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To Recomp or Not to Recomp?

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  • To Recomp or Not to Recomp?

    Hey folks,

    Apologies in advance for the classic newbie question.

    I'm about to start the Beginner Template and I'm just looking for some input as to what my calories/macros should look like.

    Sex: Male
    Age: 33
    Height: 5'11"/181cm
    Weight: 184lb/83.4kg
    BMI: 25.3 (overweight)
    Waist: 38in (letting it all hang out). The scales 'estimate' that I'm ~20% BF but I realise there's a margin for error there.
    Training History: Very inconsistent, hence the Beginner Template. My numbers are so dismal that I won't even bother posting them. Suffice to say, I'd be classified as a novice/beginner.

    As you can probably tell, I'm sort of stuck in the old 'skinny-fat' quandary. I'm soft around the edges with not a whole lot of muscle mass to work with.

    I've read Jordan's TBAB article and my query is whether I should try for the coveted recomp, focus more on getting my waist measurement down and possibly compromise some initial strength/muscle gains in the process or (unlikely as it may be) just focus on building an initial foundation of strength/muscle and then worry about fat loss afterwards.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Hello Moriendi.

    I'd suggest a maintenance or a slight cut at this point, depending on how soon you want to lose fat and waist circumference. Since losing fat is relatively quicker than gaining muscle, you'll notice it easily and stay motivated. By the time you're at the end of the template (after 3-6 months), you'll be in great shape . And you'll definitely continue to make strength gains in the program even on a cut.

    As for estimating your TDEE, you can use the NIH bodyweight planner (, Harris-Benedict or Katch-McArdle equations. You might have to play around for a week or two to gauge your TDEE more accurately.

    From there I'd ensure that you do the following:

    - Eat a min of 1.6g/kg bw/day of protein, spaced out throughout the day.
    - Aim for 30-40g fibre, so lots of vegetables and fruits (and perhaps oats, whole grains etc).
    - Fill the rest of the Calories with carbs/fats to your preference (but avoid extremes like keto).

    I'd also track some data like:

    - Weighing yourself every day, at around the same time with the same clothes, and watch the trend of your median weekly weight.
    - Measure waist circumference weekly (when this goes down but weight didn't, you know you're on the right track). You can take more body measurements if you want to, like the arms, butt, thighs etc.

    For info on other aspects of general wellness, take a look at this article:

    All the best!


    • #3
      Thanks for the tips. Much appreciated.

      After I made my initial post, I went back and reread TBAB and was sort of leaning in the direction you suggested so it's nice to know that I wasn't completely off-beam.

      I'll probably start by dialling in my maintenance calories and then just wait and see how my body reacts to a consistent diet and training stimulus. I can't honestly remember a time where I did both in conjunction for any extended period.

      Who knows? Maybe I'll have some sweet before-and-after pics at the end.

      Or some numbers that aren't completely embarrassing at the very least.



      • #4
        Awesome. Looking forward to it!