Side Effects of Being Very Lean

Be careful what you wish for.

I can only speak from experience but I’m sure these symptoms are familiar to anyone who has gotten very lean, who isn’t naturally muscular.

Keep in mind that  you can get to a healthy weight and a “hard body” by cleaning up your eating habits and exercising regularly.

By very lean, I mean anyone with a decent amount of muscle mass will have a clear set of abs (the coveted six-pack), separation between every muscle group, i.e. “definition”, with a hint of veins running across each muscle and visible striations (muscle fibers) starting to appear when the muscles are contracted.

For most males, this would occur in the 10% body fat range or less (true ten percent–not by methods commonly available in most health clubs), and is the stage prior to being “ripped”.

But here are some things you’ll have to contend with as you get there:

1. Appetite

Of course, in your quest for lower body fat, you will have a strong appetite and this is to be expected. If you simply followed your whims, you’d stay where you normally are body-fat wise, which probably isn’t your ultimate goal. Hence, you need to sacrifice. Yes, it will be a pain especially on social occasions; but when you wake up looking better than you did the day before with new “cuts” (muscle separation) appearing and clothes fitting looser, you will feel on top of the world.

2. Feeling cold a lot of the time

I suspect this is either due to lack of insulation, lowered calories, or both. Whatever the cause, I noticed that in the defined state, I felt the shivers even when it was warm outside. But I would lay under blankets and wake up with veins running across the lower abdomen and quads! The only time you’re not feeling cold is when you’re training.

3. Sleep

Having trouble falling asleep can be a problem, which happens when you’re in a deficit. You want to rest from training; but your body is energetic and you have massive cravings. You just want to sleep off, but you can’t, so you lay there awake and think about food. My suggestion is to take advantage of that time to get some reading done; but try not to do anything too stimulating or involving electronic devices as you might not be able to fall asleep at all.


These aren’t all the side effects; but some of the major ones. Others include hitting your hip against a table really hurts, shoes don’t stay on very well, and family members think something is wrong with you because you no longer have chubby cheeks. Not trying to sound negative; just letting you know what you’re getting into should you desire to go beyond having good “shape”. I can tell you, the final results are worth it, even if you’re only able to sustain them for a very short while. Take all the pictures you can and enjoy the perks!


2 responses to “Side Effects of Being Very Lean

  1. Spot on, Jason!
    Most of the things you mentioned are things that are in the individual´s control. Recently I cut down pretty drastically and I out of personal experience the most “negative” experience would be the loss of facefat, as people notice and seem to get really obnoxious (You look like a Nazicamp survivor was the nastiest comment I got from a friend and my mom nearly
    cried). Fatter relatives (mom and dad) get to be a real problem and it is
    best to avoid them for the short period of a drastic cutdown (2 to 3 months or so). This sounds harsh but it is necessary as they above everyone else will want to feed you excessively to fatten you up again.
    Kind regards
    Marcelo Diez
    Marcelo Diez

  2. Sorry for the gibberish at the end! I typed too fast.

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