"The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off?" REVIEW
First off, whatever your goals are in fitness or life, it's going to take hard work, hours put in, consistency, pain and dedication. Not everyone has the dedication and will power to become super lean or physique show ready but anyone can if they are willing to do what is needed. I agree with most of this article and totally believe that being healthy should be the main concern and goals for individuals wanting to lose weight. Just like being obese, being super lean can be super bad for you health as well, even though it looks wonderful. As well as, who say's having a 6 pack will actually make you internally happy? I guarantee 99% of the time it won't because you haven't gotten through the base of your problems, 6-pack is just a cover up to all the problems you have deep down. So why not focus on being actually happy and then achieve abs, if you even want to anymore?
I've been to a 18% body fat and did it make me more happy, not really. So do what makes YOU happy, honestly not superficially. My long term goal one day will be to achieve abs atleast once in my life but it will not be for long term. Another note, physique competitors who are super lean DO NOT look that good all year around and if they do, they are on some serious drugs. It is not healthy for the body to be at that low body fat, our body, especially females, needs fat to reproduce. You can still be relatively lean and it won't cost you your life, same with being ultra lean for a competition.
The way people diet to get ultra lean is the deciding factor on how hellish their program will be to get on stage. The one thing I absolutely disagree in this article/post is these sentences/words about becoming ultra lean. "Slow starvation mode", you will be more hungry but you will not be starving, competitiors who follow cookie cutter plans and extreme low calories will be starving. "Extremely strict eating", any diet you are on for weight loss or competing should NOT be restrictive, yes you will have to be more careful but you can also still have a social life and enjoy foods you love. This brings up the concept IIFYM and Flexible dieting where you don't have to stick to the main body building aspects of dieting. Ex. Chicken, brocolli and sweet potato. People assume that they are on "drugs" and that this is the "only way to drop body fat", yes some are very much on drugs if they look this way all year around and are suffering. There is a way called reverse dieting or slowly increasing your calories after a show or low body fat to still be lean and not starving. So you basically gain minimal fat and more muscle while increasing calories. :)
A lot of people get a notion of being lean means "very plain food", need to eat at "precise times", "cannot eat out at restaurants", workout "2-3 times perday" and have absolutely no social life. EXCUSE ME WHAT? That's your fault in hiring a coach who has no knowledge at all about science. You can get super lean and still eat a burger at a restaurant, you can make great tasting foods like chilli or stirfry at home instead of plain foods. Working out 2 times a day can definitely benefit us but is it realistic for you? MOst likely not so one solid intense session of 45-60 mins is good enough. When I was 18% body fat, I was still able to hang with friends and enjoy my treats foods, I couldn't eat them all the time but I could still eat them. This what makes a program differ from good and how mentally damgaing your life could be. You don't have to take this restrictive, no social life way to get super lean for a competition.
The ultimate question to be answered is "The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off?" Well in my opinion a 6-pack should not define you, being healthy should, but achieving a 6-pack can be done in a healthy way as well. It all comes down to how you approach the situation, how much knowledge you or your coach has, how consistent you are, how willing you are to work hard, the idea of having to give up some things and be super dedicated. If things in life were easy, then we would all have lot's of money and great bodies. The reality is that these things take time, hard work and consistency, so if this is a goal of yours, remember, it takes ALL of the above. No half assing things or cheating yourself, you are either in it or not. & if you are not, that is fine, a 6-pack should not define anyone on their abilites and characteristics about themselves. We should all start a pact to get healthy first and then we can achieve more physically appealing traits if your heart desires.
When I decide the time is right and want to actually focus on getting abs, I will take you through my journey. I'm at a time of my life where I just want to enjoy every aspect of my life and not have to worry about getting abs. This doesn't mean I am not working hard in the gym or being caustious on what I'm eating, thats a part of being healthy for myself and will always be a part of my life.
Stay Balanced my friends - It's more enjoyable over here. :)
R Andrews & B St.Pierre. (2014, Nov. 19). The cost of getting lean: Is it really worth the trade-off? Retrieved from http://www.precisionnutrition.com/cost-of-getting-lean