While some people think they can choose the right exercises to accomplish a lean physique, the reality is that there aren’t particular workouts that’ll make you lean.
Being lean means having a low body fat percentage, which you can accomplish with practically any exercise regimen if you aren’t eating at a calorie surplus. It’s like they say; abs are made in the kitchen.
While you can’t spot-reduce particular areas to get a leaner look, there are ways to get you closer to the lean physique you want.
Understand Your Body Type
Generally, body types fall into three categories:
The ectomorphic body type is the typical tall and slender frame, while the endomorphic frame tends toward a more stocky and round frame.
The mesomorphic body type lies somewhere in the middle. On the ectomorphic side of things, you’ll have to work extra hard to build mass, but you’ll find a lean physique easier to maintain.
The opposite is true for the endomorphic body type, which gains mass easily but has difficulty dropping weight.
Your body type will dictate how you respond to exercise and calorie intake, so if your goal is to reach a lean physique you’ll need to plan accordingly.
Try Fasting and Interval Eating
Interval eating, also called intermittent eating or fasting, means fasting for a particular duration of time.
This means you either severely limit your calorie intake or don’t eat at all during that timeframe.
The truth is, if you’re not eating at a calorie deficit you’re not going to lose weight. It doesn’t matter when you eat or how much you exercise, if the math doesn’t add up you won’t drop the weight. That doesn’t mean intermittent fasting doesn’t have its benefits though.
Boosting Cognitive Performance
The body produces insulin to compensate for carbohydrates, so when you stop consuming them, it can give your insulin levels a break. An excess of insulin is associated with subjectively reported brain fog. Fasting could reduce your insulin levels and help clear your head.
Resistance to Diabetes
Speaking of fasting and insulin levels, interval eating is also associated with protection against diabetes. You’re not spiking your insulin levels when you’re not eating every three to five hours. This can help reset your insulin sensitivity, which will guard against the development of insulin resistance.
Losing Weight (By Eating Less)
Again, the key to losing weight is simply burning more calories than you take in. While interval eating isn’t necessarily effective because timing your intake makes a difference, it can help you lose weight anyway. If restricting your eating to certain times means eating less overall, then you’re absolutely going to see results with intermittent fasting.
Exercise for Weight Loss and Stress Reduction
Obviously, exercise will help drive the calorie deficit necessary to pare down on weight and get a leaner physique. But, it’s also valuable for its neurological effects, which lead to better weight loss outcomes. Let me explain.
When you exercise, your body releases hormones like serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine.
These hormones have complex interactions in the body, but you can broadly think of them as the body’s feel-good chemicals. Dopamine relates to your psychological reward and motivation system, while endorphins help calm anxiety and provide a more tranquil sense of well-being.
Another important chemical interaction associated with exercise is the reduction of stress hormones like cortisol, which is associated with weight gain. Cortisol can cause cravings for unhealthy foods and result in fat accumulation around your midsection.
So, reduced stress means a leaner physique, while exercise can reduce stress and raise calorie deficits.
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