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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 May 22, 2019

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

1. Cat Camel Stretch

Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

Here’s a video to guide you through:

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2. Go for a Walk or a Run

This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

3. Jumping Jacks

Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

4. Abductor Side Lifts

Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

5. Balancing Table Pose

This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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    6. Leg Squats

    Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

    Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

    The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

    7. Push Ups

    You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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    An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

    Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

    This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

    8. Bicycle Crunches

    There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

    Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

    9. Lunges

    Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

    Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

    This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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    10. Bicep Curls

    You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

    Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

    Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

    Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

    Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

    These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

    You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

    Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

    More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

    Reference

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