What does it mean when people say they want to get lean? Usually it means increasing your level of muscularity while losing some of the excess fat deposits in the body. The result, while usually not overly noticeable on the scale, can be a dramatic shift in how you look.
But having a lean, hard body has more benefits besides just how you physically look; but honestly that is a pretty darn good benefit! There is so much more than just looking good even though that is typically the one thing dieters’ focus on more than anything else.
Benefits of Getting Lean
- Increased Energy Levels – Fat is something that you carry around like baggage. Muscles actually carry you around doing work. The leaner you are the less work your muscles have to actually do carrying around that baggage. In addition using your muscles keeps your more active metabolically while fat tends to slow you down and make you sluggish. So getting lean is going to keep your metabolism running at a higher rate which in turn increases your energy level so you can enjoy your life whether it is playing with your kids or doing activities and adventures.
- Better Performance – Having a lean body with strong, toned muscles pays off in everything you do. Yard work and chores are easier, moving objects is not a concern, and even aches and pains from carrying excess weight go away. This is especially important as you get older because your body can keep pace with your spirit.
- Immune System – When you are working on a lean physique that means a good diet rich with proteins, vitamins, and antioxidants that will in turn help boost your immune system. All of that good stuff is going to help build your body up on the inside as well as the outside making it harder for sickness to infiltrate your system.
- Feeling Younger – Most of us felt pretty invincible as a teenager and in our early twenties. It seemed like we could do almost anything. But as we age our bodies slow down and shift away from being lean, active, and energetic. But we can recapture that level of energy and enjoyment simply by working hard to turn back the clock on our bodies and get in the same or better shape we had when younger. Do you ever see those very fit and lean people in their 50’s and 60’s that outperform people in their 30’s?
There is a difference in what we are talking about from just being skinny. A lean person is carrying more muscle on their frame and generally is in better physical condition. A skinny person might have small measurements for their body and on the scale but that doesn’t mean they will have the same benefits as someone who has created a lean, muscled physique.
Also by lean muscle we mean carrying around an appropriate level of muscle density that is at or just above what your body can maintain. Sometimes athletes gain a lot of size to their bodies but it ends up only lasting as long as they put in a high level of maintenance in the gym and with their diets. Generally a well muscled, lean physique is going to be easier to maintain because it is closer to a more natural weight for your body to maintain.
The Bottom Line
Lean and mean is the new thing. People are doing activities like mud runs, CrossFit, and boot camp styled training all with the goal of getting stronger, more muscular, and lean. While some people are still going to work towards building muscles and becoming much larger (certain athletes and bodybuilders), obtaining a lean physique is a great goal as well. The benefits are numerous and it is a much better option that just being average or skinny.