HELP! How can I get leaner!?

My 11 year journey that only really started 12 weeks ago

Apart from taking a bit of a fitness break between August 2013 – January 2014, I have been relatively active and healthy since I was asked to join Team Bangs on the Run back in December 2011 and train for my first half marathon in April 2012.

It’s fair to say that 5-6 months I was inactive in 2013 resulted in me gaining about 1½ to 2 stone and even though I knew that I would lose weight when I started exercising again, it’s worrying me that I’m not getting as lean as quickly as I did 2 years ago.


I’ve gone through quite a big lifestyle change when it comes to training and eating the last two years. Because of the added issue with my stomach, I would say that 85% of what I eat & drink is very healthy and at the moment I most likely exercise more than your average person (running approx 30 miles a week, plus strength training 1-2 times a week & swimming once a week) – so why am I not seeing any significant results yet?

I know that change takes time and that I have to be patient. I also know that I was around a stone thinner two years ago when I started running, and doing exercise was so new to my body that my rapid changes in how I looked and felt probably came from that – but what is holding my progress back now?

Roast sweet potato, butternut squash and beetroot

These days I don’t count calories (which I used to do & lost weight from it maybe 10-12 months before I started running) I just try to eat 3 home-made meals a day at roughly the same time every day consisting of 50% protein/30% complex carbs/20% fat, with 2 small snacks in between (usually fruit/nuts/ricecakes).

I usually stay away from liquid calories like juice/fizzy drinks/alcohol during the weekdays, I stay away from things like cakes, sweets, biscuits, chocolate, crisps and so on as much as I can, and I very rarely eat takeaways or ready made meals.

I even do my best to drink a lot of water too, which I admit hasn’t been a strong side for me, but I really am working on it and am trying to drink 2 litres a day!

Realistically speaking, due to my food allergies and sensitivities, I can’t eat a lot of “bad food” and even though I sometimes do, I don’t think I eat it frequently enough or in such large quantities for it to have a major effect on my fitness progress overall.

I have 2 rest days a week when I don’t do any exercise at all and I get at least 8 hours of sleep every night most days of the week (if not more!)

So what am I doing wrong?

Orsii Gun Finger

Am I doing too much cardio and not enough weight training?

Is my metabolism just annoyingly slow? (actually, I can already tell you that it’s been tested and it’s not below average for my age and gender)

Am I eating too much food? (I mean, COME ON! Marathon training makes you hungry!)

Do I have to start counting the calories I eat vs the calories I burn and go down that painful route to see a proper change?(its something that I think is silly because it just makes you fixated around calories in a way I don’t find healthy)

Or am I maybe eating the wrong type food?

Does anybody have an answer or some sort of explanation?


I am NOT a secret eater  and I exercise A LOT – so why is it taking forever to see results? I don’t want to “lose weight” – I want to be strong and lean and fit. I want to look and feel as good as I did 2 years ago and not being where I thought I would be at this time in my training is really battering my confidence.

Maybe 10 weeks is too little to see significant change this time around, but if that is the case, how can I be sure that I am doing all the right things to aid my progress & actually be successful in my transformation?

It’s quite disheartening not to see the same changes that I saw before when I initially started my fitness journey, and I am not sure what to do to improve my situation.

4 thoughts on “HELP! How can I get leaner!?

  1. Donna

    The absolute number on the scale is probably a bit meaningless in some ways. Leaner means you need to look at your body composition, and I think the proven way to lose body fat is a good combination of weights and cardio. It is hard to add in weight training while doing endurance sport, but even daily body weight stuff has been invaluable to me – in terms of maintaining good run form, not fatiguing as fast, and yes – leaning out. My coach James at has a daily run workout on his site – functional training for runners. Worth thinking about adding this into the mix in the short run, then more “weight” stuff post marathon!

  2. Tony Poole

    Hi Orsii

    You said it, too much cardio and not enough weight training. If you want to get leaner up your protein intake and supplement with protein shakes, cut out the cardio training and hit the gym 3-4 times a week. Muscle building burns fat more efficiently than cardio. If you must do cardio, then try a circuit workout that combines strength + cardio. Say 10 exercises, one for each body part, performed without any rest between sets, 2-3 times. You’ll be as lean as a butchers dog in no time!

    1. Orsii Post author

      Thanks Tony! I cant really do more weights at the moment because of my marathon training, but im planning on switching to weights once Im done, so hopefully it will just mean I will get lean in no time :)

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