Calculators

Body Recomposition Calculator

By Ted KallmyerUpdated February 15, 2024

Discover the perfect calorie and macro amounts for body recomp with our customizable calculator.

Age

Biological Sex

Current Weight

Height

Formula ?

Exercise

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

Additional Weekly Calories Burned ?

Recomposition Goal ?

More Fat Loss
Even
More Muscle Gain

🏋🏼‍♀️ TRAINING DAYS

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat

💤 REST DAYS

Carbohydrate
Protein
Fat
🔥 Get faster results! and make body recomp simple with our Thrive Coaching System. Help from a coach, expert recomp macro calculations, group coaching sessions, custom meal plans, and so much more.💪

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 simultaneously.

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

There is ample research-backed evidence showing it is entirely achievable. However, 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.
  • 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 must 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 – muscle recovery can happen anytime.

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. Three 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, use Factor Meals, which has consistent 500-550 calorie meals. These can form the basis of daily meals, and you can then add in protein shakes 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.

Step 7: Measure results

Rather than using basic scales, use an advanced scale system like FitTrack. This gives far more precise body recomp metrics.

How long does it take to recompose your body?

5 steps to achieve body recomposition

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 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 daily, use the default option.

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

You can account for the extra calories if you do over three weight training sessions a week.

  • 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 to 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
    The default is 0.95 grams protein/lb (~2 g / kg) of body weight. Plant-based is 0.65 g/lb.
  7. Calculate the fat amount.
    Calculate fat at 30% of daily calories.
  8. Calculate the 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 the 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?
View article sources

Sources

  • 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

273 Comments

  • Mya 6 months ago

    I am 5’2, 127 lbs with 26 body fat. I want to be 115 lean. Is walking 10k steps 4 times a week too much cardio to lose fat? On top of 4 strength training days?

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

      Hi Mya, It shouldn’t be as long as your nutrition/ macros are dialed in. If you need help doing that, reach out.

      Reply
    • Leon Pyett 6 months ago

      Is it normal for my weight to go up a little on my rest days when I’m taking in fewer calories?

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

        Hi Leon, It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate up and down and this happens to everyone. On rest days you’re probably dealing with the fluid retention that occurs as your muscles are repairing and rebuilding.

        Reply
  • Anthony Coiro 6 months ago

    Hello Ted Kallmyer, I am looking to make a real change in my life after having been morbidly obese for the past 7 years. I would like to get down to a nice lean 90 kg I’m 30 years old, currently weigh 99 kg, and am 180 CM tall, and I do exercise every day in the gym doing 10k steps of cardio daily and at least 20 minutes of strength training. I realise this workout pattern doesn’t sound ideal given the gamut of cardio.

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

      Hi Anthony, Great job so far getting to a healthy weight. It seems like one thing to do would be to increase strength training and let up on the cardio on the days you do. For example, do 60 minutes of strength training with a 10 minute cardio warm up. On days you don’t strength train you can do more cardio. Also don’t be afraid to take a rest day every now and then.

      Reply
  • Isabel Lopez 6 months ago

    Hi Ted! Thank you so much for this incredibly thorough resource, I feel so much more empowered going into my body recomp journey. I’m 154 cm, 66.15 kg, 31.5% body fat. The calculator is suggesting 1787 calories for training days & 1381 on rest days. Should I aim for a lower intake given that I want to prioritize fat loss or would that impede muscle growth? Also, what is a realistic timeline to expect a 6% body fat decrease with three 1hr strength training sessions a week?
    Thanks so much!

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

      Hi Isabel, You are so welcome! I would recommend skewing things more towards fat loss in the beginning. Perhaps shave off 100 calories to start and go from there. You should aim for about 1 pound of fat loss per week so that would probably be 2-3 months to see a 6% reduction.

      Reply
  • Jack 6 months ago

    Hi, I’m a 6ft male, 150lbs and looking to start a body recomposition phase. I play football twice a week, workout in the gym 4/5 times a week & aim for 10,000 steps a day. Please could you advise how many calories to aim for in a slight deficit & what macro split would be best to follow?

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

      Hi Jack, if you want more fine tuned calculations other than what the calculator gives you consider my Body Recomp program with the personal calculations option. That way I can get your nutrition dialed in for you. https://healthyeater.com/macro-recomp

      Reply
    • valerie 6 months ago

      Female. 5’5″ 59yrs. Large frame. 160 lbs.
      Waist 25. hips 42. Good muscle tone.
      Soft fat hip area. (Hanging fat)
      What should my ideal weight be?
      Ideal BMI?
      How to get rid of hanging fat?

      Reply
      • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 5 months ago

        Hi Valerie, Ideal weight can depend on several factors but I suggest you shoot for 10 pounds and then see how you look and feel. I would also recommend heading over to my maco calculator so that you can determine the number of calories to eat and the amount of carbs, fat, and protein to shoot for each day to ensure the fat loss happens in a healthy and sustainable way.

        Reply
  • Nahom Debela 6 months ago

    Hello, I am 5’4, 25 years old, 137 lbs, and according to my Enerplex scale I am 12.2 % body fat, I think I look more like 15%. I want to reach 10% body fat. I currently eat on average 1870 calories a day. 2000 on training days (4 days), 1700 on rest days (3 days). I get 140-150g protein a day, and 60-70g fat and the rest Carbs. I do 250 calories worth of cycling every day and play light basketball about twice a week. Am I eating too low? I want to continue this level of Cardio.

