At M10 we get approached by various people with various goals, and we take pride in our ability to coach multiple demographics. That being said, one of the most common goals we help people with, is achieving a very lean physique.
It’s not something that is easily achieved and half of those who aspire for such a goal, aren’t actually aware of the implications surrounding it. Therefore in today’s article we’re going to be looking into the reality of getting very lean, and what the potential benefits and drawbacks may be.
First let’s appreciate the benefits of such a challenge:
For those that spend their days in a daily routine of work, gym and home, with little visible progress, life can become like groundhog day - tedious. So to undergo a personal project that challenges you physically and mentally is a great way to break the mould. We find those that reach a body composition they’ve never achieved before, can develop a new lease of life. Not in the sense that they maintain that physique for the rest of their life, but quite the opposite. Their perception of training, eating and mindset reach a new level of clarity and physical goals become long term and progressive; “I want more muscle on my back and shoulders”, “I want to get stronger in my legs”.
The lessons learnt along the way are nothing short of life changing. The discipline that carries you through the latter weeks of a dieting phase can stick with you forever, and spill over into other areas of your life. Once life finds balance again, the harder days become more manageable and you know that you can do anything you set your mind to.
Other coaches actually benefit from this process the most, as they can understand the challenges their clients experience on a daily basis, greatly improving their own coaching service. On top of this, to truly appreciate the potential of the human body, it must be pushed to its limits. Most coaches don’t pull out their clients’ full potential until they’ve committed to, and completed their own personal transformation.
This isn’t to say it’s the best target for everyone, and there is certainly a time and place it’s more suitable.
A journey fully committed to achieving a very lean physique can put a lot of pressure on an individual’s lifestyle, with constant prioritisation around nutrition, training, sleep and digestion management, it can suddenly seem like a very selfish endeavour. Relationships can be tested, and without a strong support network, they can sometimes break down. In the final stages of an extreme diet, social events may also be put on the back burner - not ideal if you have any special events at that time!
Behaviours around food are ever changing, based upon our environment, goals and internal thought processes. This is a very important area to consider if getting very lean is a goal of yours. With the right coaching and support network it won’t be an issue, however it should be considered throughout the process so that a poor relationship with food doesn’t manifest, as it’s not something that is easily undone.
For females, menstrual cycle is a very personal area to be aware of, and having an in depth understanding of the consequences of losing a menstrual cycle is crucial. It should be no-one’s intention to lose their cycle, in fact, the longer it can be sustained the better. Missing 3 consecutive menstrual periods would categorise an individual as having amenorrhea, which is typically caused by chronic stress, as well as other factors. Whilst it doesn’t sound harmful, it can actually take years for some females to regain their menstrual period, and there are long-term implications to reproductive health too - a high price to pay for getting lean!
So getting very lean… is it worth it? Well for some, maybe, it’s important to know that the difference between a positive and negative journey will be the quality of the coaching you receive.