New year, new you? If you’re looking to burn fat and get an enviable physique, you’ll want to work towards getting lean. But how can guys get lean and build muscle?
It’s one of those things where the theory is easier than the practice. And, the truth is, it’ll also depend massively on things like your lifestyle, your diet and even your body goals.
That said, there are a number of golden rules that you do need to follow if you want to get lean and toned.
These are plenty of diet and fitness plans out there in web land (not to mention fitness influencers), so these are more general guidelines that will help you get lean and muscular as part of your general fitness goals.
Please be aware that this is NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. This article is intended as guidance to help you get started on your healthy lifestyle journey. You should always do your research before changing anything about your lifestyle. And if you have any medical conditions, consult a healthcare professional first.
1. Cut out alcohol
If you enjoy a tipple, there is no getting around it. Alcohol is the definition of waste calories and is gonna scupper all your weight loss plans. So, if you wanna get lean, stop drinking alcohol. Yes, that includes ‘low fat’ drinks like vodka and soda.
Cheat days are fine, and you might enjoy a drink on one of those. But, avoid excess as alcohol also makes you want to eat shitty food. Talking of which…
2. Drop the carbs
You should never eliminate a whole food group from your diet, and we do in fact need carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet. The trick is to reduce your carbohydrate intake and not to make them the focal component of your mealtimes.
So if you live on rice, french fries or bread, you’ll need to work out how to cut back.
It’s also a good idea to cut the carbs steadily. On your first week, cut 50% of the carbs from your diet. On the third week, drop it by 50% again.
Low carb diets such as the keto diet are great for helping you burn fat and get lean. But they do come with their own side effects and risks – so research first.
3. Add three sessions of cardio per week
Get at least three sessions of moderate exercise which raises your heart rate every week. This means running, cycling, swimming, cross trainer, HIITs… Whatever gets you sweating.
These exercise regimes will get your body burning those fats and improve your metabolism too.
4. Add core exercises to your daily routine
A great way to aid you on your journey to getting ripped is to add 20 minutes of core exercises to your day. This means doing some press ups, sit ups, chin ups, yoga, pilates or anything else that works your chest and stomach.
If you can’t quite manage 20 minutes, get what you can. Start by doing as many press ups and sit ups as you can when you wake up, and add more as you progress.
5. Use intermittent fasting
There are a number of different ways to do intermittent fasting, but the easiest is to skip breakfast 3 times a week.
Assuming you finish eating your evening meal at around 7pm, if you can get to 1pm the next day, thats 18 hours of fasting.
There are many benefits to intermittent fasting, or IF. It helps to cleanse your body, it burns off fats and it is actually good for your brain and your memory. Again, there are risks, so consult a medical professional if you think you might be in a high risk medical category.
6. Drink more water
Most people don’t drink enough water. So… try and drink 2 litres of water each day. That might seem like a lot, but if you mix it up with herbal teas and even the one or two cups of coffee, it’s easy to achieve.
And, if you’re doing exercise, you might find that you’ll need to drink more water.
Drinking water also helps you feel fuller, especially if you drink before meals. And if you want to get lean and muscular, you want to avoid eating too much – so water can help you there too!
7. Have a weights plan
An essential component of getting muscular is always going to be lifting weights. Like all things, start within your limit and increase your plan as you progress.
Using free weights or the weights machine in the gym are both excellent.
Do you need to use weight? Not necessarily. Plenty of people get to the body goals simply by using their body weight as resistance during exercises.
It will depend on your lifestyle goals and your own capacity for visiting a gym. Not all of us love it!
8. Take up a high impact sport
The easiest way to do anything is to have fun doing it. And sports make everything fun…!
If you want to speed up your journey to get lean and muscular, consider taking up a sport.
Some of the best sports to improve your physique are:
- Martial arts
- Rock climbing
- Long distance running
- Cross country running
There are probably tons more sports you can get involved with that will get you lean in no time. Even playing football, rugby, tennis or other sports can be a great help in your fitness journey.
Check out our list of cool sports for some inspiration.
9. Have a plan
If you have body goals, have a plan. This will help you get there quicker, and keep you on track. You will also be able to celebrate the wins, identify what isn’t working and find areas to improve.
Having a plan to get fit is a good way to make sure you stick to a plan! After all, if you don’t have a plan, it can be easy to get sidetracked.
10. Have rest days
You need to live a little, right? So allow yourself days when you relax and don’t do any exercise. Enjoy a movie, eat a pizza and maybe drink a small glass of wine.
Not going to excess on these rest days is important though, so don’t undo all your hard work. Reward yourself for your hard work, take a breather, and then get back to the plan!
11. Give yourself a target
A good way to keep yourself on track is to sign up for an event, such as a marathon, triathlon, trip to Everest or whatever…
Keep it realistic, and give yourself ample time to hit your fitness goals as you approach your target. For a marathon for example, you might want to allow yourself 6 months to get your stamina and your general fitness up.
And as part of this, you’ll also get lean and toned too!
So there you go… Those are our best tips for getting lean and muscular. Any suggestions or tips of your own? Let us know in the comments below.