The Female Guide to Getting Lean
So many times women ask me, "How can I lose this?" while they're pinching whatever area they want gone. While no two women are exactly the same, there are a few general tips that I can throw out there for you that do the trick whether you're leaning up for aesthetic or performance reasons.
If you weigh 200lbs and are only eating 1,200 calories, you are not eating enough. That doesn't mean break out the donuts, that means increase your protein consumption – to start. A general guide for calorie intake is your bodyweight times ten to twelve. Example: 200lbs x 10 = 2000 cal.
You may be thinking this is a lot of food, but it is not. Women have been taught that starving themselves will make them lose weight. In reality, we don't just want to be smaller do we? Don't we want to be leaner, too? I'm not saying bodybuilding lean, but enough to see a little definition in your arms and/or abs. Most women would answer me with a very loud, “Yes!”
Calorie intake is just one component of many that go into this machine we call our body. The body is much smarter than the average person. You may trick it once or twice, but it will learn how to overcome what you are trying to do to it. The body will combat under eating by hording everything you feed it. Then you jump on a piece of cardio equipment and pedal your little heart out for extensive amounts of time, and still - nothing. Why is that? Keep reading!
Drop the Carbs Down
You don't have to completely eliminate them; doing so would only set you up for failure. Do you even know how many you get in a day? Do you have a food log? Are you logging on a site like Fitday.com or MyFitnessPal.com? Do you know what foods are considered high in carbohydrates?
The foods to reduce in this category would be sugar, which includes candy, cakes, pies, etc. But it also includes fruit. I hear so many people say how healthy they eat and then proceed to tell me they load up on fruit. Fruit is mostly sugar. Natural sugar is still sugar, and it still makes you fat if you eat too much of it. Okay, so we have sugar clarified. More foods that are sugary: pasta, potatoes, some other veggies - research those. Don’t forget rice and bread are sugary, too.
Another misconception is that brown rice and pasta and whole grain breads don't do the same thing as their regular white counterparts. Truth is - they do. They just have a little more fiber and digest more slowly, so you don't get quite the same insulin spike, but they are still a carb and they can still cause fat gain if you overeat them.
So what we have learned is to drop carbs down. In general, I start people out at 25-30% carbohydrates in their diet and assess from there. How are you going to do that if you don't know how many sugars and carbohydrates are in what you're eating? Start logging your food on one of the sites I mentioned above. Take responsibility for what goes in your mouth.
Increase Your Protein and Don’t Fear Fat
Beef, chicken, turkey, fish, etc. There are studies out now that are proving our governments “lean meat only” consumption isn't necessary.
- CLA is a substance that accumulates in the fat of grass-fed ruminant animals-fats like butter and tallow-that has anti-cancer effects.
- Industry apologists have now done an about-face and are campaigning against the trans in favor of the liquid oils - while using this opportunity of heightened public interest to continue demonizing the fats we should all be using, the natural saturated animal fats in animal foods and tropical oils.
Increased protein helps maintain the lean mass (muscle) you already have. You want to keep this, as it increases your metabolism. Adding a little more lean mass is usually a good thing. As a general starting point, I think 40% of daily food intake should be protein. I have seen great results with this.