Getting lean can be a very confusing topic due to the conflicting information and competitive marketing regarding fat loss in the fitness industry. There are certain information out there that presents the idea that getting a lean body is so easy that it can be achieved with little or no effort. On the other hand, you would come across information that makes losing fat seem much more difficult than it truly is.
In an effort to help you eliminate the confusion and choose the right approaches that will allow you to succeed in reducing body fat and get all the other good benefits, I’ve put together this list of top strategies for getting lean that has been proven by research and real world results as the best approaches for burning fat. Getting rid of body fat requires hard work, but it is not the most difficult thing in the world to do. There is a good chance that anyone can reach ultimate fat loss success by incorporating the right methods and strategies in their program for getting lean.
1. Program Customization
To lose fat there are certain fundamental laws that apply to everyone. However, there are certain variables under nutrition and training that need to be adjusted to fit each individual’s specific goals, body type, personal preferences etc. Using a generic approach or one-size-fits-all program for fat loss would not work for most people to get maximum results. No matter how well-designed a specific diet or workout program is, if it does not allow for individual customization it will not be optimal for everyone.
2. Calorie Intake For The Right Outcome
In order to lose body fat we have to consume less calories than our body requires per day to create a negative energy balance, also known as a calorie deficit.
But despite the high importance of a calorie deficit for getting lean, our body will naturally respond when calorie supplies are shorter than usual. This would happen in accordance with certain factors such as the level of the deficit, the body fat level of the individual and the length of time the deficit is prolonged. These responses are usually negative in impact for lean body success. They include metabolic slowdown, muscle loss and increased food cravings. But they occur due to the body’s defense mechanisms trying to protect you from what it considers to be starvation when calories are restricted.
The good news is that you can greatly reduce or completely avoid these negative responses by the body if you adjust and manipulate your calorie intake correctly. You could start first of all with the right level of deficit that fits your starting body fat level. Then you could incorporate calorie cycling and include cheat days in your diet schedule which would outsmart the body and limit the starvation responses.
3. Adjust Your Macronutrients As It Fits You Best
There are two main things that you want from a diet plan to succeed in getting lean: compliance and results. The way that you balance the macronutrients: carb, protein and fat will have impact on both your long term diet compliance and the type of results that you get from the diet. Choosing the right food sources to get each macronutrient is important, but it’s also important to have the right balance of carb, protein and fat percentages of your total daily calorie intake.
A healthy diet plan cannot be 100% of a particular food group. There needs to be a combination of carbs, protein and fat in any diet designed to change or manage body composition. Most people in the fitness community agree with the need for macronutrient combinations for fat loss, but there are debates with regards to the best way they should be balanced.
You’ll get all kinds of recommendations for carb, protein and fat ratios, like: 60%/30%/10%, 50%/30%/20%, 40%/40%/20% etc. However, no macronutrient ratio is a stone-written rule for everyone. You will find different ratios working for people differently. So the idea is to take time to learn more about the macronutrients and how they impact your body type and goals, then experiment with your own adjustments as it fits you best. However, the 50% carbs, 30% protein and 20% fat is a good ratio to start with.
4. High Intensity Interval Training
There are a number of ways to exercise to lose body fat, but some are more effective than others. In fact, all types of physical activities burn calories, but formal fat loss training is required for optimum results when trying to get lean. When it comes to cardio training, the most popular method is Steady State Cardio. This basically means doing cardio at a set pace for an extended period of time. Example, jogging for 30 minutes is a form of Steady State Cardio training.
Steady state cardio will help with getting lean, but it’s main drawback is the intensity level is normally slow to moderate at 60 to 80 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is so to allow workouts for extended periods of time. Due to this you do not get the benefit of high intensity training which will burn much more calories in any period of time. The solution for this drawback is doing High Intensity Interval Training.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is superior to steady state cardio for effectiveness and time-efficiency. High Intensity Interval Training, often regarded as the best way to do cardio for burning fat, basically means alternating high and low intensities throughout your cardio workout session. The high intensity will maximize calorie burn and the low intensity will provide recovery to keep you going for a long enough duration. A typical HIIT workout would be sprinting for 30 seconds and walking for 60 seconds. You would repeat this pattern until your cardio session was complete.
High Intensity Interval Training do not have to be performed in long durations or at high frequencies to produce great results. Just 20 minutes per day of a really intense HIIT workout may be optimal for getting lean. The additional benefits will be time-efficiency and eliminated risk of muscle loss which is associated with long durations of cardio.
5. Weight Training
Some people are not yet aware that resistance training is a crucial requirement for healthy weight loss and it’s recommended in most health and fitness circles. Weight training is not just a bodybuilding tool, it’s also essential for getting lean. When you lift weights you maintain and gain muscle which is actually a crucial part of getting
lean. If you lose muscle mass when losing weight you may not see yourself getting lean. You’ll just see your body getting smaller, but still looking soft and puffy.
Preservation of lean muscle mass while you reduce body fat is the only way to shape up your body. Muscles are also important for your metabolism. If you lose a lot of your muscle, your metabolism will drop and you lose strength. Don’t forget also that lifting weights burn calories and helps with losing fat.