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The Cost Of Getting Lean: Is It Really Worth The Trade Off?

The Cost Of Getting Lean: Is It Really Worth The Trade Off?

I want to get cut/lean” is one of the most common goals for people when they start exercising. But can you be too lean? Do you realize what it takes to get lean?

When it comes to being at a healthy body weight it is commonly recommended for men to be below 20% and women to be below 30% body fat. But there is such as a thing as have too little body fat — this is usually reserved for physique competitors. When men get below 6% body fat and women get below 16% it is considered to be unhealthy! It sounds like an incredible goal to try to get to this level but have you considered the trade-offs and the work required to get there? They can be substantial — let’s break them down.

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“Extreme Lean” Trade-Offs

When it comes to getting into the single digit body fat percentage for men and the middle teens for women it takes substantial commitment. If you want to get physique lean you will need to eat, sleep, and breathe it!

Nutrition is vital. Ready for a strict diet? Nutrition is going to be key. You will have to give up almost all of your junk food, rarely have desserts, and limit your alcohol intake. On top of that you will need to consume the majority of your carbs after your workout along with eating considerably more vegetables and proteins — not to mention fats. Many times physique competitors are on predetermined meal plans which are severely restrictive. A severely restrictive diet can lead to dropout, depression, hormone imbalances, fatigue, loss of sex drive, mood swings, and many other negatives side effects!

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Exercise is a must. Do you love exercise? If you want to get lean then it’s time to hit the gym! Many coaches suggest exercising at least 60+ minutes per day (or even twice daily) but we recommend hitting the gym five times and performing some seriously high-intensity workouts in order to ramp up your afterburn effect — so you can burn calories long after your workout is over. You want your metabolism on overdrive if you are trying to get lean. But a word of caution — this level of duration, intensity, and frequency of training can easily result in injury!

Get more sleep. Have no time for sleep? This may be something that is commonly overlooked with it comes to getting lean but it’s vital. Sleep is important for repairing muscles, processing memories, and other cognitive functions but it has also been linked to overall lower body fat! A study out of BYU last year found that keeping a consistent sleep schedule while getting between 6.5 – 8.5 hours of sleep a night was associated with a significantly lower body fat. Now, this isn’t the case with everyone but it is something that is very important to keep in mind. To achieve that physique lean you will need to focus on getting more sleep!

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Commitment. Are you committed? Are you really committed? When you are going for extreme lean you will have to sacrifice so many things and always be prepared for every meal. Traveling? Better pack each meal and know where if there is a gym is close-by that you can use. Commitment is key to reaching this level of lean! I’m talking packing your own lunch when going to the amusement park type of commitment.

The Holistic Approach

I have much respect of people trying to get this lean and for the ones that actually achieve it – it’s a level of commitment that deserves respect. That being said, it is definitely not for everyone and our company recommends a more holistic approach – let’s get healthy for the sake of being healthy and the rest will take care of itself! Shoot to lose weight and get healthy – this gives you more leeway and allows for gentle, sustainable weight loss!

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Wrap-Up

Look, I’m not here to say don’t try to get as lean as possible – I just want you to know that it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows and I want you to be healthy. You don’t necessarily have to do all of these things in order to get lean – they are just the typical ones we always see! Likewise, everyone’s body is different and will react differently – it’s up to you to know your body!

That being said, there is an unhealthy lean and there is a healthy, athletic lean. When you strive for this physique lean remember that the athletes you see in the magazines don’t have that body throughout the entire year. Many times they “cut” just to get that look right before a competition or before a photo shoot! Also remember that as you strive to reach this lean that you have to give up many activities and foods you may love in order to achieve it! By all means, shoot for your goals but just know the trade-offs! Good luck!

Featured photo credit: skeeze via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on November 11, 2019

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

4. Feed Your Brain

Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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6. Write it Down

If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

7. Listen to Music

Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

8. Visual Concepts

In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

9. Teach Someone Else

Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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