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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 20, 2018

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

10 Reasons Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail

A new year beautifully symbolizes a new chapter opening in the book that is your life. But while so many people like you aspire to achieve ambitious goals, only 12% of you will ever experience the taste of victory. Sound bad? It is. 156 million people (that’s 156,000,000) will probably give up on their resolution before you can say “confetti.” Keep on reading to learn why New Year’s resolutions fail (and how to succeed).

Note: Since losing weight is the most common New Year’s resolution, I chose to focus on weight loss (but these principles can be applied to just about any goal you think of — make it work for you!).

1. You’re treating a marathon like a sprint.

Slow and steady habit change might not be sexy, but it’s a lot more effective than the “I want it ALL and I want it NOW!” mentality. Small changes stick better because they aren’t intimidating (if you do it right, you’ll barely even notice them!).

If you have a lot of bad habits today, the last thing you need to do is remodel your entire life overnight. Want to lose weight? Stop it with the crash diets and excessive exercise plans. Instead of following a super restrictive plan that bans anything fun, add one positive habit per week. For example, you could start with something easy like drinking more water during your first week. The following week, you could move on to eating 3 fruits and veggies every day. And the next week, you could aim to eat a fistful of protein at every meal.

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2. You put the cart before the horse.

“Supplementing” a crappy diet is stupid, so don’t even think about it. Focus on the actions that produce the overwhelming amount of results. If it’s not important, don’t worry about it.

3. You don’t believe in yourself.

A failure to act can cripple you before you leave the starting line. If you’ve tried (and failed) to set a New Year’s resolution (or several) in the past, I know it might be hard to believe in yourself. Doubt is a nagging voice in your head that will resist personal growth with every ounce of its being. The only way to defeat doubt is to believe in yourself. Who cares if you’ve failed a time or two? This year, you can try again (but better this time).

4. Too much thinking, not enough doing.

The best self-help book in the world can’t save you if you fail to take action. Yes, seek inspiration and knowledge, but only as much as you can realistically apply to your life. If you can put just one thing you learn from every book or article you read into practice, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

5. You’re in too much of a hurry.

If it was quick-and-easy, everybody would do it, so it’s in your best interest to exercise your patience muscles.

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6. You don’t enjoy the process.

Is it any wonder people struggle with their weight when they see eating as a chore and exercise as a dreadful bore? The best fitness plan is one that causes the least interruption to your daily life. The goal isn’t to add stress to your life, but rather to remove it.

The best of us couldn’t bring ourselves to do something we hate consistently, so make getting in shape fun, however you’ve gotta do it. That could be participating in a sport you love, exercising with a good friend or two, joining a group exercise class so you can meet new people, or giving yourself one “free day” per week where you forget about your training plan and exercise in any way you please.

7. You’re trying too hard.

Unless you want to experience some nasty cravings, don’t deprive your body of pleasure. The more you tell yourself you can’t have a food, the more you’re going to want it. As long as you’re making positive choices 80-90% of the time, don’t sweat the occasional indulgence.

8. You don’t track your progress.

Keeping a written record of your training progress will help you sustain an “I CAN do this” attitude. All you need is a notebook and a pen. For every workout, record what exercises you do, the number of repetitions performed, and how much weight you used if applicable. Your goal? Do better next time. Improving your best performance on a regular basis offers positive feedback that will encourage you to keep going.

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9. You have no social support.

It can be hard to stay motivated when you feel alone. The good news? You’re not alone: far from it. Post a status on Facebook asking your friends if anybody would like to be your gym or accountability buddy. If you know a co-worker who shares your goal, try to coordinate your lunch time and go out together so you’ll be more likely to make positive decisions. Join a support group of like-minded folks on Facebook, LinkedIn, or elsewhere on the internet. Strength in numbers is powerful, so use it to your advantage.

10. You know your what but not your why.

The biggest reason why most New Year’s resolutions fail: you know what you want but you not why you want it.

Yes: you want to get fit, lose weight, or be healthy… but why is your goal important to you? For example:

Do you want to be fit so you can be a positive example that your children can admire and look up to?

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Do you want to lose fat so you’ll feel more confident and sexy in your body than ever before?

Do you want to be healthy so you’ll have increased clarity, energy, and focus that would carry over into every single aspect of your life?

Whether you’re getting in shape because you want to live longer, be a good example, boost your energy, feel confident, have an excuse to buy hot new clothes, or increase your likelihood of getting laid (hey, I’m not here to judge) is up to you. Forget about any preconceived notions and be true to yourself.

  • The more specific you can make your goal,
  • The more vivid it will be in your imagination,
  • The more encouraged you’ll be,
  • The more likely it is you will succeed (because yes, you CAN do this!).

I hope this guide to why New Year’s resolutions fail helps you achieve your goals this year. If you found this helpful, please pass it along to some friends so they can be successful just like you. What do you hope to accomplish next year?

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