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Secrets of Body Recomposition: 6 Principles for Lifelong Results

Body recomposition is the process of lowering your body fat while increasing muscle mass, resulting no net change in your body weight. There are many paths to achieving this, but understanding the common themes will help to make the process as efficient and sustainable as possible. 

The following six principles will ensure your body "recomp" is a success.

1. Use the concepts of "metabolic momentum" and "inertia" to achieve and maintain results with less effort

  • Metabolic momentum describes the state of change in your physiology that requires a relatively large effort to initiate but minimal effort to continue. Metabolic momentum also requires a large effort to reverse. This can work in your favor or against it.

Short-term example: If you want to reduce body fat, training first thing in the morning is something that creates momentum that leads to a higher metabolic rate for the rest of the day. This also improves the mood, helping you to be more productive and make better decisions for the rest of the day.

Long-term example: If you train 4-5 days per week consistently for 6 months, your body becomes conditioned to that exercise frequency and it requires less mental and physical effort to maintain this routine going forward than it took at the inception. From a diet perspective, reducing excess calories and carbs for a month helps to reset your appetite and reduce your cravings for carbs, which will improve your insulin sensitivity and make eating appropriate portion sizes more natural.

Additionally, as you begin to see results, your enthusiasm and commitment to the regimen increases, helping you to ingrain these new habits, perpetuating the cycle of positive results.

  • Metabolic Inertia describes the characteristics of your physiology that make changing its current state difficult. This makes maintaining results require less effort, but also makes it tougher to initiate change.


  1.  Building muscle mass creates metabolic inertia. The muscle mass raises your resting metabolic rate so that it becomes easier to maintain appropriate body fat levels.
  2. Eating a balanced, diversified diet over the course of a year fortifies your immune system and 

Having a social group that meets up for active gatherings (hiking, biking, recreational sports, workouts) makes the habit of being active more “sticky” and you’ll be more likely to maintain them

2. A strong immune system is paramount for building muscle mass

  • Your body’s number one priority is to stay alive! So it’s no wonder immunity is a reflection of the health of all of your body’s systems.

Building muscle mass is a metabolically "expensive" task for your body. If you are constantly fighting off infections your body won’t the have the energy or resources to put towards building muscle mass. 

Doing the basics such as staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating a varied, nutrient-dense diet, and staying generally active will help keep your immune system strong.

3. Distinguish between intense, short-term interventions and long-term habit changes

  • Intense, short-term interventions can produce rapid changes but are costly in the form of physical effort, time, resources, or a combination of the three. Long-term habits changes are sustainable, but take longer to produce results. Short-term interventions must be succeeded by long-term habits so that progress can be maintained and continued.

Short-term intervention: A 30-day program designed to add 5lbs of muscle mass is a short-term intervention.

Long-term change: Getting an extra hour of sleep per night for someone who had been chronically sleep-deprived is a long-term habit change that will provide a larger benefit over the long run.

4. Make sure you are embarking on making a change for your own reasons

  • While a short-term goal can be a great motivator (photoshoot, wedding), what reasons do you have for deciding to make a change long-term? Would you still want to change or improve, even if no one else found out?

Body recomposition can result in more energy, better mood, less fatigue, improved endurance, less health concerns. What benefits are important to you?

5. Diet, Exercise, Environment, and Mindset are all equally important for your progress

  • Any one of these being out of balance will hinder your progress. Find out which element is your weakest link and work on improving that.

Its natural to want to ignore your weaknesses and focus on your strengths, but the best progress is made when you improve your limiting factors.

6. Don't waste time trying to find the perfect recomposition training program or diet

  • There are many successful paths  to improving your health and physique. There's no such thing as the "perfect" program, so it's best to just get started with any sound program and make adjustments as needed.

As long as a training program involves a reasonable intensity, frequency, and volume, it will produce results. Only athletes need to be concerned with specific training regimens. Free weight training, calisthenics, recreational sports, outdoor activities, endurance sports and more can all be part of an effective training program. No need to limit yourself to the gym!

Similarly, a balanced diet can be obtained from a vast number of different foods. What matters is that the diet fills all of your nutritional needs. Eating fresh, seasonal foods whenever possible is preferred, along with foods preserved via traditional methods such as fermentation, dehydration, smoking, pickling, etc.

A simple rule of thumb is that high intensity activity demands more protein and high volume activity demands more carbohydrates. Relatively high intensity activities include moderate to heavy weight training, challenging calisthenics, sprint and power type sports, heavy manual labor (moving furniture, heavy wheel barrows). Examples of high volume activities include a long hike, a 20-mile bike ride, and high-rep circuit training.

Body recomposition is about making  holistic changes that result in long-term improvement in your health and physique. Keep the previous guidelines in mind and you should only need to "recomp" once! 

Do you have any strategies that have worked for you? Share your experiences in the comments!

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