One of the biggest dreams of every trainee is to know how to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. If you know how to do it, you will make major progress in little to no time.
Shortcut to recomp
In this article, I will provide you with my PROVEN 3-step blueprint, to successful body recompositioning.
But first, let me say this - The ONLY shortcut to faster gains is doing the RIGHT things, in the right way.
In doing so, you will avoid all the mistakes that would otherwise cost time and slow down your gains.
If you want FAST results, combine the following:
- 1Perfect activation
- 2Overload through challenging intensity
By maintaining activation, you will maximize the first component of muscle growth - Mechanical tension.
From then on, once you keep up the intensity and increase it as you progress, you will maximize the other two components of muscle growth - Metabolic stress and Muscle damage.
If you make no mistakes, your gains will start becoming visible in NO TIME.
What exactly is a recomp?
Re-compositioning, also known as "Recomp" is a way to burn fat and build muscle simultaneously.
I almost gave up on posting this article because I know it will cause a lot of controversy.
But hey, I am still willing to share with you exactly HOW I manage to burn fat and build muscle.
"B..But Troy, you have to be in a caloric deficit to lose fat and surplus to gain muscle, there's no way you can do both simultaneously!"
While that is true to a certain extent, it is not that black and white.
A deficit doesn't automatically stop muscle growth.
It just creates a less favorable environment for muscle growth, unlike the surplus, which facilitates muscle building processes better than a deficit does.
MY GAINS OVER THE LAST 2 YEARS
Recently, I compared my DEXA scans from the last two years, to find out I have gained 14 lbs of lean muscle mass, as a fairly experienced lifter.
As a matter of fact, just during the last 6 months, I have gained 6 lbs. of muscle.
More importantly though, I lost 3 lbs. of fat as well.
The dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan is used to determine body composition (bone mass, muscle mass, fat mass, etc.)
HOW AM I DOING THIS?
As you just saw above, 2 years ago I had 153.5 lbs. of lean body mass (LBM).
Note that this is not 168 lbs of pure muscle. Lean body mass (LBM) is every other tissue in the body, except for fat. Including bone mass, organ mass, muscle mass, etc.
Now, as already mentioned, that is a whopping 14 lbs. difference, which is pretty much the equivalent to newbie gains!
I think it would be really beneficial for all of you superhumans, if I discussed EXACTLY how I'm doing this.
So, let's dive into it
The 3-Step recomp Blueprint
Now, what exactly was I doing throughout these two years, which allowed me to get these results?
Well, guys... To be honest... I cycled.
I cycled between aggressive periods of lean bulking and fat loss!
Let us have a look at all the subtleties that helped me optimize fat loss and muscle gaining.
Recomp factor #1 - Not training like a pu$*y
Alright, what is the most important thing I'm doing that allowed me to achieve these results?
Well, first off, training HARD.
Now, I don't mean going batshit crazy at the gym, but rather, optimizing the 3 following variables:
Not training hard enough is the one thing that stops most of you from progressing, granted.
I will spare you all the science about energy systems and types of muscle fibers and instead, give you the ACTIONABLE takeaways from all that science.
Let's have a look.
THE 3 TRAINING VARIABLES
The Intensity Factor
I can't stress this enough - Intensity is one of the KEY elements of your training.
In sports science, intensity represents the weight you are lifting.
The heavier you lift, the bigger the intensity (one rep max is 100% intensity).
Now, when it comes to progressively overloading, one of the most potent stimuli for growth is the increase in working weight (Intensity).
If you squat 200 pounds for 8 repetitions and a workout later, make an effort to squat 205 pounds for 8 repetitions, guess what - You will create a reason for the body to grow muscle, simple as that!
Keeping a workout log is essential for monitoring and adjusting your workout, so you can progressively overload in an optimal manner.
But it doesn't stop there, as you can apply an array of different methods, such as advanced dropsets, advanced supersets, time under tension sets, rest-pause overload sets, cluster sets, etc, etc.
Keeping a workout log to track intensity, volume, rest times and other variables in a workout, is of prime importance for progressing.
