5 Tips to Lean Down | Erin Stern

April 19, 2018

As summer nears, training focus tends to shift from gaining muscle to getting lean. After all, it’s not a lot of fun to go through a bulk in a bikini. Losing fat while maintaining muscle isn’t as simple as cutting calories, but it can be made easier with these five quick tips!

1.    Set specific, achievable goals. 

There are few things tougher than trying to hit a moving target. When you set a goal to lean down, that’s exactly what you’re doing. There’s no real starting point, and no real finish line. Look at your current physique and pick a few tangible goals to shoot for. Some examples include losing a certain amount of inches from your waist, losing a percentage of body fat, or reaching a set of overall measurements. This way, you’ll have something to train and eat right for, and a way to track it! Motivation increases when you start to see results, and can make the process more enjoyable and rewarding.

2.    Keep protein intake high. 

Protein is in every cell of the body – it is the building block of muscle. Protein also increases feelings of fullness or satiety after meals. Since the body can’t store protein, it’s important to keep this macronutrient as a staple at every meal. For example, if you eat some fruit as a snack, blood sugar levels will rise and you’ll feel hungry shortly after. Instead have a hard-boiled egg, some Greek yogurt, or a couple of slices of nitrate-free turkey as your snack and it’ll crush hunger pangs! As a general guide, I aim for around 1g of protein per pound of body weight. This can help stave off muscle loss, too, which can happen as a result of running a caloric deficit.

3.    Lift heavy. 

There’s a common theory that the amount of weight lifted should decrease and reps should increase when trying to lean down. But, pushing heavier weights will help the body preserve muscle mass and can help burn more calories after the workout is done. The goal should be to lift as heavy as possible while being safe and maintaining good form.  Once technique breaks down, auxiliary muscles are the only area that’s being trained – this is usually not optimal if you’re looking to build an aesthetic physique.

4.    Don’t go overboard on the cardio. 

It’s tempting to hop on a treadmill and run…and run. But, this can break down muscles and actually help the body store fat. The body is tremendously good at adapting, so an hour of cardio per session might be enough to see progress this week, but you may need an hour and ten minutes per session next week. Without varying the workouts, the body becomes really good at distance training. This means that it will conserve fat and may burn muscles, as they’re not needed for traveling long distances. Work to get lean with weight training and add cardio as a complement to it. You’ll save time, muscle, and workouts will be more exciting.

5.    Take BetaTOR before training. 

BetaTOR helps preserve lean muscle when dieting. It’s a staple supplement for me, and I have seen great results when I use it. I feel that I’m able to train longer, even when running a caloric deficit.

Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!

  Erin Stern
, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia


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