25 Oct Body Recomposition- How to Understand Your Progress
Body recomposition progress can be frustrating to understand, especially if you’re not paying attention to the right things.
There are a few reasons for this:
- It takes a long time to make visible progress. You’ll see some changes in your body and how your clothes are fitting in the first few months, but they’ll be so slight that you might think you’re making it up. It could be 6-12 months before you see significant changes.
- The scale won’t move much. Depending on where you’re at, you probably won’t lose a lot of weight, you might even gain a bit as you slowly build more muscle.
So how do you know that you’re making progress?
This article is going to help you understand your progress and make adjustments during the body recomposition process.
Ps. If you haven’t read my other article on how to set up your nutrition for body recomposition then you should read this.
Body Recomposition- How to Measure Your Progress
The goal during body recomposition is to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
To understand whether this is occurring you must be using more than just the scale to measure your progress.
You must be monitoring:
- Strength every workout
- Body weight every day but looking at weekly trends
- Waist measurement every 2-4 weeks
- Photos every 2-4 weeks
In some cases you might want to take photos and measurements weekly but it depends on where you’re at.
If you’re female your menstrual cycle will influence these variables so it’s important you keep this in mind as you make assessments. To learn more about how your menstrual cycle can impact your progress, check this out.
Body Recomposition- How to Understand Your Progress
You can’t rely on a single measurement to understand body recomposition progress.
The variables you’re measuring have meaning when you interpret them together, not individually.
If you pay attention to one thing at a time you’re not going to be able to know for sure what progress you’re making.
For example, if the scale goes down it could be fat but it could also be muscle. To get a better idea of which one it is, you have to combine your scale data with the other data you have.
You can use this table modified from Alan Aragon as a guide:
Body Recomposition- How to Make Adjustments
Based on your progress you may need to slightly adjust your nutrition throughout the body recomposition process.
The changes you make don’t need to be huge.
Adjustments will depend on a number of things and it’s hard to summarise because each person is slightly different too.
To simplify, let’s just use body weight and photos as that’s what I’d look at first.
You can use this as a guide:
- Body weight going down but looking the same= Increase calories by 100-200 per day
- Body weight going down but looking tighter = Don’t change anything yet
- Body weight increasing but looking the same= Don’t change anything yet
- Body weight going up but looking more fluffy= Reduce calories slightly by 80-200 per day
If you need to increase calories they should come from extra carbohydrates unless carbs are already super high, then they’ll need to come from fat. Protein should already be set to the right amount and won’t need changing.
It’s likely you won’t need to make adjustments often. It really depends on the progress you’re making and how you’re feeling overall.
If you find yourself really hungry or low in energy you might need to increase calories further. Usually this will happen in addition to strength going down which must also be monitored and factored into any adjustments made.
Body Recomposition- Strength
For body recomposition to happen, you must be following a structured weight training program. You need to be focusing on progressive overload, lifting with good form, and challenging yourself enough each workout.
The goal of your workouts should be to get stronger over time.
All the adjustments you make in your nutrition need to be considered with how your training is progressing.
If your strength is plateauing or your energy is lacking during your workouts, you might need to change something. You might need more carbs, or it might be time for a new program. There could also be some weaknesses you need to address in your lifts that are preventing you from moving forward.
Again, you need to consider all your other forms of progress with your strength progress in order to make the right changes to your nutrition.
There are many variables to take into account in the body recomposition process. You need to look at everything combined to understand your progress and make adjustments.
If you’re looking at individual variables you won’t get very far.
If you’re interested in getting some help with your body recomp journey, feel free to reach out here.