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Losing weight and getting toned is a common fitness goal for many people. Some of the most impressive weight loss transformations you’ve likely seen involve body recompsitions.
Body recompositions (or body recomps) involve gaining muscle and losing fat at the same time. Gaining muscle or losing body fat on their own can be a challenge, doing both at the same time is even more complex.
Many people attempt to do body recomps and stumble along the way by either gaining fat along with their new muscle or burning off fat and muscle. These setbacks often leave people wondering if it’s even possible to simultaneously gain muscle and lose fat.
IFBB Pro Erin Stern is a master at sculpting her physique to leave an impression on the stage. We connected with Erin, to see if it’s possible to do a successful body recomp.
“Yes, absolutely. I’m a 2x Ms. Figure Olympia Champ. I changed my body in 3 years and I’m now competing for the Ms. Bikini Olympia Title. It is possible, it does take patience. There are 4 basic things you need to remember for a successful recomp” - Erin Stern
1. Time Your Meals & Nutrients
You have to make sure that your meals are on point. Get at least 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. I recommend eating at least 4 meals a day, 4-5 meals a day is great. Take your daily protein intake and divide it by 4 or 5, so you’ve got a steady stream of protein coming in. Your carbohydrates are important. You want to cluster your carbohydrate intake pre- and post-workout; those are your two critical meals of the day. Essential fats are necessary, as you become more sedentary throughout the day, gradually increase your fats and decrease your fats.
Protein is the basis of every meal, then you’ve got your carbs and fats. As carbs increase the fats decrease and vice versa.
2. Eat at Maintenance Calories
You want to make sure you’re eating at maintenance. This is going to allow you to gain that muscle and burn fat for fuel. If you’re eating in a caloric surplus you’re going to gain muscle but you’re not going to lose fat. If you’re eating at a caloric deficit you’ll definitely lean out, but you won’t gain any new muscle.
3. Lift Heavy with Compound Movements
You need to lift heavy. When I say lift heavy, I mean come within 1-4 reps of failure. Choose compound movements over isolation movements, this is going to help with fat burning and muscle building. In addition to lifting heavy, you want to make sure you’re lifting those muscle groups that you want to maintain and gain. If you’re only training shoulders once a week and your goal is to grow shoulders, you’re missing out on important gains. Think about training those muscle groups twice a week and even three times a week.
4. Increase Your Steps, Not Your Cardio
Do not do excessive cardio, instead focus on getting those steps in. Cardio can be a quick fix. If you’re looking to get in shape in a few weeks, you can add some cardio in and it’s going to get you great results, but it’s not sustainable. If you’re doing 30 minutes this week, next week you’ll have to do 40 minutes just to get the same results. By focusing on getting your steps per day you’re getting that caloric burn. You can burn between 600 and 1000 calories on average just by keeping your steps high.
“People often ask, is it possible to gain muscle and simultaneously lose fat, the answer is yes, absolutely. By following these four simple steps, you can do it.” - Erin Stern
†Based on sales of all C4® brand products in the U.S.A. from 2014 to the present. ‡When combined with an effective diet and resistance training program, for at least 8 weeks *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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