What It Really Is: Lean Body, Benefits And Dangers

Who wants a lean body? I bet most, if not all of us, have imagined ourselves to have a strong, buff, and lean body. We all want to wear nice fitting clothes, but we often find ourselves buying a size bigger than what we should wear.

But how do we define what fit lean body is? How can we tell we are already lean? What is body fat percentage? What is a good lean to fat ratio? Is there a difference between men and women? Is lean healthy? These are the important question as this may save you from becoming too skinny!


What Is Lean?

Lean is advertised on the internet, TV, and magazines every day by models who have these perfectly sculpted abs and amazing curves. I hate to tell you this but most, if not all, are edited to reach perfection. Geez, a good editor can even make a woman out of a pizza!

What Are Drop Sets

In other words, they are quite an impossible goal to follow. Well, if you could go to the beach and have your muscles flexed for your whole stay there, then you could get a little close to those magazine covers.

In the simplest explanation I could fathom, these publications have fed us the definition of lean. And we, the consumers, have been tirelessly trying our best to become a magazine cover.

Lean Body Mass

Our lean body mass is the weight of our skeletal and muscular composition. When we talk of lean mass, this excludes our fat. The primary stuff we measure is how heavy our bones and musculature are.

Measurable Leanness

Aesthetic Bodybuilding

The means to measure lean body weight is quite vague since we really can’t remove all the fat covering our body before weighing ourselves. So obviously, this is not a great way to calculate our lean body mass.

But since the human race is persistent and smart, we have devised a smart way to estimate our fat and measure leanness roughly. To arrive at your lean body mass, you need to subtract your body fat percentage to your body weight.

Body Fat Percentage

Lean Body

Via: bjjee.com

The amount of fat surrounding our body, under our skin, and enveloping our internal organs cannot be directly measured. That’s why we came up with a percentage representation of our body fat. It can be measured in numerous ways using a caliper.

For more information, you can watch this video to guide you in measuring your body fat percentage.

Healthy Leanness

Lean Body

Leanness is often expressed in how many body fat percentages you have rather than the difference of it to your total body weight. Take in mind that there is a remarkable difference between men and women. This accounts for the size of the female breasts and some other metabolic factors related to menstruation.

To live a life far from starvation and illness, a minimum of 2-5% fat should be maintained for men. Lower than this can result in starvation and ultimately, death. The average minimum for women is estimated at around 10-13%.

The active nut can have a measurement of 14-17% for men and 21-24% for women. Average people with moderate to little activity can have as much as 18-24% body fat for men and about 24-31% for women.

Beyond those figures, individuals are deemed obese and might need some interventions to lose weight.

The figure also present a realistic level for all people. As we can see it, the magazine cover models seem to be maintaining just bare minimums!

The Downside Of Low Body Fat Percentage

We can’t deny the fact that many people want to reach these bare minimum levels to flaunt and show off their buff physique. In some instances, these are advantageous. In bodybuilding competitions, daring contenders try to go below the minimum to display their defined musculature.

But, even experts don’t advise people to maintain this level for long periods of time. Trimming off below 5% body fat can help you snatch the title, but, illness may overtake you if you stay too long.

  • Low Energy

Buff as you may seem, during a competition, bodybuilders are at their weakest. There is very little fat to metabolize, and this can lead to starvation and low energy.

  • You Feel The Cold

One of the functions of body fat is to insulate the underlying tissues and vital organs of the body. Without much of it, you are prone to feeling cold or worse, hypothermia.

  • Hunger Pangs

Many athletes have the discipline to steer away from over-eating. But having too little fat can drive you nuts! Prolonging this agony can even lead to more serious emotional distress.

  • Dry Skin

This may seem a little off the topic, but maintaining low body fat means that some fluids are restricted. This results in low intracellular fluid and dryness of the skin.

  • Prone To Sickness

Staying below 5% body fat can put stress in the body. You may enjoy the attention at first, but this can easily become an invitation for a hospital visit. The water restriction and the food limiting can lead to serious health problems and lower your immune response. 

The body may not be having enough nutrients for growth, repair, and maintaining your defense from harmful elements.

Last Words

Lean body is an eye candy. It is attractive and sticking to a certain fitness level while on a healthy diet can be a good recipe for long life.

Though the lean body is a great asset, aiming for a 14-17% for men and 21-24% for women is advised for a healthy functioning bodily system.

Dangling below the 5% body fat minimum can be detrimental to your health without proper diet and multivitamin for bodybuilding. Take in mind the precautions and adjust your meal plan accordingly.

Lastly, if this article shed some light on you, you are free to share this page so that others to can read this. If you have any questions, leave it below, and I’ll catch you soon!

Emily Brathen

Hi there! I'm Emily Brathen. I am a fitness and yoga instructor and a mom of one. Despite my hectic schedule, I still find time for doing the thing I love most - fitness and yoga. I love doing and teaching fitness and yoga because in my own little way, I am able to encourage people to take health and fitness back into their own hands.

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