This simple statement takes me back to a time when one of my buddies was being watched by many NFL scouts to play wide receiver. We were in Virginia going through a warm-up before our football game and a scout said that Junior Lord guy is definitely lean and mean. I believe he was referring to the low body fat that Junior carried at that time and the amount of muscle that was on his frame. In training some of clients, I have noticed that many of them want that same look of being lean and mean. My response is if we want to look like athletes then we have to train more like athletes. Say goodbye to the endless hours in aerobics classes, light dumbells, and lond cardio sessions. Can they work? I think they can for a period of time, but what happens when the body adapts to that style of running and becomes more efficient at this type of running and does not see a need to grow or burn fat to keep up.
The answer is the body stops burning fat and starts burning muscle. What happens from there is the smoothed out skinny-fat look. Not a pretty site! I just believe that there are far more efficient ways to burn fat and preserve muscle. Most fat is burned in a caloric deficit state which means your body does not have enough glycogen stored because of the decrease of carbohydrates to endure a long cardio session. My solution is to lift big weights to give your body a reason to hold on to that muscle, keep your diet on point, and do short intense interval workouts. Weight training is an experiment and everyone's body is different, so the only way to measure your success is to keep track of your results.