How do I get lean and stay lean? Of course everyone wants to know the answer to this question. And yet, somehow we all really already know the answer. After all, this isn’t rocket science! The answer is one we often do not want to hear and certainly don’t want to do. But here it is!
Yep! That’s it. More specifically, modifying behavior with regard to food choices is the key to becoming lean. When we mention behavior modification related to food, a couple of things are assumed…
- that we’re not talking about a quick fix short-term weight or fat loss
- that this is to be a lifestyle change not temporary change
- that you are participating in at least some regular exercise
Behavior Modification is the very thing the Personal Training industry is built on. Even still, many health clubs and trainers rarely mention eating at all and if they do, they certainly don’t give you a plan outlining your meals that is specific to you, your lifestyle and your goals.
Another thing we have to think about is exercise. With few exceptions, it’s safe to say that exercise alone does not make you leaner. Exercise makes your muscles toned, your body firm, it makes you feel good, gives you energy, it can increase metabolism, it reduces risk of disease, and on and on. The benefits of exercise are endless. But, with just a few exceptions, exercise by itself generally will not make you lean. In fact, some of the time it makes you hungry and if you are not in the habit of choosing quality foods and working out regularly, you may tend to eat more of the foods that keep the pounds on. Don’t rely on exercise alone to produce lasting weight and fat loss results.
Exercise certainly supports and promotes weight loss, but it is not the primary key to losing weight or body fat. Obviously tremendous amounts of exercise done each day will likely take the pounds off, but that type of training is uncommon and not healthy over the long-term. Of course we hear about the girl who weighed 145 lbs. and began a program with no changes in eating and lost 10 lbs. right away and looks great. Typically, this person is already eating pretty well and exercise is their limiting factor, not food. No matter how you cut it, this situation is rare.
This article is directed toward the other 99.9% of the population that try to exercise to lose body fat and don’t. This population needs to modify food choices over the long-term in order to reach their goals. This is the majority of people – this is me and, this is more than likely you. If you need a real life example, think of the ultimate physique athletes, the body builder. They typically train hard year-round, but, when it comes time to compete and get lean, they go on what is called a “pre-contest” or “cutting” diet. Their exercise is usually modified to some degree as well, but their primary method for achieving a lean, muscular look is a significant daily, weekly and monthly modification of their nutrition.
So next time you’re thinking about losing weight and getting lean, remember, your food is the thing that must change in order to achieve lasting success. The exercise will take that success and make it look awesome!
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