So You Want To Get Lean, huh?
Follow these Steps For Success
By Dr. Rick Kattouf II
Getting lean; does this mean simply losing weight? Great question and the answer is, No. These are two completely different worlds. Losing weight is easy, just stop eating all together. No, of course I’m not recommending this. Rather, it’s just a dramatic example to show how easy it is to lose weight.
Getting lean on the other hand requires a ton of time, effort, energy, hard work, commitment, discipline, focus and more. Getting lean is what virtually everyone wants but very few achieve. Why? Well, it’s simple. Like everything in life, the bigger the goal, the bigger commitment. Getting lean is a massive, massive commitment. And those that are willing to do what it takes will achieve it. Those that are not are going to fall short.
Now, let’s set the stage. This is not about getting lean, rather, this is about staying lean. And again, two different worlds. I’m talking about getting lean and staying lean every single day, 365 days per year. This is not about going thru a massive weight cut, getting lean for a day, and then quickly packing on 20, 30, 40 pounds. In addition, this is about getting and staying lean naturally and not with the assistance of substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List such as testosterone and other anabolic agents, DHEA and other pro hormones, HCG, HGH, estrogen blockers, diuretics, etc.
And remember, we are talking LEAN; abs-showing lean on both men and women, this is the lean we are talking about. And by no means is not achieving this level of low body fat a failure. Again, for the purposes of this article, I’m addressing when individuals say, ‘Rick, I want abs, I want to be lean!’ OK, get ready because remember, as mentioned above, the bigger the goal, the bigger commitment. From a body fat perspective, for females, we are looking to achieve 14-17% body fat and for men, 6-9% body fat. And remember, we are not getting lean, we are staying lean. Point being, these are levels easily maintained year-round. And when I say ‘easily’, I simply mean that the individual is willing to put in the work and enjoys the focus and discipline. NOTE: These are body fat %’s measured on a body fat scale, not calipers. Calipers can tend to measure quite low. For example, calipers may measure a female at 17% body fat when in fact, the accurate measurement on a body fat scale is 21-22%.
Either way, we can throw out the numbers and focus on one area, the midsection. If the abs are ripped (not just like barely, slightly visible), you are lean. If you are looking to achieve this level of success, let’s get started:
- Understand the goal: The goal is to get lean of course. And unfortunately, the norm has shifted greatly. In my 28-years of personal training and coaching, I’ve seen a huge shift in individuals’ mindset. For example, a female 5’3”, 200 pounds, often thinks that the ‘big goal’ is to get to 170 pounds. Now, nothing wrong with this goal, it’s a great goal. But we have to keep things in perspective. At 170 pounds, this female is still obese. In her mind she thinks, ‘wow, 30-pound loss would be awesome.’ Where decades ago, this 5’3” female is going for that 14% body fat and will probably weigh about 110 pounds. Again, the norm has just shifted, therefore, each individual just has to really understand what it means and what it takes to get and stay lean. And that is perfectly fine if an individual chooses not to put forth the effort and energy to get lean. And staying at 170 pounds is just fine for them. It all comes down to choices and consequences. Each choice we make has a consequence, good or bad; and we just have to accept the consequences of our choices. If our choice is not to take the necessary steps to get lean, we have to accept the consequence of being heavier and having a higher amount of body fat.
- Nutrition, Nutrition, Nutrition: Nutrition cannot be stressed enough as this is the key component in getting lean. Most individuals think they can just out work their nutrition by simply working out more and working out harder; good luck with that. To understand how you cannot out work your nutrition, look no further than the world of endurance sports. Go to any major marathon (26.2 mile running race). Now, on the surface, you may think that anyone that is prepared to conquer 26.2 miles is going to be lean and mean. Well, just the opposite. A large majority of endurance competitors are overweight and obese. Now, is this because of a lack of exercise? Absolutely not. These folks put in a ton of training and a ton of miles. So how can someone who works out 15, 20, 25 hours a week still be overweight and obese? Easy, their nutrition is off, way off. And no, proper nutrition does not mean following the latest food fad and diet because a DIET is simply a, Disaster Imminent Every Time®! Proper nutrition means eating right (not just eating healthy). Proper nutrition means fueling the body (not just feeding the body). Proper nutrition is nailing your fueling frequency and fueling timing each day (not skipping meals thinking that eating less is better). Proper nutrition is having 50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, 25% fat at every meal/snack (not about calories in versus calories out).
