If you’re looking for exercises that will help you get lean without getting bulky, you came to the right place! We’re here to provide you with 5 essential tips on how to accomplish that in the most efficient way.
Getting lean without getting bulky can often seem quite challenging. This is especially true if you’re a beginner and not sure what exercises are right for your goals. But, you don’t have to worry because we can show you how to accomplish your goal of having a lean body without the bulkiness accompanying it.
That’s not all, though! Aside from providing you with useful tips on this, we’ll also show you what exercises you should go for to avoid getting bulky like a pro!
Top 5 Best Tips on How To Get Lean (Not Bulky)
1. Pick the Right Training Style
There is no shortage of options when it comes to exercising, including group fitness programs, CrossFit, powerlifting, and HIIT training. However, these certainly aren’t the best types of exercises for you if you’re after that “toned” look.
Unfortunately, many of the fitness apps and programs that have gained popularity for women focus mostly on body weight exercises so that you may work out fast, at home, and without equipment. These methods can initially aid in weight loss, but weight training is necessary to truly reshape your physique.
Ultimately, lifting weights and engaging in “hypertrophy” training are the best ways to achieve that toned appearance. Although the term “hypertrophy” may seem frightening, it only refers to muscular growth.
Fitness competitors train in this manner, and since it is typically more strategic than other methods, it is particularly effective for women. With this training method, you evaluate your body frequently and modify your workouts to target certain regions.
2. Watch Your Diet
How bulky or toned you feel will depend on your body fat percentage. The most crucial thing to understand is that muscle that is wrapped in a layer of fat seems bigger than muscle that isn’t. You also don’t want to go too far with your diet, either.
Some women over-diet and end up looking gaunt and thin, which is something you should avoid if you’re going for a lean and toned look.
You also shouldn’t be too frightened of carbs since, as bodybuilders are well aware, they give your muscles a fuller, more rounded appearance. Instead, focus on how your food may help you gain muscle while also allowing you to adjust it if necessary to become somewhat slimmer.
If you want to build muscle and lose fat, you must maintain a balanced diet that is high in vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats.
Your muscles will become bigger and stronger as a result of your body using lean protein to rebuild and repair the muscle fibers damaged during exercise. Your body and your desire for a slim, as opposed to a bulky, figure will benefit greatly from a balanced diet.
3. Assess Your Body and Goals
When choosing your fitness objectives, it is crucial to be aware of your body type. It’s even more important when you’re making plans on how to reach your objectives.
Make your evaluations out of interest rather than judgment. If you have weak areas, consider them a challenge instead of a shortcoming. It’s important to stick with it and understand that if you aren’t seeing results, you might simply need to make a small modification or give it a little more time.
Women frequently make the error of switching from program to program in search of an immediate solution. If you aren’t seeing the results you desire from your training regimen, there are numerous effective strategies to change it. For example:
- Changing the amount of exercise for certain muscle groups
- Switching up the rep ranges
- Including workouts for the muscle areas you want to develop (or doing fewer exercises for muscle groups you want to de-emphasize)
- Using more sophisticated methods (i.e. supersets, drop sets, isometrics)
- Increasing cardio
- Eating more or fewer carbs and calories
4. Cut Down the Carbs
You shouldn’t get rid of carbs entirely because doing so would actually make things worse. Foods in this category that include sugar, such as candies, cakes, pies, etc., should be reduced. Fruit, although it may sound strange, is also present in this category.
Another myth is that whole-grain bread, pasta, and brown rice aren’t as bad as their conventional white equivalents. The fact is, they are. Even though they digest more slowly and contain a bit more fiber, they are still carbohydrates and can still make you gain weight if you consume too many of them. So, the lesson we’ve learned is to cut back on carbohydrates, or rather, consume them moderately.
5. Increase Your Protein Intake
Increasing your protein intake can help you keep the muscle you currently have lean. This should be maintained since it will speed up your metabolism. However, it is usually a good idea to increase your lean mass a bit.
For muscle development, growth, and post-exercise recovery, protein is crucial. You should consume extra lean protein if you want your muscles to get bigger. Don’t rush out to the shop to buy every protein bar you can find, though. Look for natural and unprocessed lean proteins instead. See the list below for some suggestions on where to get healthy protein sources:
- Cottage cheese
- Lean beef
- Fatty fish
- Chicken and poultry
A nutritious diet high in protein is beneficial for more reasons than just building larger muscles. It’s essential to live an overall healthy lifestyle and have enough energy to do your daily chores.
If you don’t eat a balanced diet, you won’t feel well, and you may also have exhaustion, nausea, and other unpleasant symptoms that will make it difficult for you to exercise and go about your regular activities.
The Best Exercises for Lean and Not Bulky Body
There are certain activities that help you seem more muscular while building muscle in a way that others don’t. Exercises that build muscular tone without adding mass include:
1. Resistance training
Contrary to popular belief, resistance training may be done without making you bulky. You only need to perform specific workouts using lesser weights and more repetitions.
Include resistance training in your routine three days a week. Since heavy weights could potentially be harmful to building muscles because your body is still developing and expanding, you should use lighter weights or resistance bands to exercise.
Pushups, situps, and chin-ups are exercises that help to build stronger muscles. Another exercise that builds strength is gymnastics; even without classes, you may perform somersaults and cartwheels at any time.
Exercises that raise your heart rate are called cardio exercises. Cardio provides additional advantages besides weight reduction, even though some individuals just employ it for that. There are many different cardio workouts, but the most critical factors for achieving your fitness objectives are consistency, length, and intensity.
You should break your workouts into 10- to 15-minute segments so that it may feel less intimidating if you are just getting started. As the activity seems simpler, extend your time by five minutes. Ascend to sessions lasting 30 to 60 minutes.
3. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Other than the exercises we listed above, one of the very popular ones is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). However, as the name suggests, this workout is very difficult. Once you begin increasing your pace beyond what is comfortable, you will elevate your cardio workout to a new level.
Any form of aerobic exercise, including jogging, stair climbing machines, rowing, and jumping rope, can be combined with HIIT.
You’ll quickly break a sweat as you work at a high level of effort, take a break for a slower time of recovery, and then resume working at a high degree of intensity. With such an approach, you may exercise for shorter periods of time than you would if you maintained a constant pace.
You’ll increase your metabolism, gain muscle, and reduce weight. After exercise, your body continues to burn calories for roughly two hours, which is an added bonus.
Other exercises you can try are pilates workouts, including traditional and reformer pilates, boxing, since it’s fantastic for strengthening your arms without making them bigger, and swimming because it is excellent for strengthening your arms as well.
To achieve your goals and get the body you always dreamed of, you will have to put in the work. Doing the right exercises, although quite helpful, won’t be enough if you fail to maintain the right diet and vice versa.
You have to start a new routine that will include all of the tips we previously mentioned, and make sure that you stay consistent and determined if you want to start seeing the results as soon as possible.
Luckily, you now have all the info you need on how to meet your objectives, so start your journey right away and have fun during it!
Lazar Sretenović, an IFBB and REPs Level 3 certified trainer, specializes in personalized fitness programs encompassing weight lifting, EMS, and endurance training. With a focus on tailored nutrition and holistic well-being, Lazar Sretenović guides clients through transformative health journeys, emphasizing safety and individual goals.