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The Best Sports For Getting Lean: Here's Our Favourite Sports That Get You Ripped

16th October 2023

16th October 2023

By Shivraj Bassi

Looking for sports that get you ripped? Eyeing up your favourite sports stars and admiring their physique and top-tier sporting ability? 

More often than not, top sports people are lean, toned and muscular, and this body type represents a lot of people's fitness goals.

Whilst it's true that they hit the gym for strength, they didn’t get their physiques by spending all their time there. Oh no. A lot of athletes can thank their participation in some of the best sports for fitness and toning, actually. And that's because sport is a great way to introduce some variety to your workouts, get you out of the gym and help you have fun whilst torching some calories.

So - want to get involved but you're not sure on the best sports for getting lean? Here's a handy list for you... 

Sports for weight loss: Swimming

Professional swimmers have a lean, athletic physique. Swimming is great for burning calories, boosting metabolism, and working your muscles without putting stress on your joints.

An easy swim burns around 500 calories an hour, while a vigorous effort can blaze 700. And because water is 800 times denser than air, each kick, push, and pull is a mini resistance workout for your entire body. Especially your core, hips, arms, shoulders, and glutes. So in addition to torching calories, you build lean muscle, which ignites your metabolism so that you burn more calories once you're back in your clothes.

Sports that make you lean: Rowing

Rowing is one of the best sports for your overall fitness. One of the most physically demanding sports on the planet, Rowing is absolutely one of the best sports for getting lean. Rowing makes for an optimal workout for getting lean, as it works almost every muscle in your body. The sport also requires strict discipline and great stamina, making this a great option for those that want to get ripped.

Best Sport for Getting Fit: Running:

Running is not just a cardiovascular workout; it's a powerful tool for sculpting a lean physique. As you hit the pavement or trail, your body engages in a dynamic full-body exercise that torches calories and burns fat. The repetitive motion of running activates major muscle groups, fostering both aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This dual impact enhances metabolism, encouraging the body to tap into its fat reserves for energy. Moreover, the post-run period, known as the afterburn effect, continues to burn calories, contributing to weight loss and a leaner physique. Incorporating running into your fitness routine not only strengthens your cardiovascular system but also provides a time-efficient and effective means to shed excess pounds and reveal a more toned, leaner you.

Sports for a lean body: Boxing

A two-in-one cardio and strength workout, boxing targets the entire body as well as improving coordination, reactivity and agility, making it one of the best sports for your fitness and getting lean. You can blast up to 400 calories per hour working the heavy bag and 600 calories per hour sparring. The combination of activities, addition of plyometric work and other fast-paced conditioning can easily send that number over 1,000 in a single workout. You’ll also be able to throw a punch if you really, absolutely, unavoidably have to.

Best sports to get ripped: MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

In terms of the best sports for getting lean, MMA is really up there. If you're not sure what MMA is, it's is a selection of disciplines taken from different Martial Arts. It's one of the best sports for toning as MMA is an intensive workout that helps develop flexibility and strength, and is guaranteed to push you to your limits both physically and mentally.

Two types of Martial Arts worth considering within MMA are Muay Thai - similar to kickboxing as a high intensity stand-up, combat sport based on kicking and punching and Brazilian Ju-Jitsu - a controlled self defence system focusing mainly on grappling and wrestling. Get involved and you’re officially on your way to becoming a bad-ass... just like Meagan, Ashley and Stephanie.

Best sports for getting ripped: Gymnastics 

Fancy upping your muscle strength, defying human form and being able to do a backflip? Aside from being an ultra cool sport, gymnastics is a fantastic sport for upping your overall fitness levels, and is great for both men and women.

Aside from taking up a taster session for each of our sports that get you ripped above, if you're serious about getting leaner, we recommend taking a closer look at The Weight-Loss Collection - particularly The Lean Protein, of course. Our Lean range of products have been crafted to help you slim down, tone-up and fine-tune in a responsible and sustainable way.


Photo cred: @meagankong, @ashleyguarrasi and @stephanie.h.park (Instagram).

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more