Body Recomposition

Ohhhh she’s using big words today haha ūüėČ

In yesterdays post I mentioned seeing my doctor and that it was one of my two weigh-ins that I typically do in a year.

The cool thing ? It really only ever bounces around a couple pounds in either direction… especially depending on where I am in my training. ¬†I am less concerned today about those numbers than I’ve been in¬† my life. Mainly ’cause I’ve learned there’s way more going on in my body besides what those numbers spit up.

Oh, at one point I was like any other woman when I was needing to lose. I consulted the scale for proof of my efforts for the week. If I’m honest ( and I know you do this too) you do everything the exact way… for me… early morning.. no clothes…hold my breathe… pray for good numbers… like you’re a prize in Vegas or something…..

As I lost weight and eventually got to a place I was comfortable with I became less concerned , not careless, I had just developed a plan that worked for me to keep me in the place I liked. If my small clothes continued to fit comfortably I knew I was where I needed to be.  My exercise was strong, steady, and a sustainable habit so that helped keep me there too.

Those beginning years of my health and fitness journey I was focused on weight loss, learning better nutrition and getting my exercise where it needed to be.

** Ok, and hang with me here. I am my own guinea pig, I have no other person to use as an illustration, although I wanna hear from you guys if you have something to say on this or where you are in process. **

In time though, something interesting began to happen. As my body fat dropped, muscles began to be more obvious that had been hiding under it.

My body started to take on a different shape…leaner… more cut and defined.¬†It wouldn’t be till many years later that I’d learn about something called¬† “body recomposition”.

Basically, it means the way the body is composed. So… recomposition is a restructuring of the body and what’s in it.

In physical fitness it usually means the amount of fat mass and lean muscle mass. Fat mass is literally, all fat in your body. Lean muscle mass means all the other stuff ūüėČ after long periods¬†of¬†( nutrition, exercise and¬† fat loss) you can “recompose” your body ending up with more lean muscle mass than fat. I think it’s a pretty good trade off for hard work, right ?

You WANT more muscle than fat. First of all,  for your health, it looks nicer, and finally it metabolically burns about 6 calories per pound at rest, compared to the 2 calories a pound of fat burns.

It can dramatically change your appearance…¬† and it can also sneak up on you. At least, it’s how it felt to me. None of that was on my mind when I began my journey.

When I hear women say they want to get “toned”, they really mean, they want some muscle because the muscle is what gives shape and that taut look. This happens when body fat drops and muscles that are being built become visible.

It’s a process of intentionally eating well and lifting heavy things, building muscle,¬†and losing body fat that leads to these changes.

.You are¬†essentially, trading fat for more muscle. ** Please note: you can’t turn fat into muscle or muscle into fat. They are¬†complete separate things. **

It’s a slow process that can take years. I think it’s really important when I talk to (women) but it’s the same for men too, I didn’t build this overnight, no one does. ¬†I consider it still an ongoing work in progress.

The danger today is that people want fast, instant gratification on things like weight loss and body change but the reality is, it takes time! I’ve been at it for 7 years now. Remember, in the beginning, I was out to just lose weight. When my body started looking so different from what I was doing, it became an interesting science project to press on with ūüėČ

It’s also interesting to note that in the past couple years, my weight has stayed pretty much within a couple pounds in either direction, yet amazing changes still were taking place. Muscle made me look leaner even though the numbers didn’t drop. I’m no longer really assessed with a BMI but more on body fat percentage. In December I had gotten to about 13%.

Now you….tell me where you are on your own fitness journeys. Have you had body changes after years of persistence? Has it been worth the effort ? What have you learned ?

And finally, I’ll add some photos from the past few years so you can see the changes……

April '10 arms
Dec 2010… one of my first pics to do… I thought I was rocking some serious arms ūüėČ
Jan '10 tummy
Jan 2010….I’m really pretty happy with myself at this point. I’ve been on my journey for 3 years. You can tell my tummy has a little definition but still more than enough body fat… hiding my deeper ab muscles.
Fall of 2011.. leaner… but abs still have a ways to go….
Jan '11
Here come those arms… Jan 2011….way less fat allowing muscle cuts to show
Sept '11
Sept 2011…. a bigger change….
evolving arms 2010/2013
evolving arms 2010/2013
_9938 2
My other professional pic taken for Runners World… this one didn’t get used…this is Sept 2012… the belly has leaned out… some definition showing up
Dec 2014… the front =)
Dec 2014
Dec 2014 back looking pretty defined
Dec 2014
Dec 2014… abs… =)
Leg pic
Dec 2014…. strong legs…lots of muscle

Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014
Moments after the finish of my second marathon Dec 7, 2014

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8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

2 thoughts on “Body Recomposition”

  1. You look so great! I absolutely love your blog, I think it’s my favorite I’ve found! Thank you for putting emphasis that it doesn’t all come off at once because we don’t put it all on at once! I always need to remind myself that. I am very overweight, and have began my journey (that has actually stuck) in late January. I’m really concentrating on toning and gaining muscle while losing weight! So the weight isn’t coming off super fast, about a pound a week, but I’m still trucking along. I’m almost down 20 lbs! It’s SUCH a journey and I tell myself every day that things aren’t going to change overnight!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow… thank you so much! I appreciate your kind words. 20 lbs down is awesome… I remember when I had lost that amount… I felt like I was finally on a roll. Ultimately, over the course of the next couple years, I pecked off 55 lbs. You are doing it right… a pound or two a week…slow and steady.. will keep it off long term. Keep up your workouts and good eating… every day moves you closer to your goals =)

      Liked by 1 person

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