What exactly is getting lean and how do you do it? Do you need strict dieting combined with a rigorous workout routine? Or can you get lean with just a solid diet, without the need of hitting the gym or buying a yoga mat?
These are common questions most fitness rookies ask. I wondered the same thing when I was first starting my fitness journey. Thus, I’ve gathered all the information you’ll need!
Being lean means not having any excess fat in your body. You can decrease your body fat by eating clean and making sure your nutrition is on point. It will take longer to get results if you only change your diet without doing any form of workout.
Now, let’s take a deeper dive to get a better understanding about getting lean.
Can You Get Lean Just With Diet and No Exercise?
What does being lean mean exactly? A lean body does not have any excess body fat. This means having somewhat of a small waist, slim arms, and slim legs.
Not to confuse being lean with being thin. When someone is thin it does not necessarily mean this person has a low body fat percentage. Some people appear thin but have a high body fat percentage, this is what we call skinny fat.
So, can you get lean with just changing your diet?
In order to get lean without exercise, you must be strict with your diet. Since you aren’t burning any fat from working out, you have to make sure you follow a rigorous eating plan. You have to consume clean food and cut out sugar and any unhealthy food that can cause you to gain fat.
Without working out, getting lean might be a little tricky, since you might also lose muscle in the process. And our goal is to get lean, not just skinny. You build muscles by working out. So, it is unlikely that you will gain muscle while you are not exercising. Therefore, you must make sure the foods you are eating will not only help you lose fat but also help you maintain the muscles you already have in your body in order for you to look lean.
How Can You Get Lean Without Exercise?
So, now you know that it is possible to decrease the fat in your body just by clean eating. How do you achieve that? What do you need to eat in order to get rid of the extra fat?
To be able to shed fat you must really clean your diet. These are the things you must do to get lean with just a good diet plan:
Protein will be your fat-burning best friend. It has a ton of benefits that will help you achieve your dream body. Protein can help you with both gaining weight and losing weight. Thus, make sure to not overdo it, so you don’t end up gaining instead of losing weight.
Choosing lean meat will help you get more protein in with less calories, since fat from meat is high in calories. Figure out the grams of protein your body needs daily. This will depend from person to person.
Consider buying protein powder, since they are a great and easy way for increasing your protein without consuming a lot of calories. You can also use some protein shakes as meal replacements to speed up the weight loss process. Studies have shown that whey protein is the best for losing fat.
Cut out sugar and bad carbs
You don’t have to cut out all carbs, because carbohydrates give us energy.
The carbs you should avoid are the ones from sugar. If you want to get lean you must say goodbye to simple carbs and sugar. Sugar is high in calories, plus it gets stored as fat. That is why you need to avoid sugar if you plan to get lean.
So, instead of getting calorie-filled donuts, why not go for your favorite fruit? There are also so many dessert recipes out there that are delicious and sugar free!
Consume healthy fat
Healthy fats from peanut butter, avocados, olive oils (and so on) will also give you energy throughout the day. So it is crucial to also include these in your diet. Additionally, these dietary fats help us absorb nutrients.
Just be careful with your serving sizes, as fats are very calorie-dense.
Example: 2 tablespoons of nut butters are roughly 200 calories.
More soluble Fiber
There are two kinds of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fiber. Since we are trying to lose fat, let us focus on soluble fiber. Like protein, soluble fibers are natural appetite suppressants as well. When you eat enough of it, it will help you manage your hunger throughout the day.
Plus, they are excellent for fat loss especially for those who want to lose fat in the belly area.
Some foods that are rich in soluble fiber are: oats, apples, sunflower seed, hazelnuts, barley, citrus fruits, and carrots.
This is pretty obvious. Since you have to shed fat in order to get lean, you must burn more calories than you consume. In order to get lean with just a diet plan and burn more without exercising, you must control the portions of your food. Control your servings of protein, carbs, and fat.
There are several ways to help you control your portions and the amount of calories you eat in a day.
First, get educated on the amount of calories that are in the food you are eating. In the beginning of my “get lean” journey, I started looking up food calories. Like the calories that are in oil, meats, rice, bread, etc. Which made me realize that I was eating a lot more calories than what my body needs.
Next, figure out your daily calorie and macro needs to burn fat. You can use an app to track you calories and macros. I personally use MyFitnessPal. It really makes tracking calories easier than just eyeballing the portions of your food.
Finally, meal prep! Prepping your meals will make your life so much easier!
More good quality sleep
Believe it or not, sleep plays a great role in weight loss. We need 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Not getting enough sleep will trigger a cortisol spike in your body. This stress hormone can increase your appetite.
On top of that, not getting enough sleep will slow down your resting metabolism rate, which is the number of calories you burn while you are sleeping.
Lastly, lack of sleep will cause fatigue, which will make you less active throughout the day. If you are less active, you burn less calories, therefore burn less fat.
Check your gut health
Our guts are important parts of our body that we usually forget to check. What does the gut do exactly? The gut is responsible for extracting energy, absorbing nutrients, and removing waste. Your gut health will not directly help you lose fat. However, the bacteria in your gut will affect how you digest food which will help you in losing, maintaining, and gaining weight.
Alcohol is high in calories. If you are someone who enjoys drinking regularly, cutting out alcohol from your diet will reduce your caloric intake by a lot. As a result, this will help you shed some of that extra weight!
I know I said you can get lean by just fixing your diet, so what do I mean you should get active?
I am not saying do a full-on workout, that contradicts everything we’re discussing here. But, if you want to get lean without exercising, you must be more active throughout your day. It will be hard to get a lean body just by sitting around all day. So the next time you want to use the elevator, why not try taking the stairs for a change. Take walks, go shopping (not online shopping!), or just be more active around the house. There are many ways to move more without actually working out.
Can you still lose weight without exercising?
You can definitely lose weight without exercising by simply eating less calories than what you normally eat in a day. Just remember that losing weight is different from getting lean.
When we say weight loss, we are talking about decreasing your number on the scale. So you can be losing body fat and/or muscle mass and that will still be counted as weight loss. But, getting lean is different. It is all about losing just body fat.
Losing weight is easier than strictly shedding body fat. When you are planning to just lose weight, you don’t have to be strict with your diet. As long as you are in a caloric deficit, you will be able to lose body weight. When you lose weight, you will get slimmer but it doesn’t necessarily mean you will get leaner. So, if you only focus on weight loss, you might not get as tight as you could get with getting lean.
What happens if you work out but don’t diet?
If you are looking to lose weight or get lean, exercising without proper nutrition will not give you much results. Eating clean is a major factor in transforming your body. Without proper nutrition your body will have a hard time repairing and growing your muscles, and burning body fat.
So, if you really want to enhance your body, you must combine clean eating with a good workout routine.
What is skinny fat?
Skinny fat is when a person looks slim, skinny, or in a normal weight range but has a high body fat percentage and low amount of muscle mass. You will usually see people appearing slim but have noticeable excess fat usually in their midsection, thighs, and/or arms.
To fix a skinny-fat body type, you must lose fat and gain muscle. This will be achieved with a good diet and by exercising.