Many people who want to lose weight also want to get leaner and fitter. Doing so means shedding fat and leaving lean muscles. Sometimes, they may also want to increase their muscle mass but remain within a decent weight range.
However, with the ways of modern life, doing this can be difficult for many people who might not have the time to exercise or cannot kick ingrained dietary habits. That said, you can make a few changes and adopt new habits to help you get leaner.
1. Reduce Your Caloric Intake
The best way to get a lean physique is to have a calorie deficit. Doing so entails utilizing more calories than you consume. It is not enough to cut out food from your diet; it is also important to check which foods you are cutting out. You might cut out foods with high nutritional value if you are not careful, and this can make the process less efficient.
The best way to keep track of your calories is to find foods with fewer of them and high nutritional value and create meals ahead of time. When you do this, you will be less tempted to eat something with little to no nutritional value but still high in calories.
2. Increase Cardio
Besides reducing caloric intake, cardio remains one of the best ways to burn calories. It can be difficult to burn the same number of calories lifting weights as you would riding a bike or doing HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training). The high amounts of calories utilized by doing cardio and similar exercises are also typically higher than the amount your body utilizes due to having bigger muscles. If you are not doing it yet, consider incorporating HIIT and other cardio exercises into your routines.
3. Lift Heavier
Cardio is an excellent way of burning more calories and losing fat, but many people also lose muscle mass as they increase their cardio exercises. The heavier weight forces the body to retain the muscle and is recommended alongside cardio for both men and women.
One thing to remember is that lifting the same weights and doing the same repetitions will lead to a workout plateau. To avoid this, vary the weights and the types of repetitions you do so your body does not get used to the same weights and actions. Even though lifting while getting leaner will not lead to the bulking you see in bodybuilders, you will have a better definition due to having less fat and bigger muscles.
4. Avoid Cheat Meals
Many people “reward” themselves with a cheat meal once they hit a milestone, like losing a specific amount of weight in a given period. Cheat meals can feel great, especially if you have changed your diet while trying to get leaner. The problem with cheat meals is that they can get you back into the bad habits that have hindered getting the leaner body you want.
It is best to avoid cheat meals until you have lost significant weight, with 20 kilograms being a reasonable amount. Also, wait until you have developed new dietary habits before you start eating cheat meals, and even then, limit yourself to one or two a week. Additionally, avoid cheat days as much as you can. The calories you consume in a single day can add up quickly and erase all the gains you have made so far.
5. Eat Adequate Protein
Your body needs the amino acids that are the building blocks of proteins to build muscles. Nutritionists suggest you supplement with 1 gram of protein for every kilogram, not pound, of body weight. However, if you eat a diet with a lot of meat, eggs, dairy products and other foods high in protein, you do not need to supplement.
Getting fitter and leaner takes a bit of time and requires a series of steps and new habits to keep seeing progress. As you change your exercise and diet, remember to have fun to make the process easier.