The main way to get lean for a sculpted physique is losing body fat without losing lean muscle mass. A caloric deficit is the most important factor for reducing body fat. It means creating a negative energy balance by expending more calories than you are putting in.
If you do the calculation to find your calorie maintenance level or TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) you’ll find the number of calories that will be a deficit for you. But, there are a few different ways that you can create a caloric deficit to lose fat for getting lean.
The Different Ways To Create A Calorie Deficit
The following are the different ways to create a caloric deficit, and by taking certain measures your muscles can be preserved. But I also let you know which is the best way on the list to get lean and why.
1. Diet Plan Alone, No Training Program
You can lose fat by simply having a diet plan to reduce your calorie intake to create a daily deficit. The law of energy balance states that if you consume less calories than you burn daily you’ll lose weight. So if your body burns 3000 calories per day and you consume 2500, this will result in weight loss. If you are using diet without any training to lose fat, you can try to prevent muscle loss by using a deficit that is low to moderate, consuming enough protein and incorporate calorie cycling.
However, using diet to lose fat without a workout program is not an optimal approach for getting lean. Although having an active lifestyle will allow you to get exercise, most people would need a formal training program with a mixture of cardio and weight training to get maximum results and benefits.
If you are using diet alone to lose fat and your diet plan is not causing fat loss at a good rate then the only thing you can do is reduce calories lower. But it may not always be a good idea to reduce calories lower to accelerate fat loss. Because if your calories are too low it can lead to some negative outcomes.
Using fat burning workouts is a better way to accelerate fat loss instead of reducing calories beyond the limit. In addition, weight training is one of the best stimulus for muscle maintenance and it also optimizes your metabolism. So you’ll find it much easier to keep your muscles if you are lifting weights while dieting.
2. Workout Program Alone, No Dieting
It’s possible to lose fat by working out without actually reducing your calorie intake, but you cannot completely ignore your diet and succeed at fat loss. It’s just not possible to mindlessly eat as you want and successfully lose body fat no matter how good your workout program is. You must at least know what your calorie maintenance level is and properly manage your calorie intake every day with controlled food consumption.
Getting lean is a cumulative process. You lose a certain amount of fat through a caloric deficit progressively until you reach your ultimate goal over a period of time. You can create that caloric deficit by reducing your calorie intake, working out to burn calories or doing both. But if you do not maintain that caloric deficit you’ll either stall in your progress or relapse (regain the fat you lost).
Therefore, you must pay careful attention to your diet when trying to get lean to ensure consistency of the calorie deficit. Not only do you have to monitor your diet to avoid over-consuming calories which can make the fat come right back, but you also have to ensure that you are not underfeeding your body which can slow your metabolism down and cause muscle loss.
Balancing macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) is also a very important nutritional component that cannot be ignored for getting a lean body. So it’s clear to see that a nutrition plan is mandatory for getting lean, though you can workout to lose fat without calorie reduction through diet.
3. Diet And Cardio Training
The third way to create a calorie deficit to lose fat is with a fat loss diet plan combined with a cardio training program. With this method you’ll reduce your calorie intake with diet and burn more calories with cardio to accelerate your fat loss. Cardio training will also provide health and fitness benefits for your body.
This method works very good for losing fat and you can reduce the risk of muscle loss if you use the right cardio program and your diet consist of all the right nutrition requirements. However, if your goal is to get lean and sculpt an athletic physique you’ll need strength training in the mix to have an optimal program.
4. Weight Trazining And Diet
You could also use weight training and diet alone to get lean, without doing cardio. A program like this may be optimal for many people because weight training is a key stimulus for maintaining muscle and it can also be used to burn calories, increase fitness and improve health. But some people may need to integrate cardio training in their fat loss program according to their situation and goals to get optimum results.
5. Diet, Cardio Training And Weight Training
Now if you want an optimal way to get lean you would want to integrate diet, cardio and lifting weights in one program. Although you can lose weight even if you leave one or two of these components out, you have to keep in mind that losing fat effectively without losing muscle can sometimes be very tricky. So the more optimized your approach is, the better your chances will be to succeed in reaching your goals.
Combining the three components in one program is the best way to lose fat and get all the health and fitness benefits of a fat loss program. This is the type of program used by bodybuilders and fitness models who have the bodies to prove the great results that you can get from combining diet, cardio and weight training in one program.