So you have already started tracking macros and weight training for a week or more. Sometimes you feel that you are on top of the world, but sometimes you get confused when you notice weight gain.
Since I said that weight doesn’t say anything, that leaves us uncertain. You can’t tell whether you had gained muscle or the opposite, gain fat. If this sound familiar to you, you are in the right place.
In this blog post, I will provide you with ways to measure your progress, as well as explain how do different signs indicate a different situation that might be happening to you.
Continue reading to find out!
Three Things to Take Into Account
There are three things that you can always refer to when measuring your recomp progress.
Your weight could not tell exactly how much fat or muscle you have. However, when we look at all the three factors together throughout time, we can have a clear picture of how the body works against the current training and nutrition.
When you gain weight, keep in mind that this could be both muscle and fat gain at the same time. The difference is just whether which of them accumulate a larger percentage.
However, in recomp, it is possible to minimize fat gain while gaining muscle. Therefore the most common weight progression in recomp would be in a steady-state or just with a slight change.
By looking at your weight changes, you can make sure that you aren’t in an extreme deficit or surplus. If you notice high changes in your weight, hat’s a great indication you are going overbroad.
The waist measurement is the best indicator that whether you had gained fat or vice versa. This is because the abdomen is the part that first accumulates fat, and also the last part to lose fat. The waist measurement is the most simple way to know that whether you had gained extra fat.
I usually recommended everyone who starts recomp measure their waist measurement every week. Even if you found weighting yourself something unnecessary, then you at least measure your waist.
If you found your waist measurement had increased, even your weight had decreased, you are gaining fat. Same as the opposite, when your waist measurement gets smaller, you probably had lost fat.
You followed the progressive overload by adding loads throughout the time, and you found yourself stronger in the gym. This is a good sign for strength gain, as well as muscle.
When you provide enough stimulus to the muscle group. The muscle tissue will rebuild and accommodate more muscle fibre into that muscle group, as a result of your strength+muscle gain.
However, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily obvious from the appearance. You need to know that building visible muscle takes time. Therefore instead of looking at the appearance, observing how you perform in the gym is much more clearer.
The Recomp Progress Chart
What you need to know
Don’t always shift things up
Some of us like to shift the entire thing up when we found things doesn’t go well as we expected. This is always because we have high expectations of body recomp. And we start questioning our current diet or training plan. Eventually ended up trying another diet plan.
I know this often happens especially when you take a few days off or just back from a vacation. That’s happening to me too, I often like to change programs as I think that will make my progress skyrocket because my holidays’ meals had just ‘ruined’ my recomp progress.
As you know, body fat fluctuates all the time due to lifestyle changes. Some of them occur temporary and will soon fade if we train well and eat well. Taking your time to reflect back on what had you done, or just simply return to your normal training and eat properly would ease the issue.
Take a few rest days if you lose strength
Sometimes when we notice we lose strength, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we had lost muscle mass. Take your time to observe what is the cause for it.
For me, this is often because I had overtrained or doesn’t eat enough carbs. In this case, I will take a few days rest and feed myself with some good quality carbs, just to make sure I have sufficient energy to perform better in the next workout. That often brings me some unexpected great results.
Don’t be haunted by subtle change
During the recomp phase, I often feels worried when I found my waist had increased by a few centimetres within a week. That is how I feel when I am still new to body recomp, and I feel a great discomfort from everything that could happen to me.
However I need to tell you, sometimes it doesn’t as worst as you think.
As I said, you need to track your progress every week. But that doesn’t mean you need to take immediate action every time. The aim here is just to make you more aware of how your body responds to new training and diet adjustment.
The guides above are just some measurements to tell you what might happen. These are the possible prediction and you need to take time for observation. If the situation persists, then that’s the time you really take action against that specific problem.
What does increase your calories mean?
Not protein, but carbs!
For those who found they had lost weight, the solution that I stated in the table above is ‘increasing calories‘.
You might wonder which macronutrient food that you need to increase? Protein? Or the overall calories? Or fat because it will turn our body into keto mode?
I believe that these are the answer that most people come to mind. But my answer is…None of these.
The nutrition that you need to increase is carb. It is unessesary to increase protein or fat if you already meet the daily requirement according on your body weight.
As long as protein is sufficient for you (2.2 per kg of bodyweight) It is good enough to keep your muscle mass and help for muscle building. So as fat. In this case, adding in more protein or fat would do no different, instead, it can cause some burden for your body. The reason you had to lose weight is that your body needs more energy than you currently eating, Needless to say, carbs are the best source of energy for you.
That’s all for my blog post today, as I said our body is complicated and sometimes we can’t measure it merely just by numbers.
This data is a guide for you, to let you have some control over your training and diet to maximize your results. However, everything takes time and you would eventually figure out the way that works best for you.