Original Design: Michelle G. Thibault
Re-design: Ryan McTeigue
Looking to achieve a sharp and well-defined physique? If you want to get ripped, have rock-hard abs, and the like, you need to be lean all over — usually under 12% body fat if you're male and below 16% body fat if you're female (and not pregnant!). And if you’re thinking that countless hours of cardio and hundreds of reps of crunches will do the trick, spoiler alert - It Wont! Lets instead looks into the science of body re-composition, because you know we love science here at Elite Sarms - and no we aren’t talking bro science, we are talking medical publications and physically applied principles by our body research team - training and trialing new systems daily to bring you this practical content. Stay with us on this one, its longer than usual but it’s totally worth it if you want to look your best in 2021 and beyond.
Body recomposition presents unique challenges, but it mainly comes down to how you incorporate the goal into your lifestyle. We are talking about; the right nutrition, an intelligent and sufficient to your goals supplementation program, a consistent training regimen and a focused mind with a clearly defined end-state. This will allow the body to undergo the bio-scientific transformation where it burns fat and builds muscle at the same time - a feat only achievable with the correct training and nutrition principles applied.
This guide will outline a piece of the science, pinpoint common traps, and outline the no-nonsense techniques behind effective Re-comping to help you get started on the right path.
How the Human Body Works
During physical training, the body’s main source of fuel is sourced from muscle glycogen. Glycogen is the carbohydrate stored in skeletal muscle which produces ATP production that powers up your muscles to do the work during physical exercise - in particular, resistance training.
As you training sessions increase in intensity (which should be your goal each training session given you are in full health and full immunity), your muscles utilise the glycogen and generate lactic acid and hydrogen (H+) ions as by-products. When the lactic acid and H+ ions build up, the pH of the blood around the muscles drop creating an acidic environment that prevents the muscles from contracting further. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘reaching failure’, where you have to stop between sets, just enough to allow these by-products to be metabolised.
As you progress with regular training throughout the week, your muscles eventually become depleted of muscle glycogen. Also keep in mind that over time of high intensity exercise and resistance training, your body accumulates cortisol, a hormone that is secreted in response to physical stress. Cortisol is mainly catabolic, meaning it is a muscle-destroying hormone.
Glycogen depletion plus prolonged exposure to excess cortisol levels equals fatigue and muscle loss. If that’s the case, you might think, what’s the use of having a consistent training routine? That’s just half of the story, because it is where the role of Nutrition and Good Supplementation comes into the equation. The reason not everyone who hits the gym can achieve the goal of burning fat and building muscle is because this balancing act of muscle building and muscle breakdown, along with cortisol rising and cortisol falling is always happening throughout each training session with intensity. It’s knowing these factors and balancing them with tact that will help one reach this god-like state ;)
A Tactical Approach
A portion of our daily carbohydrates intake is allotted to the resupply of this muscle glycogen. The question remains: What type of carbs are directed into muscle tissues to be stored as glycogen? And what carbs just contribute to gaining fat?
Complex carbohydrates, when ingested and metabolised, gives a much larger ration of glucose molecules to muscle tissues to be stored as glycogen - we are talking sweet potatoes, basmati rice, oats, more examples later.… While simple and refined sugars are absorbed very quickly into the blood stream, with excess amounts being stored into fat cells. Starchy vegetables are great in replenishing glycogen stores because they are not only rich in complex carbohydrates; they also contain a lot of fiber. I will discuss in a minute why this is important.
Complex carbohydrates refer mainly to starchy vegetables such as: Squash, yucca, taro root, and yams. A half-cup (64 grams), cooked serving of any of these veggies offers 15 grams of complex starch carbohydrates. Your digestive tract will quickly convert the starch into glucose to fuel the muscles and subsequently the body, and deposit the rest as glycogen in the muscle just trained.
The high fiber content results in an even slower rise in blood glucose and insulin levels, an effect that can last for hours after eating. Research shows that lower blood insulin levels are associated with greater oxidation of fatty acids during exercise and reduced degradation of muscle glycogen-- both important factors in fat burning and muscle building.
It is noteworthy to say that after strenuous exercise that depletes the body’s fuel stores, early intake of carbohydrate is essential because it provides an immediate source of replenishment to the muscle, while also taking advantage of the increased insulin sensitivity to drive the carbs into skeletal muscle. If you were to have a daily cheat meal - scientifically speaking directly after an intense resistance training session would be the best time to have it, as the muscles are hanging for a source of carbohydrate to replenish the used up glycogen, a simple sugar will supply that need very fast and effectively, just don’t go overboard or you’ll store the extra sugar as fat! You’ll have to experiment with your own body to find your perfect post-workout carb feed to know what is best for YOU!
The big challenge in Body Re-comping is the individual requires a restricted or calorie-deficit diet to induce a fat-burning state, while sustaining the body’s strength and conditioning for a consistent workout routine and capacity to gain muscle mass. Unless one goes on a calorie maintenance daily intake and uses a product such as Decavar (MK2866), Stanazine (S4) or Hyper Lean (SR9009) - these are all great Re-composition tools to put in your supplement arsenal to be successful in your re-composition mission.
Optimising Advanced Scientific Supplementation
If you find it tough to eat below your daily caloric requirement, maximising the benefits of proper supplementation may just be your lifesaver as far as re-comping goes.
These supplements will not only facilitate fat loss, they are also designed toward directing glucose particles to fuel and develop muscle tissues instead of your food intake being converted into fat deposits. Cardarine GW-0742 is a PPAR-δ agonist, which regulates fat oxidation, ultimately used in gluconeogenesis, which in turn promotes skeletal muscle growth.
Supplements that improve Insulin Sensitivity are a vital component in the body transformation mission. Magnesium is a proven natural insulin sensitizer, efficiently improving insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Alpha Lipoic Acid is another supplement to further research for insulin sensitisation. ALA is an important antioxidant that lowers triglyceride (fat) accumulation in skeletal muscle by activating AMPK to optimize insulin function and enhance nutrient storage.
Another factor to focus on for body recomping is to increase your metabolic rate by facilitating the pathways the body use to burn calories. Supplements such as Hyperlean SR9009 prevents the storage of fat tissue by improving glucose and fatty acid oxidation to support skeletal muscle development. This REV-ERB α and β agonist fires up your metabolic rate to break down fatty deposits while simultaneously increasing lean muscle bulk. And this peoples is part I of Body Re-composition and direct application into your lifestyle regime. Take it onboard and physically apply it, or don’t either way you now know Part I of Elite Sarms re-comping science.
Stay tuned for next weeks conclusion about the story of your body…….
In part 2 of this article, we will explore:
1. The Art and Science of Carb Cycling
2. Carb Cycling on Motivation and Other Benefits
3. How to Use your Cheat Meals to Burn fat
4. The 2-type Carbohydrate Protocol
5. Exercise Intensity and Volume during a Recomp