Recomping and exercise are so important because without them the weight lost from dieting could be 22-46% muscle depending on your initial body composition and rate of weight loss [1-4]!
...with no exercise and too little protein, muscle LOSS could spike to 60-80% if one is sleep-deprived and/or psychologically stressed [5-7].
Perhaps worst of all, if you lose muscle on a diet and then gain the weight back it may result in something utterly terrible called a Fat Overshoot [8, 9].
A Fat Overshoot is where you potentially gain more fat than you originally had to get back to your original level of muscle.
Furthermore, Fat Overshoots may compound with multiple diets and in this singular term lies one of the greatest dangers of weight cycling or Yo-Yo Dieting without exercise.
Whereas with Recomping, because we are gaining muscle mass while simultaneously shredding body fat we potentially don’t get the more prototypical downsides of weight loss:
- Muscle loss
- A decrease in resting metabolic rate
- An increase in muscular efficiency (muscles burn fewer calories for the same amount of work)
- The potential dreaded Fat Overshoot.
If you take a look at the results above instead of the more prototypical weight loss scenario of losing 1 to 2 pounds of muscle for every 3 to 4 pounds of fat and putting themselves at increased risk for weight regain this person is gaining muscle while losing body fat.
This is ethical weight loss and it's why we focus on Recomping and muscle instead of just overall weight lost.
1. Heymsfield, S.B., et al., Weight loss composition is one-fourth fat-free mass: a critical review and critique of this widely cited rule. Obes Rev, 2014. 15(4): p. 310-21.
2. Cava, E., N.C. Yeat, and B. Mittendorfer, Preserving Healthy Muscle during Weight Loss. Adv Nutr, 2017. 8(3): p. 511-519.
3. Ardavani, A., et al., The Effects of Very Low Energy Diets and Low Energy Diets with Exercise Training on Skeletal Muscle Mass: A Narrative Review. Adv Ther, 2021. 38(1): p. 149-163.
4. Roth, C., L. Rettenmaier, and M. Behringer, High-Protein Energy-Restriction: Effects on Body Composition, Contractile Properties, Mood, and Sleep in Active Young College Students. Front Sports Act Living, 2021. 3: p. 683327.
5. Wang, X., et al., Influence of sleep restriction on weight loss outcomes associated with caloric restriction. Sleep, 2018. 41(5).
6. Nedeltcheva, A.V., et al., Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity. Ann Intern Med, 2010. 153(7): p. 435-41.
7. Flechtner-Mors, M., et al., Effects of moderate consumption of white wine on weight loss in overweight and obese subjects. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 2004. 28(11): p. 1420-6.
8. Dulloo, A.G., J.L. Miles-Chan, and Y. Schutz, Collateral fattening in body composition autoregulation: its determinants and significance for obesity predisposition. Eur J Clin Nutr, 2018. 72(5): p. 657-664.
9. Dulloo, A.G., et al., How dieting makes the lean fatter: from a perspective of body composition autoregulation through adipostats and proteinstats awaiting discovery. Obes Rev, 2015. 16 Suppl 1: p. 25-35.