How to Get Lean and Cut
If you workout, then we know you want to get SHREDDED; aka Lean, Cut, Aesthetic, Defined and Muscular. I mean, who doesn’t want to have 6-pack abs to show off? The thing is, as with everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. This article will go over the best way of how to get lean while maintaining your hard-earned muscle mass. So, then you can look like Bruce Lee, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or the new Bodybuilding Mr. Olympia sooner than you think!
Read Part 1: JACKED Muscle Plan – How To Get Bigger! >>
First, this article is a continuation of our previous article, JACKED – How to get Big and Strong. In that article, we discuss your basal metabolic rate, activities for muscular growth and nutritional concepts to manipulate your weight. If you have not done so already, I recommend you go back to that article first to get a base for what we discuss here. Then you will have a basic understanding of how to get bigger and build muscle mass, properly.
This article will teach you how to maintain your muscle mass while losing body fat. So then you will look lean and shredded like a pro bodybuilder!
What does it mean to be SHREDDED?
So what do we mean by getting SHREDDED?
What most people want to do when losing weight or getting leaner is lose body fat while maintaining, or even increasing, muscle mass. This helps to give an aesthetic look that shows off the muscle you have already built. But, oftentimes people have a non-optimal way they go about losing body fat that also decreases their muscle mass.
So, before getting into the details of how to get lean, let’s review a little…
“To lose weight you simply must eat fewer calories than you use.”
First, to lose weight you simply must eat fewer calories than you expend through your basal metabolic rate and daily activity, or exercise.
Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories you expend without activity, or at rest. This rate can be raised by increasing your muscle mass; as muscle is calorie expensive tissue compared to body fat. That means your body has to work to maintain your muscle mass where fat tissue just sits around. This puts stress on your body to keep your muscles working.
So, if you want to increase or maintain muscle mass while losing weight, you must give it a reason to stay. You can do this by placing stress on the muscles, forcing them to be maintained.
Then, if you want to gain weight, you just have to eat more calories than you use daily. However, if you don’t stimulate muscle growth, then the extra calories will be stored as body fat.
This is the basis for using muscle mass to your advantage when manipulating your body weight.
Designed for Survival
Our bodies are designed very efficiently and only have one goal in mind…survival. So, our body systems work in unison for us to be able to survive out in the wild on our own.
With this in mind, we were not designed to have a plentiful supply of food throughout the day. We can see this through our ability to absorb almost all of the nutrients we consume and our capacity to store body fat.
Our bodies were designed to be ready for fasting, or starved states. So everything we consume is absorbed and what we do not use is stored.
Body Fat Is Necessary
Knowing this, we can see that storing excess calories as body fat is a necessary adaptation for survival. However, that does not always fit into the current aesthetic goals of most people today.
Many people of today want to lose body fat but maintain muscle so that they can look good, or SHREDDED. The problem is our body does not care how we look. It just wants to survive. And, unless properly stimulated, body fat is more valuable to survival than muscle.
This is because muscle is energy costing and vascular, or has blood vessels. These characteristics of muscle make it difficult to maintain compared to body fat; which is stored energy that can be used for survival when needed.
This poses a problem for those trying to maintain their muscle while losing weight. But there is a solution…exercise!
How To Lose Weight
Overall, losing bodyweight is an easy concept to understand. It is just the opposite of gaining size. You just have to eat fewer calories than you expend daily.
This is easier said than done because many people do not like to feel hungry.
Still, what do people do to lose weight? They eat less and start to exercise more by doing a ton of “cardio”. This can work, but it is not the best way for your health or long term success.
If you exercise more, you must eat more, or be in caloric balance, to adapt to the new workload. Otherwise, you will not have enough energy to workout as hard as you should. Then you will lose muscle mass due to lack of nutrients.
Also, “cardio” is not the best way to lose weight.
Weight Training vs. Cardio
“Cardio burns calories today, muscle burns calories forever.”
Doing cardio is great for burning calories but it does not have long-lasting effects extending beyond 24-48 hours after training.
Think of this…cardio burns calories today, muscle burns calories forever. What that means is that when you do cardio you burn calories during and shortly after. However, the effects will wear off within 24-48 hours, depending on the intensity. Then you will have to do another session to get the same results.
When building muscle, though, the new muscle burns calories during your training session and every day thereafter as long as you maintain it.
Of course, resistance training and cardiovascular training should be used together to present the greatest results.
SHREDDED Muscle Workout Programs:
Train With Intensity
Just remember that whatever you do, it must be intense.
Resistance training must be intense enough to stimulate the muscle to grow or maintain itself. And your cardio should be done as high-intensity intervals. That form of cardio helps to maintain muscle mass while burning the most fat.
That form of cardio helps to maintain muscle mass while burning the most fat. For example, you could perform a HIIT rowing machine workout or sprints where you perform 10 rounds of 30-seconds flat out rowing, followed by 60-seconds of rest.
Overall, it is better to use muscle stimulating training that will cause growth in combination with some intense cardio training, such as sprint intervals, to obtain the greatest overall calorie deficit.
Training vs. Dieting
“Weight loss is NOT 10% training and 90% diet!”
How many times have you heard people say something like, “Weight loss is 10% training and 90% diet.”?