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

      Hi Nahom, The best thing to do would be to start adding or subtracting a small amount from what you’re doing now based on what your data is telling you. If you aren’t losing any fat, then subtract a little (100 calories) if you’re losing fat but not gaining any muscle then add a little. Assess about every two weeks.

      Reply
  • Eva 6 months ago

    Heyy..So I’ve been starting my weight loss journey and stopping..I find it very hard to stay consistent but recently I’ve been consistent. My goal is to lose fat especially in my middle section and my arms..and build muscle too..build my glutes and my legs..but this calculator gave me 2,000+ Calories to consume for body recomposition and that seems like a lot😂I need help please

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

      Hi Eva, Great job on your consistency! You probably want to focus more on fat loss so my macro calculator is probably a better resource to get you started and then after you’ve leaned out a bit, switch over to this one.
      Macro Calculator

      Reply
  • Alex 6 months ago

    Hello! I have been doing hiit classes 4-6 times a week(orange theory) for the past 6 months and have dropped from 200lbs to 145 and 50% body fat to 33%. I have been eating about 1500 calories during this time and taking in a bunch of protein (around 140 grams). I have only slightly increased my muscle mass by a few pounds. I am now going to start strength training at a gym 4 times a week along with 2 hiit classes. I put my information in the calculator and it says I should be eating about 1900 on training days and 1450 on rest days which feels like a lot of food. My main goal is lose fat and also gain muscle but right now I am more focused on losing fat first. Do these calories feel accurate?

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

      Hi Alex, I’m not sure of your other stats but 1500 was pretty low on OT days so eating more will be better in the wrong run. You can gradually start eating more which can be good since you’ve been in a big calorie deficit for awhile now.

      Reply
  • EVSIM 6 months ago

    I am Evsim and I am 14 years old that weighs
    88.185 Pounds and my height is 160.5 With a body fat percentage of 6.8 and I want to know if I can recomp. My goal is to have a Lean and Aesthetic body please someone help me.

    Reply
  • Kaylee 7 months ago

    I am trying to gain more muscle and become leaner. I currently weight 148 and I am 5’6. My body fat is 26.6% I go to a cycle workout class that incorporates bike, weight lifting, and hitt exercise. I work out 3x a week on average for an hr. I am trying to figure out what I need to eat to reach my goal.

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

      Hi Kaylee, I think the key for you will be eating more on your workout days and less on your rest days. You’ll also need to be in a slight deficit.

      Reply
  • Laura 7 months ago

    Hi Ted! Love the calculator. I’ve lost quite a bit of weight over the last year (~75lbs) and have incorporated strength training along the way to avoid losing too much muscle. My % body fat has dropped a ton (43% to 28%) and I’m interested in doing a more rigorous recomp and to focus on building more muscle. However, I have type 2 diabetes and have been limiting daily carbs (<100g/d). Any references you could point me towards on recomp strategies for diabetics? Would prefer to avoid going too high on carbs. Thanks!!

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 7 months ago

      Hi Laura, Nice work on your efforts so far! You should be able to keep your carbs where they are at and simply increase fat for extra energy. Make sure you focus on healthy fats as you add more to your diet.

      Reply
  • Jocelyn 7 months ago

    Hi Ted! Thank you so much for this awesome resource. I just have a question. I’m 29 years old female, 5 ft even, 148.8 lbs (overweight), with 34% body fat (according to smart scale). I just started strength training 4x/week with 15 min cardio warm-up. I chose the more fat loss option. Calculator says to eat 1741 cal on workout days and 1346 cal on off days. Is this accurate for me? As much as I want to eat that much, I’m afraid I won’t lose fat.

    Reply
    • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 7 months ago

      Hi Jocelyn, Glad you find it useful. Since you are at 34% body fat you probably want to focus on fat loss a little more than this calculator recommends. Deduct 100 calories from both sets and start with that.

      Reply
  • Ryan 7 months ago

    Hey there! I’ve been using the Macro Calculator you all developed for the past couple of years and have dropped my weight/body fat from ~190lbs to ~145-150lbs / 21-22% body fat to 14-15% body fat. I am also 5’9″. I routinely do 4 days/week of weight training (~60mins) and 2 days cardio (run/mountain and road bike), 1 day rest.

    While I have lost weight, my muscle mass has remained steady (albeit more defined, veins visible now). Should I continue to keep “cutting” down to a lower weight then to begin a “body recomp”, or start that now and maintain my weight? Currently my protein intake is roughly 100g/day. What weight/body fat percentage is recommended to start a body recomp? Thank you very much! (this is a lot, sorry).

    Reply
    • Ryan 7 months ago

      Actually, body fat decrease from 24% to 14%

      Reply
      • Ryan 7 months ago

        I would also like to continue the 4 days of lifting, and 2 cardio as I want to improve on my run/bike times. How do I chose whether to do a body recomp, or continue to use the macro calculator but with maybe choosing the 1g/body weight “maximum” level instead? If the latter, what % calorie deficit/surplus should I put in? Goal is to lose fat and gain muscle. Each workout day varies in how many calories I burn, thus why I liked using the macro calculator and adjusting macros daily. Thank you!!

        Reply
        • Ted Kallmyer (Certified Macro Coach) 7 months ago

          Hi Ryan, Nice work and I’m so glad the macro calculator helped you. Your body fat is probably visibly lower if you’re using a step on or body scan type of assessment. So I think it’s time to gain some muscle. Increase your protein to 150 g on your training days and add in 150 calories. Assess after two weeks and go from there.

          Reply

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