What is the best and smartest way to get lean? Getting lean means dropping body fat percentages and keeping muscle mass.
There are many approaches and diets to reaching this goal: you can count your macros or focus heavily on food quality. The results can vary too, by losing body far you can get shredded or simply get lean.
Nutrition experts answer the question “what is the smartest way to get lean” in a Jeff Nippard video.
The smartest way to get lean (learn how to shred)
Fat loss fundamentals
Dr Eric Helms, from the Sports Performance Research Institute New Zealand, explains that from a physiological level, fat loss is quite simple.
“Fat loss comes from an energy deficit,” he says. “Consuming less calories than you need to maintain weight.”
However, you want to lose as much weight from fat as possible and as little weight from muscle as possible. For this, you need to:
- Be in an energy deficit
- Perform progressive resistance exercises
- Ensure appropriate deficit size
- Consume sufficient protein
- Perform an appropriate volume of cardio
Read more: 7 Ideal Calorie Deficit Foods
Types of food to eat for fat loss
Ultimately, fat loss comes down to macros. However, there is some data to suggest that highly processed foods have a lower thermic effect, which means their energy output is lower. The way this affects your diet is that you’d have to lower your macros even more.
Additionally, you’ll have to set your priorities: do you want to make your fat loss journey easy to follow and not rebound, or do you just want to get lean for a set time period?
If the answer is the former, eating single-ingredient food items and reducing hyper-palatable foods will generally enhance satiety, preserve energy output and control hunger signals.
Getting lean versus getting shredded
Cliff Wilson, Natural Bodybuilding Coach, explains that the methods to achieve getting lean and getting shredded are similar, but vary in degree.
Consistency is the most important factor.
Additionally, developing your muscles can help the look, as fat has a bigger area to expand to.
Sustainable approaches to fat loss
Extreme diets such as Keto and Intermittent Fasting can be beneficial for losing weight and getting lean, but they are not required to see fat loss progress.
Many people make the mistake of being overenthusiastic at the beginning of a new diet but getting tired of it pretty quickly as they realise how difficult these are to sustain.
Instead, create repeatable habits so you’re not completely reliant on self-control for every decision about food. Habits, unlike self-control, don’t require cognitive effort to take place.
Why do diets fail?
More than half of diets fail after their initial stage, with people putting on the same amount of weight, or even more, after losing it.
So how can you ensure you keep your weight off after losing it? Dietary adherence, which boils down to consistency and sustainability, is the determining factor to a diet’s success.
The easier it is to follow a diet long term, the more likely you are to succeed.
Use these weight maintenance strategies from Dr. Layne Norton to stay lean:
- Practice cognitive restraint (such as calorie counting, or time restricted eating)
- Get semi-regular feedback on your weight
- Exercise regularly
- Follow a structured program you can stick to long-term
- Value low recency (place more importance on long-term data than short-term data)
Remember that, if your goal is to lose weight and get lean for life, your two-month transformation doesn’t matter unless it’s the same as your two-year transformation.