism of lean tissue.

From this point on, and as the person is gains experience and adapts to the changes, a diet with a low carbohydrate intake can be considered as a transition method. This will further increase insulin sensitivity, as well as metabolic flexibility.

This is stated by a study published in the Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism. Nor is it necessary to resort to overly strict ketogenic diets. It is enough to simply reduce the general presence of sugars in the diet, appearing only before and after training sessions.

Once the metabolism has increased and healthy habits have been acquired, it’s possible to support body recomposition with the use of supplements. The most effective of them all has proven to be creatine.

On the one hand, it increases muscular strength and resistance to fatigue, and on the other, it has a positive effect on the person’s body composition. There are several possible administration protocols, although the most widespread one consists of stable doses after training.

There is also evidence that indicates that caffeine consumption stimulates lipid oxidation and, with it, body recomposition. This alkaloid can be ingested through liquids such as coffee or tea, or by using supplements directly.

Some caution must be exercised with this, as at doses greater than 400 mg a day it is toxic and develops side effects in the body.

Spices for body recomposition

Apart from the supplements mentioned, there are a series of spices and condiments that can be introduced into the diet in order to stimulate weight loss. In this way, a good body recomposition can be achieved much more efficiently.

Cayenne pepper and ginger are the ones that have been shown to be the most effective. Both have a spicy flavor, which is believed to have a positive impact on metabolism, increasing the amount of energy consumed on a daily basis.

Spices help increase fat oxidation, so their regular consumption progressively reduces subcutaneous adipose tissue.

Use of probiotics

To all the above strategies, we must add the possible use of probiotics. Sometimes, body composition is conditioned by a problem in the intestinal microbiota, which generates inefficiencies in metabolism or a tendency to accumulate fat.

To deal with this problem, it’s necessary to consume bacteria that can repopulate areas that haven’t been colonized by beneficial microorganisms. In this way, bacteria that can become pathogenic are controlled, reducing their harmful effects.

There’s still much to discover about the impact of the microbiota on body recomposition, but current evidence has shown how probiotic supplementation has been effective in many cases.

What foods should be avoided?

We’ve talked to you about strategies, diets, and supplements, but you also have to avoid certain products to achieve an efficient body recomposition. It’s crucial to significantly reduce your intake of simple sugars and trans fats. Both substances are capable of promoting inflammation, insulin resistance, and an increase in fat weight.

This class of compounds is found mainly in ultra-processed foods, such as sweets, industrial pastries, and fast food. It’s always a better option to prioritize the intake of fresh food, cooked at home, avoiding aggressive heat treatments.

Experts recommend that we don’t consume industrially-processed food more than once or twice a week if we want to achieve an adequate body recomposition through the commented strategies. At the same time, it’s important to mention that the drink par excellence is always water, and we should restrict the intake of alcohol or sugary soft drinks.

Body recomposition involves setting aside certain eating habits.
Too much fast food can completely slow down your body’s rebuilding goals.

Good rest is essential

We have already touched on the aspects related to diet and exercise. It’s time to talk about rest, the third basic pillar that body recomposition is based on. During sleep, all the physiological reactions which aim to help our bodies to recover correctly take place.

With good rest, we can experience sports super-compensation processes, which allow an increase in performance. Hormone production and homeostasis are also regulated, ensuring that our bodies function healthily and efficiently.

Insufficient rest won’t only affect cognitive functioning, but it will also have an impact on metabolism, on the ability to perform physically, and on the composition of the microbiota.

In fact, the association between sleeping too few or too many hours and having an unhealthy body composition state has been evidenced by experts.

It is important to take care of the aspects related to sleep hygiene. In this sense, experts recommend that we don’t use electronic devices just before going to bed. Other essential aspects are having a light dinner and going to bed early. Waking up to sunlight is also recommended.

However, there are certain supplements that can improve rest in people who suffer from problems such as insomnia or interrupted sleep. The most effective of them all is melatonin, which can be combined with magnesium or 5-HTP to produce a synergistic effect.

Body recomposition, a multidisciplinary process

As you can see, body recomposition isn’t based only on changing certain foods, or on introducing a single supplement. It’s the result of combining a series of healthy habits related to the 3 pillars of health: diet, exercise, and rest. Only by treating these elements in an integrative way will the best results be achieved.

From a dietary point of view, there are many nutritional strategies that have been shown to be efficient in reducing fat weight or helping to gain muscle weight.

Several of them can be put into practice, taking into account that there’s a genetic component that will determine the differences between different people. For this reason, don’t get frustrated if you can’t find the right key at first.

When it comes to physical exercise, try to always prioritize strength and power work. It’s much more effective in increasing muscle volume, which will have a positive impact on health.

However, keep in mind that this is a more harmful exercise than resistance training, and so it’s always a good idea to ask an expert in the sector to help you.

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