Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss

Weekend Q&A: Body Recomp vs. Bikini or Physique Competition Calories, Macros, and Metabolism

January 27, 2024 Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer
Wits & Weights | Nutrition, Lifting, Muscle, Metabolism, & Fat Loss
Weekend Q&A: Body Recomp vs. Bikini or Physique Competition Calories, Macros, and Metabolism
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Show Notes Transcript

What nutrients are essential for life and can only be found in animal products?

The question we're answering is:

"Bikini competitions? What is your take on those?

I had a coach who competes frequently on bikini competitions. I thought about doing one but then saw what she was doing. Two hours of fasted cardio a day. She also instructed to cut carbs to a minimum like 50g at the most. I think this would make miserable. She said there is no way I can recomp my body if I eat too many carbs. She said I can do five days no carbs then two with 150g or so. Why? She also recommended bunch of supplements. Like BCAAs and Fat Burners. I am not down for that. I only take creatine.

My goal is to recomp my body. After having seven pregnancies and four kids, I feel this is a big challenge for me. It is my biggest goal and I want to do it in a sustainable way. Is she right? I can’t recomp my body without cutting carbs? Also, I was eating on a deficit for a too long at 1500 cals because that’s what my coach insisted. I am now eating 1900-2000 a day. I intent to stay here for at least six months before deciding to cut that low ever again."

Find out in today's Weekend Q&A bonus episode.

Mentioned in the episode:

MacroFactor app – use code WITSANDWEIGHTS to extend your free trial to two weeks (and support me and this show!)



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This is a special Weekend Q&A edition of the Wits & Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays with an answer to one burning question so YOU can put it into action this weekend.

These questions are taken from the weekly #AskPhilip thread in our free Wits & Weights Facebook community. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let’s be honest, MISinformation online and just want a straight up answer without the jargon, that’s what this free service is for.

With the weekly #AskPhilip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique, individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you’d like to experience it yourself, I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits & Weights Facebook group. It’s totally free and you’ll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

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Speaker 1:

How should you track and set your calories and macros if your goal is body recomposition versus something more extreme like a physique sport or bikini competition? Find out on today's weekend Q&A bonus episode. Welcome to the Wits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, philip Pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self-mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science-backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Hello and welcome to the special weekend Q&A edition of the Wits and Weights podcast, where we supercharge your Saturdays and Sundays with an answer to one burning question so you can put it into action this weekend. These questions are taken from the weekly Ask Philip thread in our free Wits and Weights Facebook community. If you're feeling overwhelmed by the endless amount of information and, let's be honest, misinformation online, and just want a straight-up answer without the jargon, that's what this free service is for. With the weekly Ask Philip thread, you can post a specific question relevant to your unique individual situation that week and have it answered live by me on Friday. If you'd like to experience it yourself. I invite you to use the link in the show notes to join the Wits and Weights Facebook group. It's totally free and you'll quickly find out what a positive and supportive community it is.

Speaker 1:

With that, let's get to today's Q&A. Her question is about bikini competitions, and I did post a question like a hand-raiser question in the group not long ago today, asking if anybody in the group currently or previously competed in bikini, because I know we have some. I know some of you by name, in fact, but I don't want to call you out. I'd like you to raise your hand, and the purpose of that is I want to be able to connect people who have that experience, because I'm going to say right now I don't work with competitors. I haven't worked with them. Maybe I could in the future, but I'm not a competitor. I'm nowhere near where I would need to be to compete in a physique competition. I'm a 43-year-old guy who's come a long way in four years, who's learned a ton about this and have been able to help a ton of people do the same and vastly improve their health, their fitness, their physique, absolutely Body recomposition, all that. But for me, it's about sustainability and the long game. It's not about the short game I want you to think of a bikini competition. It's just. Bodybuilding is what it is. It's an extreme physique sport. It is not a lifestyle. It's an extreme physique sport with a temporary, single-day goal to pose to have a particular amount of muscle definition and an extreme low level of body fat that you are not going to maintain. I'm going to read your question. You sure is just in that context and I still think I can provide some helpful information here for you.

Speaker 1:

I had a coach who competes frequently in bikini competitions. I thought about doing one, but then saw what she was doing and this is extremely common Two hours of fasted cardio day. She cut carbs to like 50 grams at the most. I think this would make me miserable. She said there's no way I can recomp my body if I eat too many carbs. She said I can do five days no carbs in two with 150 or so. Why? She also recommended a bunch of supplements, pcas, fat burns. I'm not down for that.

Speaker 1:

I'm going to address these one by one, but just let's keep going. My goal is to recomp my body, build muscle, lose fat. Most of us want to do here After having seven pregnancies and four kids. Congratulations Awesome, that's amazing. I feel this is a big challenge for me. It is my biggest goal and I want it to do it in a sustainable way. Is she right? I can't recomp my body without cutting carbs. Also, I was eating on a deficit for too long at 1500 calories, because that's my coach insisted. I'm now eating 1900 to 2000 a day. I intend to stay here for at least six months.

Speaker 1:

I see so many red flags here. I'm going to address them. So many red flags and I think you are aware of them as well in the way you've ordered the question. I'm tracking using MacroFactor the first time and love it Absolutely. Everybody who does finds that it's a game changer. Here's before and after. No, this is not postpartum. My youngest baby's eight. This was nine months ago at 146 and now I'm at 135. The weight doesn't bother me, I just want to look like I lift. I'm very active as I teach dance at my gym three times a week and I hit 8 to 10,000 steps a day. You're an inspiration. Right now I'm telling you this is incredible. I mean, you obviously are working hard at it and already on the road to what you are trying to achieve, and it sounds like you're enjoying the process.

