Skinny Vs Lean

Many people think they want to be “Skinny” when in fact what they actually want is to be LEAN!

What is the difference between being skinny and being lean? The difference is being “toned”.

When you are skinny, it is when you have a low body fat percentage and low muscle mass. People become SKINNY through extreme calorie deficits through dieting or over-exercising.

Extreme calories deficits means you are essentially starving your body of vital nutrients. You will lose muscle mass as your body reaches for nutrients. With the reduction in muscle mass, you are lowering your metabolic rate, which means when you are no longer in a calorie deficit you will gain FAT faster than ever before.

When you are lean you have a reasonable level of muscle mass and a low body fat percentage. People become lean by monitoring their nutrition and conditioning their metabolism through efficient eating & exercise. If you gain lean muscle, your metabolic rate will increase, meaning it would take a higher calorie surplus before you would gain fat.

When you are skinny your body is vulnerable, the severe calorie deficit makes your body weak. Your body will slow down your metabolic rate in an attempt to conserve energy. When you stop the diet, you are EXTREMELY likely to put the weight you have lost back on. If the numbers on the scales dramatically reduce this is a sign that you are on the path to becoming skinny.

What I would like to point out is that when people achieve “skinny”, they often change their goals to “toning up”. Now if you were to aim to get “lean” in the first place you would achieve the “toned” look.

Losing fat, muscle and water to then actively look to add lean muscle to look toned once you are “skinny” is a pointless exercise. By training to become LEAN would save time, produce better results and keep you healthy throughout the change.

When you are lean your body is strong, your mind is focused, and as you are not on a huge calorie deficit, you will be getting most of the nutrients that you need.

When your goal is to become leaner, you do NOT want to be using the scales as a way to measure your results. The number on the scales is irrelevant. You want to focus on your body fat percentage, though a measuring tape can work well too.

I hope that explains a little about Lean VS Skinny. It is essential that my “SKINNY vs LEAN” topic is covered from more that one angle.

I always talk about my experience of battling obesity and becoming LEAN which led me to become a personal trainer, but today we are going to hear about Debbie’s story of how she went from skinny to LEAN!

Debbie put on weight as she went from a SKINNY size 8 to a LEAN size 6, eating 4 times as much food as she had been and exercising much less.

Debbies Shares Her Story

How many times have you said “I wish I were skinnier? Or “I wish I was skinny?”

I was skinny but it was never enough for me, I wanted to be skinnier.

Is that what I really wanted? Looking back, no, it wasn’t, I wanted to be lean, but I was uneducated and going about it all the wrong way with detrimental effects on my health.

Before I started FoxFit Bootcamp, I practically lived in the gym. It became an unhealthy obsession and took over my life. Some nights I went straight from work to get to the gym before going to 3 classes and then maybe even into the gym again afterwards. I went night, weekends, and any spare time I had, in fact, I even went when I really didn’t have ‘spare time’, but I basically cancelled my life and any plans so that I could be at the gym. I had no social life, my friends would invite me out on Friday nights but how could I possibly go out?? I had the gym and classes that night until 10, then I had classes early Saturday morning until mid-afternoon and again early on a Sunday morning.

I had very little time for socialising. My life was the gym and to get ‘skinnier’.

That’s not the only obsession I had. I had an obsession with food. Not eating too much of it, my obsession was not eating. On an average day I would have a cereal bar mid-morning, a small pot of Heinz beans for lunch (the little microwave pots), and a slice of toast for dinner, sometimes I would have two slices and feel ‘stuffed.’

People would notice me getting skinnier and ask if I was eating enough.

“Yeah” I would say. Was I lying? No. To me that was enough, you see I had starved my body for so long that I no longer recognised hunger.

At the start, my stomach would rumble, but I would think ‘awk it will pass’, in the early days I would see this as a challenge to myself. “Iv got past the hunger, I wonder how much longer I can go”.

I would even go a day without eating and think “I wonder if I could go another day.” By the time it came to eating I felt physically sick at the thought of putting food in my mouth. My mum would sit me at the kitchen table and make me eat boiled egg mashed in a cup or boiled egg and toast (she still makes this for me now come to think about it). She wouldn’t let me move until I ate some of it. There would be tears, at 22/23 years of age about how I couldn’t eat it or didn’t want to. Imagine having to have your mum sit you down and force you to eat your dinner at that age, you only imagine this happening with young children. It makes me cringe thinking about how silly I was, but I couldn’t see this at the time. To me I was fine, I was fit and healthy. Only I wasn’t, my hair was falling out, my nails were snapping, my skin was bad at times, my hair was dry and ruined looking despite never colouring it or straightening it often. I didn’t realise this was linked to my poor diet, or should I say lack of diet.

What changed for me?

I started FoxFit. I LOVED it, I would fit it in around the gym, but Russell soon caught onto this. He gave me my calorie intake for each day, and I had tears in my eyes. How could I eat all that food? I couldn’t, no way!!

I blagged my way through training, I realised maybe I did have a problem with eating, but at this stage, I didn’t realise I needed help.

Then I fainted at Bootcamp, I remember it well; I collapsed onto a fellow team member, I was taken back to the car park (the starting point). I remember sitting on the kerb feeling awful and JD bringing Russell a small Mars bar for me to eat to get my sugar back up.

I was handed the mars bar.

I looked at the mars bar.

I held the Mars bar..

I opened the Mars bar.

I put the Mars bar to my mouth.

But could I eat it?

Absolutely no way! I burst into tears.

No one forced me to eat it that night, but Russell spoke to me the next day and the following few days about my lack of eating. I was ready to admit to not only myself but others that I did have problems with food and I desperately needed help.

My team mates looked out for me, encouraged me to eat, Russell, and the rest of the instructors really made an effort with me.
Wow, the thought of it was tough, but Russell made me dinner, scrambled egg, salmon and toast, just a TINY portion but it was tasty, and I ate it all. Then he told me how many calories were it it, 800+.

I did it!! I started to eat the correct amount of calories for my body, and I felt good!

Russell talked me into trusting him and quitting the gym. So I did.

I cut my exercise down from about 3-4 hours a day to 3 hours a week. I increased the amount I ate each day by WAY more than double the amount of calories. This was madness to me!

How on earth was this going to work?

Debbie, 10 Weeks After Having Her Baby.

I thought I was going to put weight on and get out of shape but I put my trust in Russell. All I can say now is thank goodness I did! I don’t know what would have happened to me if I continued to go on the way I had been, I imagine I would have ended up seriously ill.

I increased my calorie intake and cut down my exercise. I was right, I did put on weight! I knew it!!! BUT with these changes, my fitness dramatically improved and I went from a size 8 to a size 6.


I got “LEAN” not skinny. I had dropped a dress size, yet I put on about a stone in weight and looked so much healthier for it.

FoxFit changed my life! I am now so much more educated, I’ve just had a baby 10 weeks ago and already back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, not because iv been back to exercise (I haven’t gone back yet) but because of nutrition. I can also proudly say, “I’m a little eating machine”.

I just want to say a huge thank you to Russell, JD, Caroline, Jayde, Dazza baby and Susan and the rest of the team (if any of you are reading this) for supporting me in my changes before I ruined my life. X


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