I’m here to tell you that is not true. Not even close! How can it be? Diet has limits much smaller than that of exercise. Plus, you do not get the same adaptations through diet as you do for exercise.
Diet affects your energy balance, but exercise affects everything.
Exercise influences your energy balance, muscular growth, hormonal changes, cardiovascular system, digestive system, central nervous system and so much more!
Still, don’t believe it?
Let’s think of it like this…an elite athlete is going to look like an elite athlete even on a poor diet. However, a sedentary person will not get a 6-pack no matter their diet.
Sedentary means “without exercise”. And remember, Walking is NOT Exercise!
Sedentary vs. Active
“When it comes down to it, exercise is what makes people look lean and SHREDDED.”
Sedentary individuals can be lean but they cannot have a strong muscular look without some form of exercise to create muscular growth. This is because diet does not influence your body as much as exercise and activity do.
Yet, it almost doesn’t matter what an endurance athlete eats because their energy expenditure is so high that even if they only eat what we consider to be “unhealthy”, they will still have low body fat. Assuming that their caloric intake to energy expenditure is balanced.
However, a sedentary individual that is in caloric and energy balance, meaning they eat the same amount of calories they expend through their basal metabolic rate and any activity, will be much more likely to lose muscle and gain body fat even on a healthy diet.
Diet only plays a role in energy balance and performance but has minimal influence on your ability to lose body fat alone.
Exercise, however, plays a major role in stimulating muscle and reducing body fat. So, when it comes down to it, exercise is what makes people look lean and SHREDDED.
Stimulate Your Muscles
Again, losing weight is as simple as eating fewer calories than you use to survive on or use for activity. This is true, but when losing overall weight on a caloric deficit you will likely lose muscle faster than you lose fat unless you give it proper stimulus.
If you stimulate your muscles for growth or at least put enough stress on them to be maintained, then you will lose less muscle and more body fat.
Again, your body just wants to survive. So if you put stress on your muscles to where they need to adapt by growing you will maintain your muscle mass while using your body fat to balance your caloric deficit.
This is beneficial in two ways: by allowing you to maintain your muscle mass and burning more body fat than you would have without the exercise.
SHREDDED Workout Plans:
Cut Back Calories
Now in order for this to work the best, and allow for the least muscle loss, you must make only small, incremental changes over a long period of time.
After you have built yourself up enough by eating enough to maintain your current activity load, then you can start cutting back calories to lose body fat.
You should start by being in a 200-500 calorie deficit while training in order to start losing weight. Then, only drop another 200-500 calories after it has stopped working. I recommend you start with 200 calorie change, then adjust as needed.
Whatever you choose, the exercise MUST be intense. Without enough intensity and volume, as discussed in the previous article, your muscle will not have enough of a reason to be maintained.
Also, you must continuously increase your total workload, so your body to be forced into muscular adaptation or maintenance.
With a caloric deficit and intense training, you can force your body to survive in a low body fat state, making you look lean and SHREDDED!
Eat More and Exercise More
“Eat more, exercise more, and then start to drop weight.”
For most people trying to lose weight, it is best to simply start increasing their workload through exercise. Start small and progressively increase over time for the best results.
As you increase your activity, you should actually eat more before trying to lose weight. This allows your body to adapt to the stresses of exercise while increasing your basal metabolic rate, before decreasing body fat. Basically, you need more calories to meet the energy needs of your new activity level.
Then, by eating more you will increase your muscle mass and basal metabolic rate so you can eat more calories than before. This allows you to have more room for free eating, or cheat meals. Then you can stay satisfied with little effect on your total caloric balance.
Which would you rather be?
This can be best viewed by thinking of two situations.
Situation #1: An individual trying to lose weight eats 2,000 calories daily on average. Then they cut out 500 calories per day to be in a deficit. After they plateau, they then cut out another 500 calories to lose more weight. They are now down to 1,000 calories per day which greatly limits the amount of food they can have to reach their nutrient needs and poses health risks.
Situation #2: An individual exercises and eats more calories until they reach a 3,000 calorie daily balance. They then have a much greater amount of calories they can cut down on to lose weight while still getting in enough food to be satisfied and healthy. Not to mention, they also gained more size and strength in the process. So, when they cut back calories they have more room for adjustments. Plus more drops they can do. And that is how the IFBB pro Bodybuilders do it, so it obviously works!
So the best approach is, eat more and exercise more, first. Then you can start to decrease your caloric intake by 200-500 calories while maintaining the same workload.
This allows you to eat more than you would have previously so that you can feel more satiated, while still allowing you to lose weight.
Eat more, exercise more, and then start to drop weight.
Final Notes on How To Get Lean
So, the next time you start on your goal to look lean and SHREDDED or hear of someone trying to lose bodyweight, you have an idea of what it takes.
I recommend anyone trying to get leaner does so with a partner. You can make each other accountable and help each other during the times when it gets hard. Just remember, consistency is the key.
Exercise intensely while consuming appropriate amounts of calories before starting to slowly decrease calories over time. As you reach your goals, keep training hard but then you may begin to eat more so that you are in caloric balance with your activity level, or excess to build muscle.
I wish you the best of luck and remember to keep getting stronger!
Read Part 1: JACKED Muscle Plan – How To Get Bigger! >>
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