... about diet and fitness

A lean body: everyone should have one

Who among us would not want a lean body? Certainly the average middle-aged overweight person would. And younger people who may have begun to let their fitness level and weight go would too.

Why be lean?

The most attractive people always seem to have a lean and toned body. (Yes, you can probably bring to mind a number of over-weight people who could be considered attractive - even beautiful - but wouldn't they look even better if they were lean?) And yes, it takes a good bit of exercise work to get - and to keep - your body like that.

But the rewards for that effort are great - because not only do lean-bodied people generally look better, they're usually pretty healthy too. Many of the things that plague the life out of us flabby people - chronic fatigue, weakness, slow metabolism, lack of stamina and fitness, joint pain, back pain and even heart disease - are much less in evidence in the lean-bodied.

Look and feel healthy

So what exactly is a lean body? Well, for a start it will have negligible excess fat. Muscles in both men and women will be well defined and toned. For women, this does not mean that they will appear masculine; on the contrary, because of the small extra layer of fat women have, their toned muscle will still have a rounded, feminine look. And for men, having a lean body does not mean that they will necessarily become super-developed.

Though some may feel the need to go to much greater lengths and to have huge muscles, it's certainly possible to look "ripped", with a convincing "six-pack", while still having an average-sized body.

Get the excess weight off

How can you have a lean body? That depends on where you're starting from. You're quite a long way from having a lean body if you're a hundred pounds overweight, even if underneath all the layers your muscle is quite strong! You'll need to lose most of that fat as part of the process, and it will involve diet, nutrition, calorie control and a regular workout, and it probably won't be particularly easy. But it would be worth it, for all the health reasons you probably already know.

Develop some muscle

While decreasing fat, it may be necessary to increase your lean body mass. This involves strength training, and could be carried out in trips to the gym or by the use of a home gym. Alternatively, you may find that an approach requiring minimal use of exercise equipment suits you best; some of the trainers you'll find featured on other pages of this site advocate this way of working.

Learn truths, not myths

A common misconception is that you can get rid of fat from a single area of your body by concentrating your exercise workout in that area. Many people put a lot of energy into situps and ab crunches in the mistaken belief that this effort will directly affect the layer of fat round their middle. Unfortunately, you can't remove localised fat in this way. The ab exercises will help to burn fat off the whole body generally, and they'll certainly strengthen the abdominal muscles, though.

The bottom line

A simple balanced nutrition regimen where you expend more calories than you consume (if you are overweight) will ultimately lead back to better personal health, fitness, weight loss and a leaner body. This goal can be achieved through eating wisely and becoming more active on a daily basis, perhaps by taking up walking, cycling, swimming or other regular exercise.

For a more accelerated program and better results, you could consider following the training offered by various people who earlier in life were flabby but now have the body you would like to have, and can show you highly effective ways to gain it.