What comes first to mind when you look at the cover of a bodybuilding magazine, the photo of an Instagram star or the bodies of competitive athletes in your studio? The answer is simple: "An extremely defined body." That's no wonder, because meanwhile, this ideal image can be found almost everywhere, no matter whether in print media or Facebook and Co.
Everywhere programs, books and courses are offered to you, which suggest that you can easily reach this goal. However, nobody tells you which victims this process is connected with. So before you start, you should know about the following factors.
Understand the difference between slim and defined
Before we go into more detail about the things that await you on your way to an extremely defined body, we first need to clarify the difference between "lean" and "defined". There is a huge difference. Being slim is associated with a "normal" man with a body fat percentage of 8-12 percent and with a "normal" woman with a body fat percentage of 18-24 percent. For bodybuilders and cover models that are "defined", things look very different.
Here, the body fat percentage in men is only 4-6 percent and in women at 12-16 percent. This extremely low body fat level can only last for a few weeks and sometimes even days. And that's a good thing, because in the long term, this state of health for our organism is in no case. But if you still want to reach that level for a competition, you should pay attention to these four things:
1. Be prepared for being cold
If you have the opportunity, ask somebody how he felt during an extreme diet. We can almost guarantee you that someone will tell you that he has frozen. The reason is quite simple, because as the body fat percentage decreases, the subcutaneous body fat under your skin, which is actually responsible for the thermal insulation, disappears. But that's not all.
After all, you also consume significantly less calories, so your body produces less heat than usual. To make matters worse, the heat is increasingly easier to escape through the thinning layer of fat. So your body has a harder time maintaining the average core body temperature of 36-37 degrees Celsius. As a result, it may well be that you are cold and cold hands despite an outside temperature of 26 degrees.
2. Your sleep quality will suffer
Bad sleep is undoubtedly an unpleasant side effect of extreme diets. Although the cause of the relationship has not yet been clearly established, numerous studies confirm the effect, so that it is no longer based solely on anecdotes. For example, a study conducted with young women showed that long-term extreme diets hinder the production of body heat and reduce the secretion of thyroid hormones, resulting in poor sleep quality.
Now, when you think about the importance of having good sleep for regeneration and exercise and everyday performance, long-term extreme diets are a pretty bad deal. Your definition is only lasting for a few days or weeks, because you buy yourself with a significantly lower quality of life, which affects numerous areas of life.
3. Your sore muscles will last much longer
Surely you know the feeling of trying to go to the bathroom after your leg workout, and not coming down properly because your legs hurt so much. Well, if you're trying to get your body fat percentage to an extremely low level, you'll have to get used to that feeling. It will even accompany you very often, because the more extreme the diet, the more intense and longer is the soreness after a training session.
Especially after the leg workout, it can easily take 6-7 days until the soreness has disappeared. The cause is obvious. By eating less food, your body will have fewer micronutrients available for regeneration. This deficiency also significantly lengthens sore muscles.
4. Do not want sex
As if the freezing, a lousy quality of sleep and intense soreness were not enough, now comes a fourth factor added, which is quite ironic. Most people undergo extreme diets to look perfectly nude and perhaps to impress potential sexual partners. That is in principle also a legitimate thing.
The catch, however, is that you usually lose any sexual drive through such an extreme diet. At least for the time in which you keep the low body fat percentage. In the scientific literature, this effect is attributed, among other things, to the fact that a very low body fat percentage lowers the testosterone level and a lower testosterone level in turn is responsible for a significant decrease in the sex drive.
It is not just the desire for sex that suffers from the diet, but also the staying power of sex. So if you're trying to improve your sex life by getting an extremely low body fat percentage, then you're in a vicious circle. The bottom line is that if you work on your humor or your personality to spice up your sex life.
The end of the song
Being slim is an achievable and worthwhile goal for many people, as it brings numerous benefits. An extreme definition, on the other hand, is a very different thing, because it involves many quality of life limitations. Like everywhere else in life, the Pareto principle applies here as well, according to which you achieve 80 percent of the maximum possible result with 20 percent of the maximum achievable effort. For the remaining 20 percent, you have to spend 80 percent of the energy or "suffering".
You can apply this principle one-to-one to reducing body fat. So before you start your project, you should ask yourself if you really want it, or if you do not get the much better overall package with a "lean" body than with the vision of an "extremely defined" body. Of course, if you are a professional athlete and your body earns your money, the situation will be different.