Have you ever wondered what it costs to achieve that “look”? What must you do more of? What must you really give up?
With just a few small, easy, hopefully imperceptible changes to one’s diet and exercise routine, you too can have shredded abs, big biceps, and tight glutes, just like a magazine cover model.
“Getting healthy” or “losing weight” involves massive, painful, intolerable sacrifice, restriction, and deprivation.
The process that helps you lose “the first 10 pounds” isn’t the same one that’ll help you lose “the last 10 pounds”. Indeed, it usually takes a lot more work as you get leaner.
If you do aspire to “fitness model” or “elite athlete” lean, you might be surprised. Images are photoshopped for effect. Bodybuilders only look like that for competition. And achieving that look comes at a high cost; one most people aren’t willing to pay.
If you’re okay not being on the next magazine cover and aspire to be “lean and healthy” even small adjustments can — over time — add up to noticeable improvements.
Here’s the benefits, tradeoffs and activities that support some body fat categories
Body Fat Percentage: Men>20% Women>30%
Doesn’t require much thought or work
Low energy levels
Poorer life expectancy
Risks of metabolic syndrome
May need medications to manage various conditions
Eat processed foods
Eat big portions
Exercise of any kind
Eat fewer whole foods
Body Fat Percentage: Men: 15-20% Women: 25-30%
Exercise is easy and enjoyable
Requires some thought and planning
You’ll look good but not super lean
Include protein dense foods in 2 meals per day
2 servings of vegetables per day
Exercise 3-5 time per week, any activity you enjoy, and intensity level
Eat fewer processed carbs but do not reduce carbs drastically
Drinks fewer caloric beverages but do not reduce drastically
Body Fat Percentage: Men 13-15% Women: 23-25%
Fairly easy to maintain
Will probably be able to reduce or eliminate many medications
May require effort and attention to maintain sleep
May require some time and attention to learn stress reduction techniques.
Eat slowly and only until satisfied with 75% of meals
Include 2 servings of protein dense foods at 3 meals per day
Include 3 servings of vegetables per day
Sleep at least 7 hours per night
Practice some stress management techniques
Desserts/ processed carbs 3-5 times per week
Drink caloric beverages 3-5 times per week
Body Fat Percentage: Men 10-12% Women: 20-22%
Better overall health
Fewer food cravings due to balanced diet and exercise regime
Relatively easy to maintain once practices become habitual
Requires more planning and greater overall attention to diet
Will need to prioritize sleep
Eat slowly and only until satisfied at 90% of meals
Include 2 servings of protein dense foods at each meal
Include 2 servings of vegetables at each meal
Include 2 handfuls of minimally processed carbs at most meals
Sleep at least 7-8 hours per night
De-stress daily for 20 minutes
Eat desserts/processed carbs only 1 time per week
Drink 1-2 caloric beverages per week
Body Fat Percentage: Men 6-9% Women: 16-19%
Will probably look extremely lean; may have that six pack
Overall health will probably be very good due to carefully balanced and minimally
Will experience fewer cravings
May struggle in social situations, especially those involving food
May not have time for social opportunities outside of exercise
May have to give up other hobbies and interests outside of fitness
Eat slowly and only until satisfied at 95% of meals
Include 2 servings of protein dense foods at each meal
Include 2 servings of fibrous vegetables at each meal
Include 2 handfuls of minimally processed carbs after workouts
4-5 exercise sessions weekly working hard/ breaking a sweat
Sleep at least 8-9 hours each night
De stress 20 minutes daily
Limit carbs to designated higher carb days
Eat desserts/ processed carbs one time every 2 weeks, within reason
Drink one caloric beverage one time every 1-2 weeks, within reason
Will want to start limiting time at restaurants, 1-2 times per week
Body Fat Percentage: Men <6% Women: 16%
May feel pride at achieving an athletic goal
Will have difficulty socializing in most situations where food is involved
May lose out on fun events with family and friends
Big time commitment to measure and weigh and track all foods
Hyper focus on diet and exercise may contribute to disordered eating
Time required for exercise may crowd out all other pursuits and interests
Eat slowly and only until satisfied at 99.9% of meals
Incorporate calorie/carb cycling
Follow meal plan with predetermines foods and amounts
Measure food specifically
Include exact amount of essential fats at each meal
Include exact amounts of minimally processed carbs after workouts’
Exercise 45-75 minutes, twice daily
6-7 exercise sessions weekly working hard/breaking a sweat
Sleep at least 9 hours each night
Destress for 20 minutes daily
Otherwise limited to designated higher carb days
Eat desserts/ processed carbs one time every 12 weeks
Avoid caloric beverages
Avoid eating at restaurants
Is that level of leanness worth it?
Having a six-pack doesn’t automatically make you healthy. In fact, getting too lean can be actively unhealthy.
You might end up with amenorrhea, low libido, disordered eating, social isolation, and a host of other problems.
Clarity is essential in change.
If you think you may want to change how much body fat you have, start by getting a clear idea of where you’re at.
Figure out your goals and priorities. If you don’t know what your priorities are, now’s a great time to explore that.
Decide what you’re willing to do right now to serve those goals and priorities.
Decide how often, how consistently, and how intensely/precisely, you’re willing to do those things.
Decide what you’re not willing to do right now. Why not?
In the above steps, be honest with yourself
You may need more tailored guidance or coaching. Age, gender, genetics, medical conditions, and pharmaceuticals can all affect what you’ll need to do to get and stay lean.
What do you think?
If you’d like to get lean in ANY fashion, contact me for a FREE CONSULT to reach your goals for 2023!
Check out my holiday flash sale on mini coaching packages for the remainder of 2022 HERE
Keep Moving Forward 😊 Sarah
*Excerpts from Precision Nutrition