The Principles of Body Recomposition and
Getting the Physique of Your Dreams
This may come as no big surprise to you, however, I feel obliged to tell you anyway.
The fundamental principles of changing the composition of your body (i.e. losing fat and gaining muscle) lies all in how you eat.
Of course weight training will aid in this as well but if you’re not eating right you can do all of the workouts in the world and get nowhere.
Imagine being a world class accountant but not using software and just writing everything on paper? Or being a barber and not having chairs to seat your clients in? The same goes with exercise and diet.
There are a Few Simple (but not easy)
Steps to Follow to Change Your Physical Appearance Forever
The first thing anyone who wants to improve their physique should be concerned with is losing excess body fat. Fat is necessary for vitality and health but too much of anything is a bad thing, right?
Of course. Especially when it comes to body fat.
Not only can a high body fat percentage contribute to many annoying side effects such as poor self image, shortness of breath and depression, it can also directly contribute to the development of various types of cancer.
Cancer. Yep, you read that right.
But me sitting here in my chair, preaching, isn’t going to make you want to eat healthy to avoid cancer. That’s just our human condition.
Instead, perhaps I can entice you to keep reading by presenting some of the benefits you will receive by changing your physique – or “body image”.
If you are hanging on to extra body fat you may be sabotaging your early muscle and strength gaining potential as a new weight lifter.
As certain studies have shown, people with low body fat tend to put on more lean tissue (muscle) than those who suffer from a higher body fat percentage. That’s just one of the benefits – put on more muscle faster! Who doesn’t want that?
This would suggest that losing extra fat will set you up for the best possible scenario when it comes to building muscle.
Additionally, having a lean and aesthetic physique is going to make you more confident, and it’s going to improve your ability to remain confident in other aspects of your life. It will spill over I guarantee.
Now, if you are someone who is blessed naturally with a low body fat percentage, this may not apply to you. For me, however, I had extra body fat so that’s what I want to focus on losing first.
For men, this would mean you are above 15% body fat. For women, you would be above 20% body fat.
Another point to keep in mind is that when your body is carrying additional weight stored as fat, certain exercises would become more difficult such as the pull-up and push-up.
Losing this additional weight would instantly make it easier for you to perform the above exercises.
If you want to learn more about how you can enjoyably and effortlessly diet down to a low body fat level, read this post.
The 3 Steps to Begin Improving Your Physique
We will cover the below in more detail but here are the principles of improving your physique in 3 steps.
- Lose weight by dieting down – eat at a 25% caloric deficit until you are at:
- 8-12% body fat for men and
- 15-25% for women
- Begin a weight-training routine – ideally a full-body workout routine to get some lean mass built.
- Begin to eat at a 150-250 calorie surplus in order to support your new muscle gains.
How to Lose Weight by Dieting:
Eating at a Caloric Deficit
So, I bet you have a few questions at this point. “What the heck is a caloric deficit?” “Why would I eat at a caloric deficit?” “Aren’t I going to starve if I don’t get enough nutrition?”
Maybe you’re asking these questions, maybe you’re not. But one thing is for sure.
They’re valid questions.
And here are some of the benefits of having a low body fat percentage as we discussed above.
The basic principle is this. If you require 2500 calories per day to maintain your current weight, a caloric deficit would be 75% of these calories until you’ve lost your desired fat.
This means that 2500 x 0.75 = roughly 1900 calories.
The ideal amount of fat to lose is somewhere between 1-2 lbs per week if you are more than 18 percent body fat as a male and over 25 percent as a female.
Just keep in mind that the leaner you are to begin with, the less fat you will lose weekly.
At this point, you might be asking me the following question:
“So Mike, this is great and all, but how do I know what my maintenance calories are?”
The answer to this is quite simple and I will put up a more in-depth post about this. But for now, you will multiply your current body weight times 12, 13 or 14, depending on your current activity level.
- 12 indicates low activity/pretty sedentary lifestyle;
- 13 indicates a moderately active lifestyle with exercise/walking 1-2 times per week;
- and 14 indicates a very active lifestyle with workouts ranging from 3-5 times per week.
The formula will look something like this (I’ll use myself as an example). I weigh 185lbs and am male, obviously.
So, take 185lbs x 14 (high activity) and we get about 2500-2600. This is the amount of calories I need to not lose fat and not gain fat – to “maintain” my current weight.
Also keep in mind that this may have to be adjusted because nobody’s body is an exact machine. You may have to bump up or down based on your body’s response.
Plug your numbers in there to come up with your maintenance calories then simply multiply your maintenance calories by 0.75 to get your daily caloric deficit.
This will net you fat loss of about 1-2lbs per week depending on how much fat you are currently storing.
You don’t want to lose any more than this – so dieting more than 25% will not produce quicker or more desirable results.
This would be a great reason why you want to stick to 1-2lbs per week of fat loss.
After You Become Lean (8-12% body fat for men; 15-25% for women) Begin a Workout Regime
(You can Workout While You’re Leaning Down, Too)
Once you have shed the extra fat you’re carrying, you’ve primed your body to begin realising your weight training’s fullest potential as discussed above. This is when you either work with a trainer or buy one of these workout routines.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is that they do not purchase a program and try to do it on their own.
Once you have begun a workout program you can begin to support muscle gain by eating at a calorie surplus (100-250 calories above your maintenance calories as calculated above).
Begin Eating at a Calorie Surplus of About 10-15%
Once you have gotten lean and begun a weight training routine, you must begin eating at a 10-15% calorie surplus depending on your starting weight and calorie requirements. This will support the best possible muscle gains.
The way you get your calories also plays a role in getting your dream physique. The ideal ratio for weight lifting would be to get 30% of your calories from protein, 50% from carbs and 20% from fat.
This study has proven that the above macronutrient split of carbs, protein and fats best supports those involved in the sport of “bodybuilding” or simply just weight lifting if you are not planning on becoming professional.
Now You are Armed with the Knowledge
to Begin Building Your Dream Physique!
I just want to take the opportunity once again to say a sincere thank-you to those enduring these long articles. I write this content for you guys and to make it accessible.
As you may already be aware of, one of Physique Authority’s key principles is S.E.E. Your Success – which means to help you attain your goal in a Sustainable, Evidence-Based and Enjoyable fashion and that is exactly what I am to do – to get you results that you will be proud of. You can learn more about S.E.E. Your Success in this post.