The activation factor
Now, though increasing the weight and repetitions is crucial, you must not overdo it.
Weight must be increased in small increments, so that you can grant optimal activation and keep that mechanical tension on the working muscles.
Your progressive overload must not interfere with the proper execution of the exercises.
As you should know by now, in my book, gains are best achieved through proper activation and overload.
If you want to get results as FAST as humanly possible, combine proper activation & maximum intensity possible in the muscle-building rep range (6-12 repetitions)
The Frequency Factor
If you are just starting to workout, burning fat and building muscle at the same time will be even easier for you.
During that "Newbie gains" period, you can reap all the gains by just training every muscle group once a week.
As time goes by and the law of diminishing returns sets in however, you have to up the frequency.
In training, the law of diminishing returns is used to refer to a point at which the level of physical development is not up to par with the effort put in. (Every trainee makes the most substantial gains during the first year)
Once you are an intermediate or advanced trainee, consider implementing periods of higher frequency training, where you work on each muscle group two times per week.
This way, you will open more windows of opportunity for muscle protein synthesis.
On top of that, by splitting ~20 total work sets in two separate workouts, you will do BETTER on each set.
Think about it - If you do 20 sets in a workout, by the time you are done with the 10th set, you will be TOAST!
That is simply because of the fatigue that sets in.
On the other hand, if you do those 20 sets in 2 workouts with 48~72 hours of rest, you will be able to exert much more force on each set.
Once you are past your first 12-18 months of training, it is recommended that you up your training frequency, so that you can hit every muscle twice a week.
recomp factor #2 - Nutrition
So, how to build muscle and burn fat and what is the one most important factor?
Well, I know most of you are not going to like this, but your approach to nutrition is CRUCIAL to how you are going to progress.
Now, for the most part of the year, I loosely track my calories, but there are periods, where I REALLY dial in my shredding and lean bulking calories.
And so, I track a shred for 8 to 12 weeks, depending on my starting point, and my lean bulks, I track for about 12-16 weeks.
The rest of the time, I eat intuitively.
To help everyone reading this, I have created a pretty precise calorie calculator on our website, which will tell you the number of calories you need for ANY goal, with a proximity of ~100 calories.
Of course, eating MUST NOT become an obsession - It is a form of art and something to enjoy, besides its functionalities.
If you track your shredding/lean bulking calories for a couple of weeks, it will become second nature and you won't need to strictly track everything, but rather do it intuitively.
LEAN BULKING CALORIES
As you will see on the calculator, your lean bulking calories must be ~250-500 calories above maintenance level.
This so-called "Caloric surplus" will create the most favorable environment for muscle growth and recovery.
During this period, you should be consuming 1g of protein, 0.35-0.45g of fat (per lb of bodyweight) and the rest of the calories go to carbohydrates.
For reference, my lean bulking calories are about 3,500 and I consume a LOT of carbs as they are the main fuel for resistance training workouts.
For the shredding period, you need to acknowledge that fat loss is best done in a caloric deficit (eating less than maintenance calories).
By consuming less calories than the body requires to maintain its weight, you will allow the organism to tap into its energy reserves - Fat.
For example, when I'm shredding, I consume anywhere from 2,500 to 2,700 calories per day, depending on my starting point and current levels of activity.
This allows me to lose 1-2 lbs of fat per WEEK, without losing ANY muscle mass whatsoever.
It needs to be noted that protein and fat are ESSENTIAL to the body, so you should not create the deficit at the cost of those two (again, 1g of protein and ~0.45g of fats per lb of bodyweight)
Instead, cut out as many carbs as needed, to create a deficit of ~500 calories per day.
A good rule of thumb when shredding is to consume 1g of protein and 1g of carbs per lb of bodyweight with 1 higher and 1 lower carb day. 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24092765
recomp factor #3 - Lifestyle
If you have been wondering how to build muscle and burn fat, this might be the missing link.
You may be training well and eating good food, but what is the lifestyle you lead out of the gym? And does it compliment the rest of your efforts?
Let's talk about water, sleep, stress and supplements.
