Getting lean and staying lean. It’s not a mystery. If you want to get lean there may be certain things you will have to give up or at least modify. We know how to get lean, maybe all you need is a little guidance and to begin thinking like a lean person. A lot of people who want to get lean are afraid of going all in because that means saying “that’s the best I can do”. If you commit it can definitely happen for you. Below are some tips for a healthy lifestyle so you can start thinking like a lean person.
Prioritize strength training. Steady state cardio may work for fat loss for a very short amount of time in the very beginning of your fat loss journey but will end up being counterproductive in the long run (pun intended). Steady state cardio will put your body into a catabolic state, breaking down muscle and slowing down your metabolism. Strength training will help build muscle which will increase your metabolism. It also builds the correct type of muscle fibers for efficient fat loss. Type II muscle fibers are built for strength and power and also have the highest metabolic cost, burning more calories. Strength training will also increase EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) meaning you will be burning calories far after you training session is over. This does not occur with steady state cardio.
Use a high protein diet to preserve mass and fuel your fat loss. A high protein diet will help to preserve muscle mass which is a great thing when you’re trying to increase your metabolism. Protein is very satiating which can lead to consuming fewer calories throughout the day. This is one of the reasons protein should be eaten for breakfast and not refined carbs like cereal and toast. High protein breakfast has been shown to provide better metabolic hormonal balance that will last throughout the day. Whey protein specifically improves insulin sensitivity, triggers protein synthesis, and has a high thermic effect. Our bodies are designed to use protein to build muscle so it is metabolized much differently than carbohydrates, once again disproving the “calorie is a calorie” myth.
Sleep. Sleep has not only proven to be a huge indicator of longevity but is also very necessary in order to get and stay lean. Sleep is regulated by your circadian rhythm. This rhythm is dependent on a balance of many factors including many different hormones. Lack of sleep can have many negative consequences over the long term. Not getting enough sleep can lower testosterone, growth hormone, and thyroid hormone while elevating cortisol. This effects insulin sensitivity and promotes fat gain. Not to mention energy levels, depression, and many others. There are all natural sleep aids like melatonin to help you get that good night’s rest. If the choice is between poor sleep and utilizing a natural sleep aid there are many more negatives to lack of sleep than there are to melatonin use. My sleep isn’t the best due to being kicked and punched by the toddlers in my bed (I wouldn’t have it any other way) so melatonin increases the quality of sleep that I do get. Ask a professional for dosing recommendations.
The most important factors in fat loss are commitment, consistency, and patience. To get and stay lean you must commit to a healthy lifestyle. You shouldn’t be dieting for a deadline. Cutting calories and increasing exercise too much will destroy your metabolism. As soon as you increase your calories or cut back on your exercise the fat will come back and the muscle you lost on your “diet” will also come back as fat. Make the lifestyle change, be consistent, and be patient. Get lean and stay lean.