So you have dieted down to single digit percent body fat levels, and you are in the shape of your life -Now what?
Unless you are a competitive bodybuilder I don’t see why you would start adding that body fat again the instant you reach your goal. In my perspective, that’s useless and a waste of time. Now what many people would like is to keep that new bodyweight and focus more on maintenance and maximize chances for body recomposition to occur over a long period of time.
Maintenance – Keep you current body composition (no weight change)
Recomposition – Ad muscle and burn fat simultaneously (no weight change)
Lean gaining - Adding muscle while minimizing fat gain (weight increase)
When reaching your fat loss goals you need a break. Your hormonal system (and your psyche) will thank you for that. You have been abusing your body for some time and it definitely deserves a break. Eat at maintenance and stay away from any kind of training for 1-2 whole weeks. Make sure to keep track of the scale during this week. Then get started.
You need to know at which calorie intake your body weight stays stable – after dieting and after your rest week, you should know this. So let’s assume your weight was pretty stable at 2500 calories during your rest week. The basic idea of recomposition is to cycle days in surplus with days in deficit while the mean intake stays as 2500 calories and timing your training to maximize chances for muscle gain to occur.
Day one – 2000 calorie/moderate carb – Rest day
Day two – 3000 calorie/high carb day – Training
The exact macronutrient composition would of course depend on the client and their goals but a generic example could look something like: Day one: 240 grams of protein, 150 grams of carbs, and 50 grams of fat which adds up to about 2000 calories on rest days. And on training days I would keep everything constant but ad 250 grams of carbs after the workout – that’s about 1000 calories extra from good carb sources – landing at around 3000 calories.
You of course have to adjust the figures to your current caloric needs. You cycle between the high and low days, training heavy strength training on your high days which will allow you to maximize recovery and muscle building potential on those days, while allowing you to stay on maintenance calorie intake over the course of the week.
Focus on big compound movements and make strength gain your main goal. After some time you will get the feel for the amounts of food were talking about and you will be able to stop counting calories, just make sure to keep track on the scale even though you are not dieting anymore.
This is not a fast fix, and body recomposition takes a long time, But then again that is the whole idea – to alter your lifestyle and acquire new habits that will allow you to get the body of your dreams in a way that makes it possible to sustain over the long term at any age.
Let me know how it goes!
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