Lose fat, gain muscle. Known as “body recomposition”, many people believe this is impossible or reserved for a small percentage of people. But that’s not entirely true. Most people can definitely build muscle and lose fat at the same time. With the right nutrition and training plan, you can actually signal your body to use its existing fat stores as energy towards building muscle, and as a result, achieve body recomp. So, how do we do it? Well, there are 3 steps to a successful recomp, starting with nutrition.

Click below for a step-by-step plan to build muscle and lose fat:

Although you’ll want to be in a calorie deficit to stimulate fat loss, the calorie deficit you use shouldn’t be as aggressive as it would be during a typical dieting phase. As for what that sweet spot is, a 2021 meta-analysis suggests a deficit of between 300 to 500 calories. That said, the data is from subjects following standard fitness programs employed in research studies, which usually aren’t the most ideal programs for muscle building. So with the optimized training plan I’ll show you later, it’s very possible you’ll be able to build muscle even in a 500-calorie deficit and beyond. However, based on this data, if you want to maximize your odds of being able to recomp, it’s likely that a slight deficit of around 200-300 calories is best.

Click below to use the body recomp calorie calculator:

Next, protein: eat too little protein, and your body will start to look for it elsewhere, such as your existing muscle mass. As for how much to eat to counteract this for successful body recomposition, I think it’s pretty safe to say that you will be pretty close to maximizing growth potential at about 0.8 g/lb BW. And if you really want to be on the safe side, bump it up to 1 g/lb BW. 

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So the next step is to pair your nutrition plan with a training plan designed to force your muscles to grow. Research suggests that both lighter weights and heavier weights can work. But this does heavily depend on one factor: effort. You need to take each of your sets at least within 3 reps short of failure. And this brings me to an important point I want to make. There really isn’t a “special” body recomp training plan. It’s about doing the basics and doing them well. And to make sure you don’t sabotage all the work you put into your nutrition and training, try to get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. 

Alright now that we’ve covered how to lose fat and gain muscle, let’s discuss the most important part: who body recomposition is best suited for and whether or not it’s actually worth your time pursuing. So there are 3 main groups of people best suited for body recomp: beginners, those who’re de-trained, and those who’ve been just “going through the motions”. But even if you do fall into one of those groups, note that you cannot be too lean. I’d say around 15% body fat for males and at least 22% for females is a good minimum.

But is trying to build muscle and lose fat at the same time worth your time? First off, if you're someone who’s pretty lean or has been training both hard and consistently for at least 6 months, then you’re probably going to have a harder time trying to recomp. Secondly, even if you are likely to recomp, you should also consider what your main goal is right now. I know you want both, but what’s truly more important to you right now — building muscle or losing fat? For example, while you might end up building a little muscle during a recomp, most research suggests that a surplus or “lean bulk” is likely superior. And if your main goal is to lose fat, then a slightly more aggressive deficit would definitely lead to more fat loss with the possibility that you’ll still be able to gain a bit of muscle. 

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And perhaps just as important, we as humans like to see things go in the right direction. During a recomp, results can be slow, and your body weight doesn’t really help indicate whether things are going in the right direction. So you’ll have to rely on other metrics like small differences in progress photos, strength in the gym, how your clothes are fitting, and tracking your waist circumference over time. Without proper guidance, this can be a lot more difficult to navigate than a traditional bulk or cut where the scale and quicker body changes can lead the way. That said, I do think for some people it’s worth a shot. Just always remember that proper nutrition and hard, consistent training is what matters the most. Optimize that, and it’s very likely you’ll be able to recomp to some extent regardless of the exact approach you use.

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22 thoughts on “How to Build Muscle WHILE Losing Fat (New Research)”
  1. This video came at the right time for me, I just made a diet where I eat around 2000 kcal a day, 200 grams of protein and I have been feeling pretty good. Also because my school holiday has started I have more time to focus on sleep. I made a mesocycle of 8 weeks where I focus on strength training and do endurance training and agility training once a week. I’m doing a sports study at school and have been implementing what I have learned this past year and after this video I am feeling extra good about my diet and training.

    1. Hey man, can I ask what you’re eating to get the protein in without going over 2k calories? I’m on the same boat as you, getting bored of the protein powder and chicken breasts

    2. ​@PolishGameRPL-fv8xg fish, yogurt, turkey breast, chicken breast, egg whites, and protein powder have all been staples for me. You could try to find some meal recipes that use protein powder or make a salad, etc. Lots of different meals you can make out of this stuff.

    3. @PolishGameR2328 I’m sorry friend but chicken and shakes are just neccesary in the process. I do however also eat oatmeal, eggs, kwark (quark?? It translates to cottage cheese I guess but I always thought it was a type of yoghurt, it has alot of protein and low calories).

  2. This is basically what i have been doing slowly the last few months, at about 31% body fat and dropping. Started at 35%. I figured i could get down to 20% before having to change my approach. Glad to see research that confirms my observations.

  3. With aiming for 10-20 sets per week per major muscle group, what is considered the major muscle groups? Is it like “legs, arms, shoulders, chest, back” or more specific? Would quads and hamstrings be 2 different major muscle groups? Bicep and tricep?
    I’m trying to make sure I’m not over the 20 set mark each week. For example, right now I’m doing 12 sets per week on quads and 15 for glues/hams.

  4. An important question about sleep if someone can explain pls: Does the time of ur sleep counts as much as the hours of ur sleep? For example is it the same if i sleep at 3:00 am and wake up at 1:00 pm while I can sleep at 12:00 am and wake up at 10:00 am??

    1. Many fitness people have made videos on this. To summarize: it’s better if you hit the bed early and then wake up early. Especially once you get older.

  5. I can’t remember the last time I sleep 7 hours+ through the night, falling asleep is easy staying asleep is the problem. I’ve tried so many things and so far for the past 30 plus years I have not been able to get a good night sleep.

    1. 2 Night Shred, 450 mg Magnesium, 4 oz Tart Cherry Juice — works for me for best sleep ever. Comments welcome.

  6. Sleep really has changed my body. I had hit a wall and didn’t know what to do. Long story short, I finally accepted that ok to train for aesthetic reasons and set a goal. There was just no way around it. Not getting a enough sleep was hurting me. Now getting 7+ hours every night isn’t possible for me, but I do aim to get make what sleep I get quality. I don’t always get the amount of protein I need, but the protein I do get is good quality. Normally from eggs and peanut butter. I do a scoop or 2 of protein a day. It’s been a process,but learned so much. Create you a baseline, set a goal, scale your workouts when needed, and have fun.

  7. Can you make a video on how to gain muscle without gaining fat? Like how to bulk and gain as little as fat as possible

  8. If im an advanced lifter around 15-20% bodyfat can i gain muscle at a maintence so i can be sure that im not gaining fat or i need to be on a small bulk to build muscle?

  9. I haven’t seen a video from Jeremy in a few weeks/months. I am pleasantly surprised how far his videos have progressed in terms of graphics, info layout, and just overall quality. This channel is doing a great job!

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