Trading Fat for Muscle
protein is the key!

Body recomposition is the simultaneous process of losing fat and building muscle. It’s the Holy Grail of looking fit, feeling great, staying healthy, and living longer. There was once a longstanding debate about whether or not this type of body recomposition was achievable, but research is clear now that it is, absolutely, possible. This is especially true for people early in their fitness journey.

That being said, it’s not easy to successfully exchange fat for muscle. Losing fat requires a high activity level, eating fewer calories, or a mixture of both. Adding lean tissue to your body requires optimal training and ideally enough nutrients to encourage your body to adapt to the stimulus you are exposing it to. So why does it make sense to put emphasis on protein in your diet when body recomposition is the goal? Simply put, it takes twice as many calories for your body to break down and absorb protein compared to the other macronutrients. Eating more protein will cost more energy, so you could likely get away with eating slightly more total food during the day. Anecdotally, protein is known as the most satiating macronutrient, so you don’t have to suffer the hunger associated with a structured diet quite as much.

Plenty of protein will also give your body the anabolic drive to rebuild, repair, and grow your muscles in response to strength training. In summary, a protein-heavy diet will allow you to eat more food in a caloric deficit, keep you fuller while you’re dieting, all while giving you the building blocks to maximize the lean tissue you add to your frame. I’d recommend shooting for around 1gram per pound of body weight.

            The good news is that getting both the quality and quantity of protein you need, without cooking, or mixing or any hassle whatsoever, is easier than ever given the line of Lean Body ready-to-drink products. A couple of swallows and you are 40 grams richer in fortified, high-quality, bioavailable protein. They are small, transportable, quick, and delicious – and better yet they help satisfy food cravings that could tempt us to eat other foods that are higher in calories and have less of a positive metabolic effect. Also as an alternative, you can check on the Lean Body Plant-Based Ready-to-Drink Protein shake which has 30g of protein and is free of artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners.

What About Carbs and Fats?
When dieting, some people recommend cutting carbs and others suggest reducing fat intake. Fat is the most calorie-dense macronutrient, so avoiding fats can reduce your total calorie-consumed number pretty quickly. Eating carbohydrates causes an insulin spike in your body, and insulin, while anabolic, is responsible for inhibiting the fat-burning process. Ultimately, an individual’s choice to eat fewer carbs or fewer fats will come down to preference, genes, and trial and error. Just be sure to keep protein high!

Whether you want to keep carbs high during your cut or not, I’d recommend saving your biggest carb meal for after training. For many people, proteins and fats will be most appropriate early in the day and before training, as these macronutrients give your brain what it needs to be sharp and focused (from a neurochemical point of view). After training, a carb-heavy meal will cause an insulin spike, which is anabolic and will help you recover and relax. And if carbs tend to make you sleepy, or at least help you relax, that’s a good thing.

In conclusion, if you’re aiming for body recomposition like many of the rest of us, utilize a high protein diet and be intentional about when you consume each of the big three macronutrients throughout the day. You can also try using a calorie counter, particularly early on in your diet, to maximize consistency and to track the macronutrients you consume day to day. Good luck!

About the Author: Brett Deters

Brett is a second-year medical school student who has been training and living a fit lifestyle his entire life. He holds an advanced belt in Brazilian Jiu Jiutsu and has been published multiple times in scientific, peer reviewed journals. Brett is the son of former editor-in-chief of Muscle & Fitness magazine, Dr. Tom Deters.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and is not meant as medical advice, nor is it to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before starting or changing your diet or exercise program. Any use of this information is at the sole discretion and responsibility of the user.