There is nothing wrong with wanting to get lean and muscular, and nothing wrong with wanting to reach that goal. Unfortunately, many people get so caught up in their training and diet that they lose sight of their goals. As a result, they fail to reach their full potential, and even end up gaining muscle.

When it comes to getting bodybuilding-style lean, there is more to it than losing weight and getting into great shape. It takes dedication, hard work, and dedication to stay on track and keep up the good work.

The truth is, it’s not for everyone. And if you’re not prepared for the commitment, then steer clear. However, if you’ve always struggled with gaining muscle mass, or just don’t feel like putting in the effort, or need a way to lose some stubborn inches, then there are ways to enjoy the benefits of building muscle without the hard work.

Here’s a sample meal plan from Christian Thibaudeau, a great strength coach whose approaches have heavily inspired our training style around here (though we do diverge from time to time) and a high-level competitive bodybuilder in Canada. If you want to get super-lean, you’ll need to learn to gradually reduce your calorie intake. Christian’s idea exemplifies this perfectly.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Christian weighs over 200 pounds and is an expert weightlifter who works out five days a week for 70 minutes at a high intensity.
  2. Christian bulks up by roughly 20-30 pounds during the off-season, then adopts a diet like this to get ripped in a short amount of time (12-16 weeks).
  3. Christian has a slower metabolic rate than I do (endomorphic body type by nature), thus he’s always eaten less than I would because my metabolism is higher.
  4. Christian is nearing the end of a competition diet in which he must lose weight no matter what. And in order to do so, he’s drastically reducing his calorie intake.

The takeaway lesson from these notes and the diet posted below, in my opinion, is that if you really want to go super-lean, you’ll have to gradually reduce your calorie intake – and you’ll have to do it pretty drastically if you want to appear like a fitness model/bodybuilder/competitor.

Many people have mistaken my words about eating more to enhance metabolism as a justification for overeating during fat-loss stages. If you’ve been undereating for a long time, you’ll need to up your calorie intake to reestablish a new, healthier metabolic equilibrium.

However, if you want to go extremely slender, advanced lean, you’ll have to reduce your calorie intake again. And they’ll have to go really low at times.

Take a look at Christian’s diet to discover how low he goes.

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A) Digestive enzymes from Switzerland

  • 29 700 Activity Units of Protease
  • AU Lipase 2376
  • 29 700 AU Amylase
  • 106.2mg Amyloglucosity
  • 59.3 mg cellulase
  • 12.5 mg hemicellulase
  • 25 mg lactase

B) Digestive enzymes from Bio Sante

  • Papaya
  • Pepsin
  • Bromelain
  • Lipase
  • Pancrealipase
  • Lactase
  • Cellulase
  • Gluco-amylase
  • Invertase
  • Alpha amylase is a kind of amylase.

C) Acidophilus Jamieson brand

D) Probiotics from Nicar Laboratories


A) 3 capsules of HOT ROX twice a day

B) Twice-daily use of the previous Biotest T2 formula

C) Carbolin-19 (although it’s marketed as a muscle-building supplement, multiple studies show that coleus is a potent fat-burning weapon)


A) Three times a day, alpha-male


A) ZMA before bedtime B) Potassium after workouts C) Anti-oxidant formula complete Vitamin B complex (D)

My eating habits are as follows:


150ml whipped cream (35% fat) (60g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs) 3-6 entire – raw – eggs (15-30g fat, 18-36g protein, 2-4g carbs) 1 scoop of low-carb metabolic drive powder (2g fat, 20g protein, 3g carbs) TOTAL FAT: 77-107 g, PROTEIN: 38-58 g, CARBS: 5-7 g


175g lean turkey (1g fat, 30g protein, 0g carbs) 6 caps for Flameout (6g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs) TOTAL FAT: 7 g, PROTEIN: 30 g, CARBS: 0 g


175g chicken (6g fat, 25g protein, 0g carbs) 6 caps for Flameout (6g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs) TOTAL CALORIES: 12 CALORIES FROM FAT, 25 CALORIES FROM PROTEIN, 0 CALORIES FROM CARBS


whey isolate (four scoops) (0g fat, 108g protein, 0g carbs) BCAA powder (30g) (0g fat, 30g protein, 0g carbs) TOTAL CALORIES: 0 CALORIES FROM FAT, 138 CALORIES FROM PROTEIN, 0 CALORIES FROM CARBS


6 capsules of GLA (6g fat, 0g protein, 0g carbs) 1 scoop whey isolate (0g fat, 27g protein, 0g carbs) TOTAL FAT: 6 g, PROTEIN: 27 g, CARBS: 0 g



After your workout, eat 14 rice cakes (3g fat, 14g protein, 114g carbs) 2 cups oatmeal for breakfast (2g fat, 4g protein, 50g carbs)


Now, I’m not claiming that this is the perfect “become lean” diet. I’d want to see more micros and fiber in there, as well as a few other minor tweaks, but he’s only doing this for a short time to achieve a specific goal, and it appears to be working. As a result, more power to him.

Finally, this should provide as an example of how low you might need to cut your calories to get skinny (taking into account your relative size to Christian’s).

If you’re a coach or wish to be one…

It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.

Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.

You keep hearing that you should try to build muscle at the same time you lose fat, but you need to exercise to achieve this. But, what exactly is it that you need to do? You need to eat less, but you’ll feel like you need to eat more. You need to add weight training or cardio training to your day, but you’ll be so sore that you’ll want to skip it. You need to work harder and smarter to make weight training and cardio training effective, but you’ll end up feeling like you’re a failure because you don’t see any results.. Read more about how to get lean and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do bodybuilders stay lean?

They do a lot of cardio, and eat a lot of protein.

How do I get really lean?

The best way to get lean is to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

How do bodybuilders get such low body fat?

Bodybuilders typically have low body fat because they are constantly in a caloric deficit. They eat fewer calories than their body needs and use up the rest through exercise.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • how to get lean
  • how to get a lean body female
  • how to get a lean body male
  • how to get lean muscle
  • how to get lean fast
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