Soylent vs. Body Recomposition

I’m trying to go for “body recomposition” rather than straight up weight loss. That is, building muscle while losing fat at the “same time.” Same time is in quotes because it’s more like alternating quickly, and I know some nitpicker will point that out. :wink:

Most sources agree that you should need to lift heavy weights, and eat more calories on your workout days while eating less on your rest days while also eating lots of protein. But everything after that… well, look, here’s two articles from the same guy which give wildly different numbers:

In short:

The first article uses a chart to calculate your maintenance and then recommends 100kcal above for workout days, and 500kcal below for rest days.

The second article has you use MyFitnessPal’s calculator, and recommends that bmr + 15% for workout days, and bmr - 10% for rest days.

For protein the first article is 1.35g per pound of desired lean body mass.
The second article is 1.5g per pound of current weight.

For me the difference is 800kcal and 100+ grams of protein! So I’m hoping this guy is just wrong, and there are better requirements somewhere that I can’t find.

Now, here’s where I get to why I’m asking on the Soylent forums. I don’t think I can hit the protein and calorie goals with Soylent, certainly not 100% Soylent.

For instance, on a rest day according to the first article I should have 1600kcal and 243g protein. That’s four bottles of Soylent, but that gives only 80g of protein!

But I’d rather stick with Soylent for both cost, convenience and nutrition… so…

Am I missing something? Is there better science out there? How much protein and calories do I really need on workout days and rest days? (Frankly, I’m not even sure I could hit that protein target in 1600kcal even cooking all my meals.)

Soylent can be a bit light on protein if your looking to bulk up. Whey is a popular additive, just mix it in on workout days. Pea protein can work too. Or any of the workout supplements. Muscle milk if you want to keep with the all liquid part.

Also, you’ll want extra salt and water.

That said, i don’t think you need 243g extra. That seems a bit… extreme.


Why is salt necessary when working out?

When you sweat, your body’s losing electrolytes like salt and potassium. If you’re working out less than hour, it’s no big deal because you’ll get them back at your next meal. But if you’re working out more than hour, you need to replace the electrolytes one way or another.


I have Muscle Feast protein powder, which is ~87kcal per 20g protein… the problem is to make up the difference in protein using that I’d go over the target calories by about 300kcal.

But then what should the targets be?

I’ll just add my voice to saying, 243g of protein is very high, sounds like broscience to me. At one point I read a paper from the NIH that measured how much protein people could actually make use of by seeing at what point their protein levels in the bloodstream stopped increasing; I don’t have a link to the paper any more (sorry!), maybe somebody can dig it up, but I think that they found that it was somewhere between 0.7-1.0g/lb of body weight was the highest daily intake that had any effect. I’ve been using that guideline for myself, making sure that my total protein from food+supplements stays below 160g/day (I weigh 160lb). They also discussed how much protein you could eat before it started having negative effects (I think calcium would leach out of your bones with too much protein? Don’t remember)…hopefully you can turn up the same paper, it was pretty great.


[quote=“wms, post:6, topic:25610”]0.7-1.0g/lb of body weight[/quote]That seems much more reasonable.

Though i guess if your a 243lb line backer, then you’d want 243g of protein. But you’d also probably be eating 4000 calories a day.

Well, I weigh 260… so 1g/lb doesn’t help. :slight_smile:

I don’t have the source handy right now, but I recall the maximum useful amount of protein to be .82g/lb of lean mass, anything over that was just wasted, and typically less is needed. The 1-1.5g/lb is total bro-science and marketing to sell more protein. So if you’ve got 200 pounds of lean mass you wouldn’t see any benefit above 164g/day, and likely wouldn’t need nearly that much.


[quote=“Telos, post:8, topic:25610”]
Well, I weigh 260… so 1g/lb doesn’t help. :slight_smile:
[/quote]Still, i’d probably go with 160. On workout days.

When you get to 260lb of muscle, then you can up it.


“A more technical protein target would be approximately 1-1.4 g/lb of lean mass (as reflected in recent work by Helms, et al). Just remember that basing protein intake on target bodyweight is merely a proxy for lean mass plus a safety buffer.”

This is bioscience, but it’s from a bro who has published solid research, Alan Aragon.


So my current LBM is ~160, so by that range if I hit 160g-224g it should be ok right? I assume I should aim for the 224 on workout days?

On rest days I’ll still need 4 protein powders (348 calories) to make up the difference from Soylent…

Is my calorie target (1600 on a rest day) too low?

EDIT: Oh, and almost forgot to make a joke about whether the author could help me fight of the Nazgul… :wink:

If I recall correctly, the research you are referring to recommended between .64 and .82 g/lb of weight. I can’t remember if they said total weight or lean body mass. You recall which it is, because that makes a huge difference the more BF% you have.

I thought I read somewhere that it’s your goal weight

The science suggests there’s a clear benefit as you raise it up to the 160 level.

The science suggests there may be more benefit as you raise it up to the 224 level, but that’s uncertain.

The science suggests that there’s probably no benefit from going any further than 224.

I say, pick your number, and stick with it.

You can vary the rest of your calories based on workout/rest days, if you like, but I don’t think you should vary the protein. Your impulse may be, “I need more protein on workout days for recovery and growth,” but the truth is also that you need more protein on low-cal days to insure you’re losing fat and preserving muscle. While changing your comp - whether gaining muscle, or losing fat - you want increased protein to tip the ratio of gain towards muscle and the ratio of loss towards fat.

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Creatine. You want to consume creatine. Soylent (like most vegan diets) doesn’t have creatine in it, and while your body could technically synthesize creatine and creatine’s a nonessential nutrient, there is substantial evidence that creatine is very helpful in building muscle.

More anecdotally, I’ve found substantial benefits to creatine supplementation (visible sixpack while keeping exercise time fairly low, basically HIIT only).

No, creatine isn’t very helpful in building muscle. It is helpful in having a better workout, so indirectly it can help build muscle.

I tried creatine. It was great. I could exercise much longer and harder. But I had to stop, because I got tendonitis that kept getting worse; as soon as I stopped taking creatine, it cleared up. I think that I was basically working too hard and it overstressed my tendons.