Body Recomposition Calculator
Discover the perfect calorie and macro amounts for body recomp – with a 30-second calculation.
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:
- Have three weight training sessions per week.
- Minimum of 30 minutes per session.
- Focus on compound movements.
For example, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups (or lat pull-downs) – rather than bicep curls, etc.
- Rest only 30-60 seconds between sets (i.e., leave your phone at home).
- 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.
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
- Apply the Mifflin-St Jeor equation to calculate your basal metabolic rate.
- If you know your body fat percentage, use the Katch-Mcardle formula.
- Multiply BMR by 1.2 to get your maintenance calories.
- Adjust the calorie amount for training days based on the goal:
+20 % for more muscle gain and +10% for more fat loss.
- Adjust calorie amount for rest days based on the goal:
-5% for more muscle gain, -15% for more fat loss.
- Calculate protein amount
0.95 grams protein / lb (~2 g / kg) of body weight is the default. Plant-based is 0.65 g/lb.
- Calculate fat amount.
Calculate fat at 30% of daily calories.
- 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?
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- 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