I'm pulling you in today with the eye candy headline. 👀
I will unpack my lessons in getting lean, but first, I want to reframe this conversation. I honestly think these strategies are more so the best ways to modify and develop your body versus solely a shrink or bulk discussion. Historically, I've seen the body morphing conversation in fitness focus on either getting lean or getting big. My goal is to make it about empowerment through a deeper physiological understanding. 🙌🏽
Let's dive right into the first category and the strategies that work best for evolving our bodies: how and what we eat!
If you haven't seen or heard about famous actors getting in shape for movie roles by now, let me bring you up to speed. The training is always intense, involving extremes in fitness and nutrition. However, the one strategy that always sticks out for the bulky action stars is the dedication to phasic eating and lifting. Hugh Jackman was the poster child in the role of Wolverine. This phasic training from the bodybuilding world focuses on bulking and then cutting. The cutting stage is an individually specific timeline where one would dial in their macros to maintain muscle mass while maximizing fat loss. It takes a lot of discipline and is frankly not that fun.
We can, however, utilize a simple and enjoyable process through intermittent fasting—turning on the body's natural ability to maximize energy sources. IFing just a couple of days a week can stimulate fat burning while maintaining muscle mass and conserving strength. When we combine exercise with a fasted state, we can genuinely prime the body for fat loss. It works exceptionally well. You'll always want to take a careful approach when fasting and exercising at extremes with intense workouts and depleted energy stores. The combo can leave us vulnerable to harm. Either consult with a seasoned professional or do your homework before diving into the deep end here.
Now that we’ve covered the when let’s dial in the simple how. There is no secret here. Eat real food with plenty of plants while avoiding sugar and alcohol. Natural food across the board is just a better resource of energy and cellular repair. Plants will help keep you fresh and reduce inflammation. Protein will be vital in sustaining your development, though you don't have to overthink it in terms of calculations. Follow your instincts and consider taking fish or algae oil for supplementation.
Avoiding sugar will go a long way. High amounts of sugar in our blood will slow down the body's need to keep releasing fat as a fuel source. An elevated insulin level means a higher level of storage. Not an ideal metabolic state if we are trying to reduce fat and shape our physiological form. Speaking of metabolism, alcohol has no redeeming qualities for physiological development. Calories from alcohol are not a fuel source, and our appetite is thrown off balance. The bottom line is the less we drink, the more we are in control of our metabolic fate.