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How to get lean muscle

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6 reasons you're not getting any leaner

Let's face it, there are a hundred reasons you're not getting any leaner, including the Snickers bar in your hand as you browse the internet with the other. Unfortunately if I tried to cover everything I'd get sick of typing and you'd get sick of reading, so here are just a few simple ones.

1. You don't cook enough

I believe that the percentage of your meals you prepare yourself is directly proportionate to how good your body is (generally speaking here - some people manage to cook some really terrible crap themselves too). Food you don't prepare yourself includes fast food, takeaway, restaurant dining, and frozen pizzas. You already know fast food is crap. Frozen pizzas and similar pre-made supermarket meals are crap too. This is because they're made to be cheap, not to be healthy. Restaurant food is often not healthy either, because their primary concern is taste and culinary appeal, not your health. Sure, you pay good money for the meal, but how many people have you heard say "That food was bland, but so healthy! I'll definitely go back there"? The chef wants you to come back next week, and he'll pour in as much cream as it takes.

Cook your own food and you know what's going in it.

2. You don't plan your meals

Ever heard the saying "when you fail to plan, you plan to fail"? This is something like that. The most readily available foods (i.e. takeaway, or things that sit in the cupboard for 200 years without going off) tend to be the worst for your health and physique. That's why unless you plan your healthy meals ahead of time, allowing you to buy the necessary ingredients and have time to cook, you will tend to eat what is readily available, and slowly but surely rot inside.

If you don't like cooking much, cook big batches of healthy food you can stomach, and freeze and reheat later.

3. You don't keep a food log

I'll admit straight away that I don't keep a food log. BUT I have in the past for a week at a time, and that's all you need. It's not an ongoing thing, but an eye-opener.

People who complain about being too skinny and unable to put on any weight/muscle tend to overestimate how much they eat. They remember the huge breakfast they had, but forget that they didn't eat again till 4pm. Overweight people tend to remember that they had muesli for breakfast, and one sushi roll for lunch, and their well trained memories skip over the 3 chocolate bars and can of coke they had in between. If you keep a food log for a week, and are honest about it, it will give you the obvious answers to your problems.

4. Too much of your food comes from a box

Almost no good food comes in boxes... cereals, party pies, macaroni and cheese, frozen pizza, and the list goes on. Stop buying so many boxes of food. Don't ask questions, just do it.

5. "Just one won't hurt"

Just one what? Chocolate? Soda? Donut? Well it depends. If you have just one in your whole life, it probably won't. Even just one a year, or month, or even week probably won't hurt. But most people's memories aren't that good, and it never stops at just one. This is where that food log comes in handy.

6. You reward yourself with food

A rather large (read: obese) man at the gym was pleased with himself for losing a few pounds and decided to reward himself with a visit to the local all-you-can-eat BBQ ribs restaurant, where he proceeded to get some great value for his money. The problem with this is that he ended up gaining more weight than he lost, and was shameless enough to tell me the story while complaining about how hard it is to lose weight.

If you maintain a strict low-carb diet, eating one or two high carb meals on the weekend is a reward. If you reward yourself more often than you restrain yourself, you might as well just admit to yourself you aren't really dieting or trying to lose weight.


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