Calculators

Body Recomposition Calculator

By Ted KallmyerUpdated September 12, 2022
Body recomposition calculator

Discover the perfect calorie and macro amounts for body recomp – with a 30-second calculation.

Age

Biological Sex

Current Weight

Height

Formula ?

Exercise

3 weight training sessions per week (minimum duration 30 minutes).

Additional Weekly Calories ?

Recomposition Goal ?

More Fat Loss
Even
More Muscle Gain

🏋🏼‍♀️ TRAINING DAYS

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat

💤 REST DAYS

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat

Adjust Meals Per Day

Adjust Protein Amount

What is body recomposition?

Body recomposition is the process of improving your body composition by increasing muscle mass and decreasing fat mass simultaneously.

Favorable body composition has many health benefits and improves athletic performance.

There is ample research-backed evidence showing it is entirely achievable. So believe it!

It requires a commitment to weight training and a nutrition plan.

How to do a body recomposition

Step 1: Enter your details into the calculator

If you know your body fat percentage (calculate here), choose Lean Mass Formula and input your percentage.

The lean mass method yields better results than weight and height alone.

Step 2: Choose your recomposition goal

  • If you choose More Fat Loss, there will be less muscle gain.
  • If you choose More Muscle Gain, there will be more muscle gain, but probably some fat gain as well.
  • If you choose Even – it’s a compromise between the two.

Step 3: Take note of your calories and macros

The calculator will recommend your daily calorie and macro amounts. If you’re new to macros, you’ll need to get up to speed.

You will be told how much carb, protein, and fat you need to eat daily. You can adjust this to show per meal to help you get an idea.

It’s best to eat more on workout days (the increased carbs fuel your workouts) and less on non-workout days. Protein remains relatively constant throughout – as muscle recovery can be happening at any time.

Step 4: Stick to a consistent workout routine.

Consistent workouts are not optional for body recomposition.

Your workouts must be resistance-based, not cardio-based. Do weight-bearing exercises rather than running or walking.

As a basis, we recommend this:

  1. Have three weight training sessions per week.
  2. Minimum of 30 minutes per session.
  3. Focus on compound movements.
    For example, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups (or lat pull-downs) – rather than bicep curls, etc.
  4. Rest only 30-60 seconds between sets (i.e., leave your phone at home).
  5. 3 sets per exercise, 8-15 reps per set.

Step 5: Track your macros

For the maximum chance of success, you will want to track your macros.

This can be tricky.

If you’ve got the budget for it, use Factor Meals who have consistent 500-550 calorie meals. These can form the basis daily meals, you can then add in protein shakes, etc, to meet the required calorie amount.

Step 6: Get enough sleep

It might seem odd, but let’s quote the research:

Sleep deprivation […] seems to create an “anti” body recomposition environment, where building muscle mass and losing FM [fat mass] would be less likely.

Enough said.

5 steps to achieve body recomposition

How long does it take to recompose your body?

We recommend a minimum of 8 weeks.

Take measurements (fat skinfold tests, photos, etc.) weekly. You can weigh yourself – but that won’t tell you anything about your body composition.

Depending on your results, you will want to adjust your settings.

If you need help, Coach Ted has helped hundreds achieve their goals.

How much protein should I choose?

  • The default option (high) is best.
  • Maximum is only for those who are doing longer, more intense weight lifting workouts.
  • Plant-based protein is set lower: It’s challenging to meet the protein macro without carbs and fats getting too high. If you are vegetarian or vegan, and okay with 1-2 protein shakes per day, then use the default option.

If do extra workouts, do I need to account for the calories?

If you are doing over and above 3 weight training sessions a week, you can account for the extra calories.

  • Track your extra calories over a week.
  • Be conservative (i.e. don’t overestimate).
  • Enter them into the “Additional Weekly Calories”.

The additional energy expenditure will be allocated into the overall weekly algorithm.

If you need help, use the calorie burn calculator. Remember you are looking for extra calories expended over a week.

How many calories should I eat a day for a body recomposition?

There is no one-size-fits-all here. Calories and macros for body recomposition are highly individualized.

Your biological sex, height, weight, and activity level will predict your daily energy expenditure. By making minor adjustments to this, you can begin the process of gaining muscle while losing fat mass.

The technical bits – how to calculate calories for body recomp

  1. Apply the Mifflin-St Jeor equation to calculate your basal metabolic rate.
  2. If you know your body fat percentage, use the Katch-Mcardle formula.
  3. Multiply BMR by 1.2 to get your maintenance calories.
  4. Adjust the calorie amount for training days based on the goal:
    +20 % for more muscle gain and +10% for more fat loss.
  5. Adjust calorie amount for rest days based on the goal:
    -5% for more muscle gain, -15% for more fat loss.
  6. Calculate protein amount
    0.95 grams protein / lb (~2 g / kg) of body weight is the default. Plant-based is 0.65 g/lb.
  7. Calculate fat amount.
    Calculate fat at 30% of daily calories.
  8. Calculate carb amount.
    All remaining calories are allocated to carbs.