Water & sleep
Pretty much the ONLY things that I drink year-round are water, coconut water and coffee.
I don't drink milk, processed sugar drinks, frappucinos and any other BS I know everyone has been borderline addicted to at one point.
Stay away from those and just hydrate your body. It is more than 70% water, so make sure to maintain that!
Many people pay too much attention to protein fats and carbs.
But ain't nobody talking about the importance of vitamins, electrolytes and other micronutrients.
Those are CRUCIAL for the body and especially for recovery from heavy workouts.
Sleep has to be at a minimum of 7 hours a day, and may even go up to 9-10 hours if you are on a heavily demanding regimen.
If there was ONE thing to blame and label as the "Gains killer" it would for sure be stress.
Now, why does stress even exist?
Well, though the 21st century is the SAFEST period of the ENTIRE human history, it has not always been like that.
The stress response was the body's way to overcome danger in the past, when our ancestors were living in the open woods.
Stress is essentially equal to survival (you might have heard of the fight or flight response, that is pure stress).
However, nowadays the risk of death by predation is slim to none.
The stress primarily comes from daily activities, family and other relationships.
For me personally, as I was bringing up Alpha Lion and SuperhumanYOU during the past years, there was a LOT of extra stress around work!
However, I did not let it consume me and I became mindful of it. This is why I was able to still progress in the gym over the years.
Stress hinders the growth & recovery of the organism and also, brings overall disharmony. This is why, stress management is CRUCIAL to gains and overall wellbeing.
The last but not least important part of the "how to build muscle and burn fat" equation, is your supplement stack.
In the quick-paced, modern-day lifestyle, we sometimes don't have time to consume good food.
This is why things like protein and micronutrients might be in a deficit.
Below is my full, personal supplement stack that helps me perform like a beast in and out of the gym.
Alright, let's break down this stack real quick.
First off, we have the whey isolate, which helps facilitate recovery, even when I'm busy around work on my companies. This supplement is a perfect meal-replacement that will help me keep up the protein synthesis.
Secondly, we have Jet Gains, which is a post-workout, creatine-based fuel. Creatine is the body's secondary energy reserve, so maximizing the size of those reserves helps me perform better in the gym.
Third product in the stack is the Gain-O-Rade, a product abundant of vital electrolytes and essential amino acids.
This helps me get over the muscle soreness quicker and get back to the gym in no time.
Then, we have Alpha Dreams - This product helps me maximize my gains even when I'm asleep. With an abundance of zinc and magnesium, my body and its nervous system function properly, 24/7, 365.
Last but not least, I use Superhuman Pre-workout 3 to 5 times a week, to boost my performance in the gym.
This last supplement, I recommend taking just a couple of times per week, to avoid having your adrenal glands fatigued and stimulant receptors sharp.
So, how do you build muscle and burn fat?
Well, if you want to see the FASTEST results humanly possible, you MUST take care of optimizing your training, eating and overall lifestyle.
You can't half-ass it and expect perfect results.
I personally try and go for aggressive periods of muscle building and shredding.
However, I also do phases of recompositioning (this is when I lose fat and gain muscle simultaneously).
As I want EVERYONE to be able to achieve similar or even better results, I have created 3 Balloon-method training programs.
These were designed to help you achieve AMAZING results, whatever your goal is.
To get the best program though, we recommend you take our Superhuman QUIZ.
The quiz will give you insight on your current level of fitness and direct you to the next best step.
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
Now I’m on a mission to transform as many lives as possible and I’m so excited you found us!
I’ve been fortunate enough to train alongside and pick the brain of some of the best pro athletes, bodybuilders and trainers in the world – and this site represents over 15+ years of insights from the world’s best.
Want more gains? Here are a few suggested actions:
Head over to the world’s largest exercise database for a wide variety of unique exercises for every muscle group
Visit our Youtube Channel where you can watch Balloon Method™ workouts for Every Muscle Group.
Check out Alpha Lion so you can learn more about 1 of the fastest growing fitness lifestyle companies in the world and stack up on the best science-backed supplements.
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