5 Things You Need to Know to Get Lean
Live by these 5 rules in the gym—and the kitchen!—to help reveal that lean body.
If youâ€™re looking to get mean and lean, you've come to the right place! Summer winding down which means fewer distractions like vacations and BBQâ€™s to derail your fitness goals. Now is the perfect time to ramp your workouts into high gear and get that physique you have always wanted.
Youâ€™ll need to live by these 5 rules in the gymâ€”and the kitchen!â€”to help reveal that lean body.
Get enough protein
Protein takes the most energy to digest: Between 20 and 30% of the calories in each gram of protein are burned during digestion, compared to 5-10% of the calories in carbohydrates. So if you eat 100 calories' worth of protein, you're left with 70 to 80 calories after digestion, versus 90 to 95 calories from carbs. It adds up fast and your waistline will thank you. Protein is also essential for repairing your muscles after workouts. Most women needÂ between 50 and 60 grams per day, but it depends on your weight and activity level. Try this formula to figure out how much protein you need. So next time youâ€™re thinking of snacking on those baked chips, grab a Greek yogurt or some string cheese instead.
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Do more interval training
Iâ€™ve said it before and I'll say it again: To get the most bang for your buck, high-intensity interval training is the way to go. It involves a mix of exercise types, like strength-training and cardio, with minimal rest between moves (like 15 to 30 seconds). Not only is it the most time-efficient workout style, it has been proven to burn more fat and calories than a traditional steady-state cardio workout. You'll also continue to burn more calories and fat in the 24 hours after you finishâ€”an added bonus. Aim to do interval training up to 3 times a week, but no more. Just like anything else too much of a good thing can backfire. You want to give your body ample time to recover. Try this 15-Minute Workout to Change Your Fat toÂ Muscle.
Take photos and track progress
When you look in the mirror to try to see the effects of your workout routine, sometimes it can be hard to notice any results if you have nothing to compare it to. Take pictures throughout all the different stages of your workout and diet efforts so you have a benchmark. This will also help motivate you as you can see your body actively changing week to week. Think of this to push you through that last grinding round of intervals.
Lift heavier weights
To make sure youâ€™re working your muscles to their fullest potential, try adding heavier weights to your workout once or twice a week. By switching up your routine and challenging your muscles with weights theyâ€™re not familiar with, theyâ€™ll be forced to work harder, change body composition, and increase your lean muscle mass. The more muscle you have the more calories you will burn throughout the day. So instead of grabbing your usual dumbbells, reach for the next heaviest weight, whether that's 10 pounds, 12, 15, or more.
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Sometimes we need a change from the routine, so make a game out of your next workout! Doing something like playing volleyball or soccer will get your blood flowing, muscles burning and youâ€™ll be torching calories all while youâ€™re having fun. Since sports have you running in all different directions you get a better cardio workout versus a linear cardio regimen on the treadmill. You donâ€™t have to be good at sports to play them; just get out there and have a good time while toning your lean body.
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CWâ€™s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestantsâ€™ to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBCâ€™s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer onÂ Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.