If you want to wage war on bodyfat and get a ripped six-pack this summer then don’t listen to the usual advice on getting lean where you have to do endless runs, situps and salads, that sort of ethos will get you skinny ripped but not aesthetically pleasing.
So how do you get lean? Well instead of dieting to death or running in excessive heat, use these six principles on getting lean. they are easy to implement and provide solid results no matter on the level that you are presently at.
Firstly you need to understand that the more muscles you have on your body, the more metabolically active your body becomes. Having more muscle means that your body will burn more calories throughout the day, even just sitting around.
Sound great doesn’t it? The only way to gain muscle is to incorporate hard resistance training (weight training) into your exercise regime. Stressing your body by weight lifting will make your muscles become bigger and stronger, it takes a lot of energy to grow and maintain muscle mass.
Your body will use more calories as it grows more muscle, you can also take into account the calories you burn whilst working out as well as the energy it takes for your muscles to rebuild themselves when you’re done, putting it all together, you can see why resistance training is high on the list.
You do not even have to cut calories to see some great aesthetic differences from resistance training.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that the body breaks down to use as glucose so it can use it for energy. There two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Both are good in different ways. Soluble fiber attracts water to become like a gel, slowing down digestion and delaying the emptying of the stomach, this keeps you fuller for longer. It can also lower blood cholesterol by interfering with the absorbtion of dietary cholesterol, helping with the removal of it from the body.
Insoluble fiber helps promote regular bowel movements and help food pass quicker through the stomach and intestines for healthy digestive function.
Fiber is also known to slow the release of carbohydrates. Black beans, berries, sweet potatoes and other high fiber foods are digested much slower, creating a slow, steady stream of glucose into your blood stream. Low fiber foods on the other hand like white bread digest much quicker causing larger spikes in insulin.
If this doesn’t convince you to eat more fiber then keep reading, satiety. High-fiber foods like broccoli will fill you up and keep you feeling fuller for longer, even when eating less volume. One cup of broccoli yields 40 calories with 10g of carbs, 4 of which are unabsorbable fiber.
Compare one cup of broccoli to one cup of pasta which has around 150 calories and 45g of carbs. You’d get through that cup of pasta easily and probably want more but that one cup of broccoli may be filling enough to make you feel great for hours.
Broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, lettuce, spinach, green beans, water chestnuts, zucchini, whole grains, green leafie veggies and beans.
Foods we eat are just as important as the calories they supply. Basically everything you eat can be categorized as a carb, fat or protein. Each one of these three macronutrients will metabolize differently despite all providing calories. 1g Of protein gives 4 calories, 1g of carbs provides the same and 1g of fat provides 9 calories.
If your diet was all cake and ice cream, you’d look and feel differently than if your diet was lean meat and vegetables. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbs and fats. Your body actually burns more calories breaking down and digesting protein than it does with carbs and fats, protein has also been shown to increase satiety more than carbohydrates.
Protein is an important part of a healthy diet you shouldn’t get all of your calories from just one macronutrient. Carbohydrates and fats are essential for a healthy body. Certain fats such as medium chain fatty acids such as coconut oil will increase energy expenditure and reduce hunger when they are included in a diet.
Carbohydrates are a body’s preferred energy source and necessary for maintaining momentum when training. Carbohydrates also fill up your glycogen stores quickly, excess carbs in a diet can mean excess fat.
Everyone is a little different so it is best to try different amounts and types of calories to see what works best for you.
Remember the cake and ice cream we talked about earlier? , when trying to get lean, it is not really a good idea to consume a carb-only meal. A meal such as this can cause the liver to convert excess carbohydrates straight to fat which is then stored for use in the future as energy, this is likely to lead to increases in stored body fat plus your missing out on the satiating effects of protein, increasing the chances of going for a chocolate snack between meals.
A good way to go about meals is to make sure that you have protein in every meal and time your meals to create specific hormonal responses. Combine the carbohydrates with protein to give an insulin spike post-workout. This is the perfect time for the body to use the protein and carbs for an anabolic (muscle-building effect).
Fats can also be combined with proteins for energy and less insulin response. Because your body does not get a supply of carbs in this meal, your body will turn to fat for an energy source, fat can also slow the digestion of protein for a more sustained release of amino acids.
Your body adapts to cardio just like it does with resistance training, running for hours will make your body become super-efficient. So it will burn the least amount of calories possible to allow you to run further and for longer with less energy. your body eventually get so efficient that you need a lot more cardio to get the same effect.
If you already run for hours several times per week you should cut it right down. To get your body back to a baseline you will have to feed your body more food and cut the cardio down, once you have your metabolism in check then you can start to manipulate foods to help you lose weight and implement an effective training schedule to add muscle to your body.
This is one of the best tips for getting and staying lean. Keep track of your progress, measure your body fat and weight and weigh out and record all food portions you consume to work out what will work for your body.
Every person is a little bit different, there is no set in stone diet that will work for everyone, there are basic rules to follow but it is never wise to follow someone else’s meal plan.
This may sound pretty simple but the only way to figure all of this out is through trial and error.
Once you have figured out a decent meal plan, give your body some time on this new plan to see how it responds. If your weight doesn’t change or you look the same you know that your calorie intake and macronutrient match up needs some work and is what your body needs to stay the same, gaining weight quickly means you have set these numbers too high or if you are going the other way and losing weight quickly like losing muscle mass etc. then you need more calories.
Macronutrient manipulation is key to getting the way you want to look, getting lean means removing from carbs from your diet or doing a bit more cardio, learning how your body adjusts to these manipulations takes time and can be frustrating but don’t panic, change one little thing at a time. If lowering your carb intake by 15% gives you some decent progress then you are on the right track but if not then it is time to make an adjustment.
Stick to ‘clean’ foods at first, things like lean chicken breast, broccoli and brown rice but once you realise how your body will respond to different foods you can start to add in foods that you enjoy too, like a ham, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich on a poppy seed bagel.
Getting lean is not about pain and deprivation, it is about arming yourself with how-to knowledge and gaining enough knowledge to succeed, get out there and get ripped up.
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