Consistency Is Key for Body Composition Changes
Get the most our of your workouts and reach your goals.
The majority of recreational gym-goers spend so much time in the gym for a couple of reasons:
- For the myriad health benefits resistance training offers
- To achieve an improvement in our body composition
Body composition encompasses bone, fat and muscle percentage.
Given there’s not a lot we can do to influence our bone percentage, we’re talking about changing our muscle-to-fat-ratio when referring to body composition changes.
Most of us are shooting for an increase of the former, and a decrease of the latter over time.
There are a couple of key pillars to changes in body composition:
It is crucial that you consume enough protein where resistance training is concerned.
This is true whether you’re actively losing fat, aiming to maintain your current weight, or accepting some fat gain whilst you focus on muscle gain.
Protein’s role is to support muscle protein synthesis, the process by which we repair muscle after exercise - crucial for muscle hypertrophy (muscle gain).
An intake of 1g protein per lb bodyweight is a good place to start, though research indicates that anywhere from 0.8 - 1.2g protein per lb bodyweight would be adequate.
Whilst both protein and total caloric intake are hugely important for body composition changes - too many calories and you’ll not lose fat, too few calories and you’ll not gain weight - nutrition’s role in resistance training is permissive.
You cannot gain appreciable muscle over time if your training is not rigorous and consistent.
Adequate protein intake will help us to maximise training results.
Adequate total calorie intake will help us to maximise training results.
Adequate sleep, rest and stress management will help us to maximise training results…
But ticking all of these boxes won’t matter a bit if your resistance training is not:
Research indicates that we ideally need to be training each muscle group 1-2 times per week , with 10-20 high-effort working sets per muscle group.
In practical terms, this might look like a training frequency of 3-5 times per week, allowing for a minimum of 1-2 rest days per week to allow us to adequately recover from exercise.
So, we can see that the requirements for optimal changes in body composition necessitate regular and consistent efforts.
You don’t need to be training every day - in fact, this would likely hinder your outcomes in the long run - but you do need to be training consistently, and simultaneously eating to support those efforts.
We wouldn’t expect consistent improvements in any other area of life if our efforts weren’t consistent.
We wouldn’t expect to see our savings improving if we were only occasionally, and inconsistently, debiting funds.
Saving rigorously some of the time won’t amount to much if you abandon those efforts and regress to previous spending habits.
We wouldn’t expect to become proficient in speaking a new language if we weren’t regularly investing time practicing that skill. Dipping in and out with no real intention or structure may yield some modest improvement, but you’d be leaving a lot of progress on the table.
Our strategy when pursuing improvements in body composition should be no different.
In order to achieve appreciable body composition changes, consistency is key.
About the author Charlotte Tulloch
Lottie is a UK-based online coach who works with clients all over the world and is passionate about sharing evidence-based content with the view to making the fitness space less of a minefield. Lottie specialises in strength training, improving body composition, and cultivating a balanced approach to exercise and nutrition.