- Sleep: The importance of sleep each night cannot be stressed enough. Getting the proper sleep quality and quantity every night (7-8+ hours) is a key component to overall health & fitness, body composition, performance and recovery. Use a sleep tracker each night so that you can start to monitor your sleep quality, quantity and resting heart rate each night.
- Chew on Iron: Strength training, strength training, strength training; this is s huge key to success when it comes to getting lean. When strength training is combined with the right nutrition and the right sleep, watch out; you have set yourself up for amazing success. What does it mean to get lean? Well, it means we have to burn body fat. How do we burn body fat? We have to build muscle. How do we build muscle? We have to strength train. It’s that simple. And we need to strength train frequently and consistently; 4-6 days per week, every week. EXCUSES WE’VE ALL USED TO SKIP WEIGHT TRAINING. And no, strength training does not mean yoga and Pilates. Nothing wrong with these, but these are not substitutes for weight training. Is walking instead of running going to make you a better runner? No. Nor is yoga a substitute for strength training. You can join the LEANDOWN FITNESS® virtual gym and get all of your strength training workouts. You can access your workouts from the web or app, communicate with other virtual gym members, communicate with expert coaches, log your workouts, track your workouts and more.
- Follow Your Heart: Monitoring your heart rate during cardiovascular exercise is going to be a huge assist on the journey to getting lean. When folks want to lose body fat, how do they treat their cardiovascular exercise? They sprint; it’s like an all-out effort every time they hit the treadmill. Ever watch someone like this at the gym? They spend more time standing on the side rails of the treadmill, bent over, gasping for air while the treadmill belt continues to fly by at 10 mph! Let’s get away from the sprint mentality and the ‘harder is better’ mentality. And let’s start to train smart. And no, by no means is training smart mean training easy, not even close. It simply means, training smart. Let’s maximize each cardiovascular workout. You do not need to do short interval sprints. You do not need to work out so hard that you then need 3 days to recover. Workout smart, get in some good sustained efforts at a modest heart rate that is challenging, but sustainable. And at an effort that you can quickly recover from and repeat again tomorrow.
- Supplement for Success: Could you do all of your running workouts in work boots? Absolutely. But, what if you supplement the work boots with a good pair of running shoes? Well, you are going to run better, perform better, recover better and reduce risk of injury. Nutrition supplements to your performance and recovery is the running shoes to your running workouts; nothing shy of essential. The right pre workout supplements, nitric oxide stimulators, post workout/recovery supplements and energy bars are a key component to getting lean and mean. This is what makes supplements like 5-Round Fury®, FerociFire Xtreme®, Load-Reload, K II Kookie Brownie Bar®, etc., so valuable to the getting-lean process.
Whether you are a female looking to get to 25% or 15% body fat or a male looking to get to 15% or 6% body fat, follow these steps above and you will continue to take one successful step at a time and get one step closer to the mountain top. Let’s make it happen!
SHOW YOUR WORKOUT WHO’S BOSS®!
Rick Kattouf II, O.D. is a 2x Best-Selling Author and Fitness & Nutrition expert and has been named one of America’s PremierExperts® and one of the World Fitness Elite® Trainers of the Year. Rick is a Sports Nutrition Specialist, Heart Rate Performance Specialist, Master Personal Trainer & Triathlon Coach. He has been seen on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox affiliates around the country as well as in the USA Today, Chicago Tribune, National Examiner, Ironman.com, Livestrong.com, Runner’s World, Bicycling Magazine, Men’s Health UK, FIGHT! Magazine, Florida Cycling Magazine and The Independent in the UK. Rick is the CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Inc, CEO/Founder of TeamKattouf® Nutrition LLC, CEO/Founder of Virtual Gym LLC, Creator of TeamKattouf® Nutrition Supplements, Host of Rx Nutrition, author of Forever Fit, Creator of 5-Round Fury® Nutrition Supplement, 5-Round Fury Fitness® workout app, Creator of Coach2CEO, Creator of Fuel Keeper®, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. Dr. Rick has personally coached individuals in 30+ states and 10+ countries.