The process of building muscle while losing fat is known as body recomposition or recomp. While not impossible, body recomp is difficult because of caloric intake. Losing fat often means consuming fewer calories, while building muscle requires a caloric surplus.
How Your Body Burns Fat
Fat, or adipose tissue, is found throughout your body. Men tend to hold their fat cells around the abdomen, chest, and buttocks. In women, fat centers around the breasts, waist, hips, and buttocks.
White fat – is the more common form of fat and plays a role in insulation, metabolism, and cushioning the joints and organs.
Brown fat – is more common in babies (though adults still have a small amount of brown fat) and is primarily used in thermogenesis, or producing heat.
The human body is constantly using energy, even when you’re not eating. If you are exercising or not absorbing energy from food, your body uses stored carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for energy. Carbohydrates are the first to be broken down into glucose—your body’s main source of energy—through the process of glycogenolysis. Once you have expended your stored carbohydrate, your body turns to the fat in your body, breaking fatty acids down into glucose.
Your weight depends on the rate at which you store energy, in the form of carbs or fat, and the rate at which your body can expend that energy.
How You Grow Muscle
During rest periods between workouts, your body fuses damaged muscle fibers together to form strands of proteins called myofibrils. These repaired or new myofibrils increase in quantity and thickness for muscle growth, a process known as muscle hypertrophy. Satellite cells add more nuclei to your muscle cells, contributing to the growth of myofibrils.
Muscle hypertrophy can only happen with proper nutrition, caloric intake, and rest. Without those elements, you may reverse the process of muscle growth and protein synthesis. Remember, after carbohydrates and fats, your body will break down proteins for energy, potentially leading to muscle degradation.
The dietary requirements for losing weight and gaining muscle are often in conflict, but many people may find success in calorie cycling. Many diets include some form of calorie cycling, from fasting to carb loading. Research suggests that the best way to cycle your diet for body recomposition is to consume more calories on days that you lift and to eat at a slight caloric deficit on days you don’t, including rest days and workouts that only comprise cardio.
The amount of calories you consume during lift days is known as maintenance calories because it is the number of calories needed to maintain your weight. Maintenance calories should provide enough nutrition and energy to encourage muscle hypertrophy when you train, while the slight caloric deficit ensures gradual fat loss. Calculate your maintenance calories using online tools. For a rough estimate of your maintenance calories, multiply your weight by 14 and 17. This gives you a general range of how many calories you need to maintain your current weight.
An alternative or addition to calorie cycling is supplements that operate through various physiological mechanisms to increase strength and muscle mass while supporting weight loss via thermogenics or appetite suppression. MYOKEM™ offers workout supplements to help you build muscle and lose fat, including Thyrovate™ and Alphadex™.