Speaker 1:

So let's address these one by one. First of all, a coach who competes isn't always the best coach. I'm just going to say that A coach who's good at training and lifting and competing may not be the best coach. So always take any what anybody says with the green salt right. You got to look at you know, have they worked with people who have achieved what you want to achieve? And then you can maybe talk to those other clients of theirs and find out what their experience was like. Right, that's just you know. Just like you can talk to my clients, I can refer you to clients. You can see other people in the group who've posted about their experience with me. I thought about doing one solo shoot. Okay.

Speaker 1:

So two hours of fasted cardio day cutting carbs, da-da-da-da. Here's the thing if you want to be in a big eating competition, you've got to get to an extreme low level of body fat, which means you're going to be on very, very low calories, on a decent deficit. Not a huge deficit, but you're going to be in a decent deficit for a long time and as it gets, as you get leaner and leaner, it's going to get harder and harder and your body's probably going to adapt more and more and your metabolism is going to keep dropping to where you are on such low calories. But you have to keep the protein high to maintain as much muscle mass as possible that the carbs are going to be low. So when you say 50 grams of carbs, yeah, actually that sounds about right, like for most women, at the calories you are, unless you've been training for years and have a lot more muscle mass, you're going to be down at really low calories 50, 40, 30 grams of carbs, because you have to have that high level of protein, like around one gram per pound or maybe 0.8. And then a some essential level of fat at least 10 to 15 grams of fat, probably maybe just 10 if you're really pushing it, and then the rest is carbs, it doesn't leave much for it. So you are going to be on very low carb for a long time.

Speaker 1:

Now the low carbs have nothing to do with it. In other words, the recomp of your body has nothing to do with carbs. It has to do with calories, right, and keeping the protein high, and so by definition, you only have so many carbs to work with. So the way she's communicating. This is backward. Like you can eat as many carbs as you want, as long as the calories are fine and you're not going, you can still recomp your body, but if the protein is low or the calories are too high, you can't. So you see why it's all interconnected.

Speaker 1:

When she said, do five days no carbs and two with 150 grams, she's talking about calorie cycling, which again the evidence and the experience shows you don't have to do that. Some people find that when they're on extremely low calories they do that because the training days you get a little more energy from those carbs and it might make sense for you as an individual to say, okay, I'm just going to shift my carbs to those days and then on the days I'm not training have very little carbs or even less carbs, and that could work. For others, they find that doing that sacrifices the recovery days, the recovery days where you're trying to refill the glycogen and kind of stay sane between the training days. So again, it's very individually serious. Like don't if somebody says you have to do this, that is my big red flag. Like the fact that and you said it later because that's what my coach insisted oh, I don't insist anything for my clients. I work with my clients to say will this work for you? Let's see what happens when you do that. Let's track everything, track your biofeedback and your results and then, if it works for you, let the data speak for itself. And if you want to do it and get that result, you know what to do. If you don't do it, you're not going to get that result. That's different from saying you have to do this, and I just want to point that out.

Speaker 1:

As far as coaching styles. So what else? The other thing here's the big thing. Honestly, all, but almost all, or most of the female bikini competitors I spoke to say they probably would never do it again. Some of them regret doing it.

Speaker 1:

You see a prevalence of eating, of disordered eating and body dysmorphia. Okay, and I'm not saying it's going to happen to you. Right, it depends on the person, but you see it a lot more in those communities, those populations. And for women, you tend to lose your menstrual cycle, you know, or at least get it severely disrupted because of the massive hit to all of your reproductive hormones. So if any of that is more important to you than looking super lean for a competition and whatever you get out of that, then that's your answer, right. And you said it's going to. You said throughout your answer here like you kind of tell me you don't want to do this, right? So if you did want to do it, you'd have to be all in, you'd have to commit and say, okay, I'm doing this for a reason and I'm going to go all in and I'm going to take the tradeoffs and sacrifices as a result, all right. So let's see, did I, did I answer anything else? So no, of course it's not sustainable. It's an extreme sport and it's a temporary thing and getting to a low level of body fat and then when you come out of it, you have to recover quickly to get the hormones back.

Speaker 1:

I can't recomb my body without cutting carbs. No, of course you can't. So now we talk about general recomb, which you're doing in the challenge. Right now we're not even having you lose weight. You can still recomb without losing weight. But if you wanted to go into fat loss phase, you and I can talk, we can talk about how to structure it, how long it might go, what the calories would look like, what the macros would look like and I guarantee there's going to be carbs in there and it's going to be more than 50 grams, because if it's as low as 50 grams, that suggests that you're fairly low calories and probably too low. That is sustainable generally Okay, generally not always, it depends on the person. I intend to stay here for six months before deciding to cut that low ever again. So yeah, there you go. If you want to maintain and do a body recomb at maintenance, you definitely can and you're working hard and training, which is the most important thing.

Speaker 1:

That's it for today's weekend Q&A bonus episode. Remember this is just a small part of the weekly Ask Philip live Q&A in the Wits and Weights Facebook group, which you can join totally free using the link in the show notes. I invite you to join us as we improve our health and physique together. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits and Weights. If you found value in today's episode and know someone else who's looking to level up their Wits or Weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them and make sure to hit the follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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