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Scientific Guide to Achieving an Aesthetic and Lean Body

Before delving into strategies for altering our physical appearance, it's important to me to address a fundamental question: why do we aspire to attain a lean and aesthetic physique, and are the standards we set for ourselves realistic?

Your 'dreambody' is not a dreambody, if it's a nightmare to maintain!

When we constantly compare ourselves, we can lose the connection to our own bodies and develop a negative body image. That's why it's particularly important that our expectations regarding the physical changes we seek are realistic and fit into our lives.

aesthetic body

Why Do We Want to Change our Bodies in The First Place?

In today's world, a lot of folks aren't happy with how they look. Just take a look around, and you'll see many people wishing they could change something about their bodies – maybe lose a bit of belly fat, tone up their arms, or slim down their legs and hips. I see this all the time with my clients and hear it in the conversations I have at the gym.

I would say that everyone deserves to feel good about themselves, thats sure! But these days, social media feeds us a lot of unrealistic ideals. What we see in the online realm isn't always real – there's a ton of editing and staging behind those perfect photos and videos. Comparing ourselves to social media Influencers, celebrities or YouTube stars, can makee us feel bad about our own bodies, like we're not good enough.

If you want to start your own fitness journey,

The goal is to shift away from the "optimization craze", which often involves unrealistic expectations, and instead, to thoughtfully consider whether altering the body would genuinely enhance your health and overall well-being.

Before diving into pursuits aimed at achieving an athletic physique or aesthetic appearance, it's crucial to pause and reflect on whether external pressures are influencing these desires, perhaps through unrealistic comparisons or social media. Ideally, the motivation for change should stem from intrinsic factors rather than a perfectionist mindset.

"Comparison is the thief of joy."

The Power of Exercise and Nutrition in Achieving an Aesthetic and Lean Body

An athletic body serves as a reflection of vitality and mirrors our lifestyle choices. Those who embrace a healthy way of life – characterized by the right eating habits, regular physical activity, and exercise – often radiate a remarkable sense of well-being.

This stems from the fact that exercise, coupled with a diet rich in essential nutrients, ensures the smooth functioning of all bodily processes. Enhanced cell renewal, facilitated by these practices, not only fosters internal health but also manifests in an improved skin complexion and a reduction in the appearance of wrinkles.

Moreover, engaging in exercise, particularly strength training complemented by a well-balanced diet, yields positive transformations in both body fat composition and muscle mass. This combination results in the attainment of an athletic and leaner physical appearance.

Embrace Your Potential: The Connection Between Your Body and Personal Growth

An athletic body and the pursuit of fulfilling your physical potential are far from superficial endeavors. The discipline required for this pursuit can positively impact other areas of your life, benefiting your entire existence. Alongside great self-esteem and confidence, individuals can prove to themselves the possibilities within their reach and experience the remarkable capabilities of their bodies.

The journey toward achieving an athletic physique is inevitably connected with obstacles and setbacks, mirroring life itself. Through this journey, you not only gain insights into your body, nutrition, and health but also acquire a valuable lessons about resilience, navigating setbacks, and the significance of dedicating time and energy to your personal goals. As even Socrates once said:

"What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable."

Indeed, this sentiment underscores the importance of embracing the potential of our bodies and making the most of our capabilities. To never explore the depths of your physical potential would be a disservice, denying you the opportunity to fully understand and appreciate the capacities of your body. Our physical form serves as a reflection of various facets of our life, embodying our efforts, choices, and experiences. Thus, to neglect the exploration and optimization of our bodies would be to overlook a profound avenue for personal growth and fulfillment.

Building an Athletic and Lean Body: The Impact of Nutrition and Training

Achieving a desired physique isn't solely about genetics—it's about taking charge of our nutrition and training. Two crucial factors come into play: maintaining a healthy body fat percentage and building lean muscle mass. These elements are pivotal in building an aesthetic and athletic appearance.

In this article, we'll explore how to effectively manage these aspects through proper nutrition and training. It's important to recognize that our body fat percentage and muscle mass aren't predetermined by our genes; rather, they're within our control. Taking ownership of our fitness journey is essential—we hold the responsibility to cultivate the athletic body we desire. Let's delve into the strategies to accomplish just that.

1. Body Fat Percentage

As mentioned at the beginning, there are also "bad" reasons for wanting to further optimize our bodies. For example, if one chases false (unreal) idols. On the other hand, there are also good reasons to strive for an athletic and aesthetic body. For example, a lower body fat percentage is much healthier than a too-high body fat percentage.

A high body fat percentage combined with an unfavorable fat distribution is associated with a significantly higher risk of metabolic diseases and mortality. When there is a strongly pronounced abdominal fat distribution, i.e., fat accumulation around the belly area (also known as apple body-type), the risk of metabolic diseases is particularly increased. In a gynoid fat distribution (also known as pear body-type), the risk is not quite as high.

Very often, men tend to have an abdominal fat distribution, while women tend to have a gynoid fat distribution.

A high body fat percentage is virtually a predictor for mortality and cardiovascular diseases. A lower and healthy body fat percentage has many health benefits and contributes to a long, vital life. However, too low body fat percentage should also be avoided, as in this case, our body shuts down important functions (e.g., hormone production and fertility). This, in turn, is also not health-promoting.

