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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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