At some stage or another we have all had the goal of getting leaner or toned depending on your choice of vocabulary. We want to cut down body fat and maintain our existing muscle mass to improve how we look, particularly in the summer time.
Here are 4 steps you should be checking off your checklist to ensure you are well on your way to achieving your lean look.
In terms of ‘toning up’ and ‘leaning out’ protein should be your best friend. A term we associate with protein is “protein turnover”. This is when you are either in a state of protein synthesis, which is the growth of lean muscle, or protein breakdown which is the breakdown of lean muscle. To achieve a consistent state of protein synthesis you should have a protein source with every meal you have throughout the day (minimum 4) as well as spacing these meals out evenly. Protein also promotes satiety which leads to you feeling full and satisfied for longer, reducing the urge to snack more regularly.
The daily nutritional guidelines for protein are 1.6 – 2.2grams per kilogram of bodyweight.
For example: 1.6g x 70kg = 112g of protein
2.2g x 70kg = 154g of protein
This would be the daily requirement for an individual weighing 70kg regardless of physical activity Level (1)
For a list of 20 different protein sources click here.
We know at this stage that water supports life; without it we wouldn’t function. Water is critical to your metabolic function and for overall health. Water also reduces appetite which has been shown that drinking a pint and a half of water an hour before meals can aid with weight loss.
The daily nutritional guidelines for water intake are 30–40millilitres per kilogram of bodyweight
For example: 0.3 (to convert to litres) x 70kg = 2.1 litres of water
0.4 x 70kg = 2.8 litres of water
This would be the daily requirement for an individual weighing 70kg and DOESN’T include sweat loss through Physical Activity. (2)
Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (N.E.A.T) is daily life movement that isn’t physical activity.
- Playing with the Kids
- Fidgeting, tapping your fingers and feet etc
- Carrying Groceries etc.
All movement has an energy (calories) cost. The main form of expending energy is through exercise, but we can also utilise N.E.A.T to our advantage. There is a belief that if we engaged in 10,000 steps a day combined with daily physical activity (45mins) or dietary counselling it would help us to get more lean. (3)
Sleep plays the housekeeping role in removing toxins from your body that build up while you were awake. In the context that we are discussing here sleep is critical in regulating key hormones that play a role in your body composition targets. Leptin, ghrelin and cortisol are regulated by sleep and will all interfere with your goal to achieve a certain body fat percentage. Excess cortisol in the body, reduced levels of leptin and increased levels of ghrelin are associated with short sleep duration and are known to increase body mass index (BMI) (4). 7-9 hours sleep is the optimum target for anyone looking to get lean.