The healthy values of body fat percentages for men and women:

body fat recommendations
body fat percentages for men and women

However, to determine the body fat percentage, a costly or complicated measuring device is not necessarily required. Often, a subjective assessment and looking in the mirror are sufficient to evaluate whether the body fat percentage is in a dangerous range.

How to Reduce Body Fat Percentage

The theory behind losing body fat might seem straightforward, but putting it into practice is a bit trickier. To lose fat, you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns—a calorie deficit. But it's not just about cutting back for a day; you need to stick with it for a while. The best way to do this is by keeping track of your calorie intake, monitoring your weight, and paying attention to how you look. While your appearance is important, it's not all about the numbers; how you see yourself in the mirror matters too. Keep tracking your calorie intake and weight using tools like nutrition diary apps and scales.

Now, when it comes to losing body fat, it's crucial to do it at a steady and slower pace to avoid the dreaded yo-yo effect—where you lose weight only to gain it back. Aim for a gradual reduction, ideally around 0.5% of body fat per week to prevent extreme energy cuts. The less body fat you have, the slower you should go. But remember, losing body fat isn't the same as losing overall weight. Initially, you might shed water weight, which can make the scale drop quickly. Read more about the differences between weight loss and fat loss.

But be wary of losing muscle mass during your diet—it's essential to preserve it. To do this, make sure you're getting enough protein (around 1.8g to 2g per kilogram of body weight) and keep your muscles active with strength training.

So, to sum it up, the key to achieving an athletic figure lies in striking a balance between reducing body fat gradually and maintaining muscle mass.


2. Muscle Mass

Having a good amount of muscle isn't just about looks—it's essential for overall health and longevity. Muscles play a crucial role in keeping us strong, preventing diseases, and ensuring we live a long and functional life. When it comes to achieving that athletic appearance, muscles are the key ingredient, whether you're a man or a woman.

Ladies, don't worry about looking too bulky from strength training. It's tough for women to bulk up like men do, as long as we don't take performance enhancing drugs.

With the right kind of strength training and a balanced diet, building muscle can enhance your appearance in a positive way, regardless of gender.

How to Increase Your Muscle Mass:

If your body fat percentage is too high, it's a good idea to focus on losing fat first before concentrating on building muscle. However, don't overlook strength training during a fat loss phase—it's crucial. Once your body fat percentage is in a healthy range, you can slightly increase your calorie intake and shift your focus to muscle building. Beginners might even find they can lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. But as you gain more experience and muscle mass, this becomes more challenging.

When it comes to strength training for muscle building, choosing the right exercises is key. It's best to focus on compound exercises that work multiple joints at once, like squats, lunges, push-ups, bench press, pull-ups, lat pulldowns, deadlifts, hip thrusts, shoulder press, and rowing movements. Always prioritize proper technique and gradually increase the intensity from one session to the next. This could mean lifting heavier weights, doing more repetitions, adding sets, or reducing rest times. Aim to train each muscle group 2 to 4 times a week. Read more about how to design your training optimally for progress.

While the science behind muscle building is complex, especially for advanced athletes, beginners can start by following these basic tips. Consistency is key in both nutrition and training. Remember, we're aiming for a lifelong athletic body, not just a short-term goal. So, it's crucial to incorporate healthy habits into our daily routine and stick with them over time.

Key Take-Aways: Getting Lean And Achieving an Aesthetic Body

To achieve a lean and aesthetic body, it's essential to focus on two key components: reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. Firstly, maintaining a caloric deficit through the right diet and regular exercise is crucial for losing excess fat. Secondly, incorporating strength training exercises and consuming sufficient protein are vital for building muscle mass.

By combining these two strategies with consistency, patience, and a commitment to long-term health, you (yes, absolutely everyone!) can attain your desired physique and improve overall well-being.

Achieve your fitness goals now through personalized guidance from your online nutritional and fitness coach. Book a call now!


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Sources Of Information:

  • Ribeiro AS, Oliveira AV, Kassiano W, Nascimento MA, Mayhew JL, Cyrino ES. Effects of resistance training on body recomposition, muscular strength, and phase angle in older women with different fat mass levels. Aging Clin Exp Res. 2023 Feb;35(2):303-310. doi: 10.1007/s40520-022-02313-7. Epub 2022 Dec 16. PMID: 36526940.

  • Thom G, Lean M. Is There an Optimal Diet for Weight Management and Metabolic Health? Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1739-1751. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2017.01.056. Epub 2017 Feb 15. PMID: 28214525.

  • Forbes GB. Body fat content influences the body composition response to nutrition and exercise. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000 May;904:359-65. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06482.x. PMID: 10865771.

  • Kim SW, Park HY, Jung WS, Lim K. Effects of Twenty-Four Weeks of Resistance Exercise Training on Body Composition, Bone Mineral Density, Functional Fitness and Isokinetic Muscle Strength in Obese Older Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Nov 6;19(21):14554. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192114554. PMID: 36361434; PMCID: PMC9656451.


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