My sister had her wedding in Thailand two years ago and I was one of her bridesmaids. While there I had the opportunity to meet many of her good friends, and I remember one of them in particular because she had a bangin’ body. She was athletic-looking, with enviable abs and a butt you could bounce a quarter off of. Want to know how she did it? You don’t, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
She did absolutely, freakin’ nothing. She was a fitness unicorn. She ate what she wanted when she wanted and drank like a fish.
Now, everyone knows someone blessed by the body Gods, but that’s not the point of this story. The point is everyone’s genetics are different, so just because you know someone who can be lean without a lot of effort, doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. The most important thing is to listen to your own body and keep track of your progress.
Can you get lean without being super strict? Yes and no. Ultimately, it depends on where you’re starting. The more body fat you have, the easier it is to lose. Once you get under 18% if you’re a female and 10% if you’re a male, it becomes more difficult to lean out, which means a more regimented diet and exercise program are in order.
It’s easy to look at others with an envious eye but every body is different - what works for one person is not necessarily going to work for another. Case in point: my sister’s friend with the enviable abs, whereas the only way I could have abs easily (read: those without strict nutrition and training) would be to buy the "paint on" ones... though, given that I shower daily this may end up being a costly venture after all.
|The non-diet, no-work budget abs...|
Bottom line: the most accurate way to track your progress is to judge yourself against yourself and stay away from the fitness unicorns.