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Is Being Really Lean Really Worth It?

Asking whether or not or not being actually lean is absolutely value it — within the health business, no much less — may appear to be an odd factor to think about, notably to individuals for whom “fitness” and “leanness” are virtually interchangeable. At the very least, the search to be “more fit” is usually synonymous with “getting leaner,” and in my 13+ years of expertise many women set a aim of getting “really lean” with out ever asking themselves if it’s what they really need.

I feel that’s a part of what makes our work at Girls Gone Strong so distinctive. We firmly consider in autonomy and in offering evidence-based, body-positive info to assist each lady attain her private objectives, no matter these objectives could also be. Those objectives might embrace turning into actually lean. Or not. Our objective is to empower and provides each lady the area to make all the selections she needs about her physique and her life — together with altering her aesthetics — with out judgment.

The notion of what “really lean” means can range from one individual to the subsequent.

In common, with regards to attaining a leaner physique, it’s necessary to think about a number of key factors:

  1. Every physique is totally different, and a few individuals can keep a leaner physique extra simply than others.
  2. Going past your wholesome degree of leanness can create further stress on your physique.
  3. While some individuals are naturally very lean, for lots of different individuals it’s not regular and should not even be wholesome to be “shredded” on a regular basis.
  4. Getting leaner requires life modifications which you will or will not be able to make — and that’s OK!

Let’s discover every of those.

1. Every physique is totally different, and a few individuals can keep a leaner physique extra simply than others.

For each one that can eat no matter they need, skip train, and nonetheless keep a lean physique, there’s another person who follows a really strict food regimen, workouts persistently, will get sufficient sleep, takes nice care of themselves, but nonetheless carries extra physique fats than they like.

While we completely have some management over our physique composition, our genes play a role. There are issues we will do to make one of the best of our genetics, however finally we’re a product of our mother and father. If you come from a really lean household it might be simpler so that you can keep a leaner physique than somebody whose household isn’t as lean.

It’s essential to know that environmental elements such because the meals we have been uncovered to as youngsters and the exercise ranges inspired in several households additionally play a task within the expression of genes [1].

As our genetic predispositions are totally different, the best way our our bodies react to leanness additionally differs. Over the years I’ve had numerous pals and shoppers who go about their on a regular basis lives fairly lean with none issues. They eat properly and train arduous, however they really feel excellent and have a ton of power at that degree of leanness. On the opposite hand, I grow to be foggy-brained, really feel chilly on a regular basis, and lose my interval (a situation referred to as amenorrhea) when my physique goes past a sure degree of leanness. I keep in mind how in 2006, within the ultimate six weeks earlier than my first determine competitors, every of my limbs felt like they weighed 300 kilos. It was depressing!

For years I felt annoyed by my physique’s response to my getting lean, however through the years I’ve absolutely embraced my physique and am very snug with the extent of leanness at which my health, performance, aesthetics, and lifestyle optimally intersect.

2. Going past your wholesome degree of leanness is usually a stressor on your physique.

The signs I described above — fatigue, “heavy” limbs, mind fog, amenorrhea — don’t often seem when your physique is wholesome and functioning properly. Generally, the physique doesn’t like giant fluctuations of any type (e.g. sure hormone ranges, blood pH, coronary heart fee, and blood strain) as a result of sustaining homeostasis feels, and is, protected.

If you attempt to attain a degree of leanness that’s greater than what your physique is snug with, it might battle again. Symptoms like fatigue and “heavy” limbs could be your physique’s means of encouraging you to be extra sedentary, and thus, sluggish or reverse weight reduction. Amenorrhea might happen if/when your physique is not sure of whether or not you will have sufficient sustenance out there to help a being pregnant. These are just some examples of how the physique might battle again towards an unhealthy or unsustainable degree of leanness for you.

three. It’s not widespread — and for many individuals, it is probably not wholesome — to stroll round shredded on a regular basis.

Being lean and being wholesome aren’t all the time synonymous, regardless of what ubiquitous “fitspo” (or health inspiration) pictures throughout social media would have us consider. These pictures of extraordinarily lean women with motivational sayings like “Winners by no means take a time off!” or “Train insane or remain the same!” not solely promote unsustainable habits, additionally they give a false sense of normalcy — even when we know that adequate recovery is an integral component in getting the results we want.

We’re anticipated to consider that’s simply how these fashions look on a regular basis, when in actuality there’s a good quantity of weight-reduction plan, strategic lighting, and photograph modifying going into these pictures. Furthermore, as Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez factors out, these pictures additionally have a tendency to advertise the concept there’s only one way to have a “fit” body, and we all know this isn’t true. There is not any flawed strategy to have a physique, and match and wholesome our bodies are available all kinds of sizes and shapes.

four. Getting leaner requires way of life modifications, which you will or will not be able to make — and that’s OK!

I used to coach a a Division I women’s soccer participant who was naturally slim, athletic, and lean, but she was taken with dropping fats in her decrease physique. We mentioned her coaching, vitamin, and way of life elements, all of which have been aligned together with her present physique form and measurement (and the Female Fitness Blueprint we define right here), and included area for an occasional cupcake, beer, or glass of wine (or two). With this info in hand, I needed to be trustworthy together with her: in an effort to see modifications in her already-lean physique, she would wish to get fairly a bit stricter in her weight loss plan and way of life.

When I requested if she was she prepared to make these modifications, the reply was a swift no, and that’s completely OK.

If you don’t need to make further way of life modifications with a purpose to change your physique, that’s totally as much as you. This athlete discovered the spot at which her aesthetics, efficiency, health, and way of life intersected in a approach that labored for her. None none of them have been precisely the place she needed them to be — understanding her, I’m sure she would have loved being stronger, leaner, more healthy, and capable of be extra relaxed together with her vitamin all on the similar time — however she had a strong stability.

If ensuring sacrifices as a way to get extraordinarily lean — (e.g. skipping social occasions, being in mattress by 9 p.m. each night time, coaching twice a day, and so forth.) appear value it to you, that’s implausible! Just acknowledge specializing in getting extraordinarily lean in that means might have an effect on your way of life, optimum health, and efficiency a bit as you give attention to aesthetics for some time.

That’s the facility of autonomy: work out what you need, work out what it takes to get there, after which determine if it is sensible for your life. That selection is completely yours.

Time to Get Introspective!

If you’re tempted to pursue a extra excessive degree of leanness, listed here are some questions it is best to ask your self first. They might make it easier to devise your personal plan of action and, on the very least, help you in uncovering your motivations:

  • How lean do I need to be?
  • Why is that this aim necessary to me?
  • Am I feeling any outdoors strain to pursue this aim?
  • What do I envision my life life can be like when I’ve achieved that aim?
  • Have I attempted to realize this objective earlier than? How did I really feel mentally and emotionally? Physically?

Even should you don’t have a solution to all of those questions immediately, taking the time to discover them may help you uncover why you’re considering turning into actually lean.

We perceive that you could be need to change your physique — the best way you look, the best way you are feeling, the best way you carry out — however we additionally consider that you’re sufficient as you’re on this second. You can love your physique as it’s, whereas nonetheless wanting it to look, really feel, or carry out in another way than it does proper now.


  1. Weinhold B. Epigenetics: The Science of Change. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2006;114(three):A160-A167.

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