BODY RECOMPOSITION: WHAT IS IT, AND WHY IS IT SO HARD?
Body composition indicates the amount of fat and fat-free mass (muscle, water and bone) your body has. Evaluating body composition can give a better understanding of health than other screening methods that only factor in weight and height, such as BMI (body mass index). That's because your body fat percentage in relation to your muscle mass better reflects your overall well-being than just weight or BMI.
Body recomposition is manipulating diet and exercise to create a healthier balance of muscle and body fat. The word recomposition means 'to reconstitute or rearrange' (dictionary.com). Therefore, the concept of body recomposition is to rearrange body fat and muscle.
Most people focus only on the scale during a weight-loss period which isn't necessarily the most effective strategy. The problem with using a scale as the only method to track your progress is that most scales don't differentiate between fat loss and muscle loss, which is an important factor in measuring health.
Having too much body fat has been associated with many health issues. It may increase your risk of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease. In contrast, having a healthy ratio of muscle mass to body fat can improve your health while reducing your risk of the above conditions. If done correctly, body recomposition changes the makeup of your body so that you have less fat and more muscle.
Interestingly, favoring body recomposition methods over other weight loss techniques may result in much slower weight loss or no weight loss due to the simultaneous gain in muscle. However, contrary to popular belief, your ratio of muscle to fat is the best indicator of overall health and fitness, not body weight. Plus, increasing muscle mass boosts your resting metabolic rate (RMR), meaning that you will burn more calories while at rest.
Recomposition relies more on measurements than on the scale. Body circumference measurements using a traditional measuring tape and body fat measurements using calipers give you a better overall picture of your progress. Diet and weight training are vital in body recomposition. The scale is just a backup method for tracking purposes.
To lose fat while maintaining or building your physique, it's best to moderately decrease your calories while maintaining a high protein intake and incorporate strength training exercises that build muscle mass. Cardiovascular exercise shouldn't be your mainstay for fat loss. It should be used, however to enhance heart health and overall well-being.
Even though recomposition can be a longer process that requires a strategy and patience, it is more sustainable than simply reducing calories to watch the weight on the scale go down and has many more health benefits that ‘weight loss’ alone. Body recomposition methods can be used by everyone, from elite athletes to those simply looking for a healthy way to get in shape.