Yes 🤓. That’s why we made a calculator.

Is this the same as the macro calculator?

No, there are many differences.

The standard macro calculator is aimed at people wanting to lose weight, and exercise is optional.

There are differences in both the calorie calculation step and macro calculation step.

How much cardio for a body recomposition?

The traditional bodybuilding method involves a ‘bulk’ phase (lots of calories + heavy weights), followed by a ‘cutting’ phase (reduced calories + lots of cardio).

Body recomposition is a different process. Cardio alone (such as steady-state running or walking for 20 mins+) won’t increase muscle mass.

You should keep cardio to a minimum. However, it’s good for the heart and mental health, so don’t give up going for bike rides or walks if this is your thing.

It’s a good idea to account for the extra energy expenditure from cardio.

If you burn a lot of calories through cardio, you will not achieve the desired body recomp results. You are not doing a body recomposition!

Help! I’m not getting the desired results

  • I’m gaining some muscle but not losing fat
    Adjust calories down lower.
  • If your goal is Even, change it to More Fat Loss.
  • Are you eating more on workout days? And less on non-workout days?

Accelerate Your Diet and Fitness Goals with My Macro Solution System

Step-by-step self-guided program -or- fully customized personal macros coaching. Feel exhilarated as you conquer your goals!

MACRO COUNTING

  • 130 page step-by-step guide.
  • Achieve fat loss without starvation.
  • Individually tailored to your body composition.

Learn More

References

References

  • Barakat, C., Pearson, J., Escalante, G., Campbell, B., & De Souza, E. O. (2020). Body recomposition: can trained individuals build muscle and lose fat at the same time?. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 42(5), 7-21. (full text)
  • Ribeiro, A. S., Pereira, L. C., Schoenfeld, B. J., Nunes, J. P., Kassiano, W., Nabuco, H. C., ... & Cyrino, E. S. (2022). Moderate and Higher Protein Intakes Promote Superior Body Recomposition in Older Women Performing Resistance Training. Medicine and science in sports and exercise.Link

52 Comments

  • MAUREEN RICHARDS 6 days ago

    I’m 42yo, 5’5”, 137lbs, and weight lift 5-6 days a week. I want to lose belly fat and gain weight. I’m very muscular/toned but I can’t get rid of my belly. I need serious help. I’d like to continue to gain weight, my goal is 150lbs. Gaining weight for me isn’t easy (hard gainer) but I put in the work and have to keep at it to maintain it. What would be my best option?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 6 days ago

      Hi Maureen, That can be a tad tricky because if you are in a calorie surplus, you won’t get rid of the belly fat. This would be a matter of fine tuning your nutrition to get rid of the belly fat while providing a enough for some small gains. Once you lose the belly fat then slowly increase things to zero in on increased lean gains.

      Reply
  • Clive Nelmes 2 weeks ago

    Hi, I do weight training 4 to 5 times week each an hour long or a little more. How much more extra calories would this be or how would I work this out. Can you help me please

    Reply
    • James (Moderator) 2 weeks ago

      I would add 500 calories to the Additional Weekly Calories field to account for the extra energy expenditure. It’s challenging estimating calories, but the calculator will take this, and give you your eating estimate for your workout days.

      This will ensure you have plenty of energy to have a good workout.

      Reply
      • Clive Nelmes 2 weeks ago

        Cheers James thanks for the help

        Reply
  • Nilsa Rodriguez 3 weeks ago

    Hi! My name is Nilsa. Over and beyond COVID I lost 63 lbs. I am 5.2 in height. I now weigh 150. I’m about to start recomp. I have a lot of belly fat and back fat. I barely am able to eat 1800 calories a day and am afraid of eating more. I found a good beginner workout split. 3 days resistance – cardio and abs the other two days. My cardio is very low impact walks to and from my job. About 3 miles per way. That’s all the cardio I’ll do other than intense rowing for 19 minutes once a week. I want MUSCLE. I want bad ass thick legs – they’re so skinny now. My back fat hangs above the waist and sticks out of my pants. I need to be rid of that. Giving myself a year to see what I want to see and continue beyond this as a lifestyle. Do you think my particular goals are possible with focus mostly on high protein and this beginner split focusing on progressive overload? Oh my goodness please help.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 3 weeks ago

      Hi Nilsa, Great job on your success so far! That’s amazing! I think you should keep going with a 20% calorie deficit (lose on the calculator) for a little while longer and focus on fat loss. You should still be able to build some strength/muscle at those levels as well. If you need help getting everything dialed in please see my coaching options or my Macro Solution program and I can provide more robust help.

      Reply
      • Nilsa Rodriguez 2 weeks ago

        Thank you so very much for your response. One last question. Would you say that staying on deficit and losing more weight should be done until I reach like 10 lbs more loss and then recomp ? How much more worthy should I lose before changing over to gaining more muscle ? Goal is looking amazing by next year. This time and beyond.

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 2 weeks ago

          Hi Nilsa, Yes, typically recomp can be started when your within 10 pounds of your goal weight. That sounds like a realistic timeline too!

          Reply
  • James Morrison 3 weeks ago

    Hello,

    I first wanted to say that your calculator is amazing! I am confused though about how the calculator handles fat. In step 7 of your explanation on how the calculator works, you say the fat percentage is 25% of total calories. When I input my information into the calculator, fat is 30% of my total calories. Am I missing something?

    Thanks for this calculator!

    Reply
    • James (Moderator) 3 weeks ago

      Good spotting. It’s a typo on the page. It is indeed 30%.

      Reply
  • Sonia 1 month ago

    Hello,
    I am at my heaviest since having my 5th child 9 years ago!!. I am self motivated for a time but have a partner who likes to eat and is a great cook. I know if I have a plan set out I can stick to it. So I have copied out a plan and will use the results from your macro calculator to set my calorie(food) choices. I’m very glD i found your page-which ive saved to my desktop.
    Thankyou Jam3s

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 1 month ago

      Hi Sonia, I wish you all the best on your journey towards better health and I’m so glad my site’s been helpful. Reach out if you have any questions.

      Reply
  • Kelly 1 month ago

    Hi. I’m really excited to use this re-comp calculator. I get between 10-12K steps per day – not a strolling pace, but not speed walking either. I do a lap or two around my building mid-day, get random steps throughout the rest of the day, and the evening a do 4-5K of steps that are more intentional (not fast, but faster than the rest of the day – and sometimes during those walks I’ll jog a little bit just to get my heart pumping for a few minutes – maybe 5 min bursts at a time). Should I account for these evening laps as extra exercise? I also do the three lifting workouts during the week – pbly about 40 min each.

    Reply
    • James (Moderator) 1 month ago

      Hi Kelly, I recently came across a small study that concluded around 150 calories were burned by 10k steps. So I would add that into the calculator.
      Ref: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/14038190903214530

      Reply
    • James (Moderator) 1 month ago

      Just to clarify – if you were doing that walk 5 days a week (that’s a lot of walking 😀) this would total 750 calories into the calculator (5×150). The calculator then accounts for this across all your daily calories.

      Reply
      • Kelly 1 month ago

        Thank you so much, James. Actually, my calorie count is higher – about 230-250 for the evening walks I do. I don’t usually count the walks during the day b/c they’re not really fast. But, I do those evening walks 6-7 days per week, so I’ll start counting those calories in. Should I just average that number out for a regular week?

        Reply
        • James (Moderator) 1 month ago

          Just remember that most trackers tend to overestimate calorie burn, so go for an average – but on the conservative side. The goal here is to make sure you are eating enough to fuel those workouts, keep the metabolism ticking over, but not too much.

          Reply
  • Leon 2 months ago

    Hello, thanks for all the advice, Im on my way but I have an important question for myself. Im following the more fat% loss and it recomended me to eat 2150 calories on workout days. But because my workout is twice as long and im also sometimes going biking the same day I always try to calculate the burned calories and add them but I dont know if these 500-600 calories I burn on my 60-90 minute workout should be added ontop of the 2150 calories or just the recomended 30 minutes or if I should just not add them at all

    Reply
    • James (Moderator) 2 months ago

      The calculator has been improved to allow additional calorie burn. It’s important to get a conservative estimate for the extra calories over the whole week.

      A typical weight training workout is around 100-200 calories in a 30-minute session.

      For your situation, if you are doing 3 long workouts a week + biking. This looks like an additional ~400 calories on each workout day. With 3 a week, this is 1200 calories. Enter this into the calculator, and the algorithm will adjust your workout and rest day calorie accordingly.

      Bear in mind that too much cardio can undermine recomp results.

      Reply
  • Leon L Pyett 2 months ago

    Do you have any advice as to how I should approach the next day if I’m three into the recomp but ended having a cheat day? Should I lower my calories the next day or just continue as planned?

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 2 months ago

      Hi Leon, The best method is to get right back to your normal plan the following day. Consistency over time is the most important aspect.

      Reply