In this interview with Eric Helms, we chat all about the concept of staying too lean. That is, we discuss body fat percentage from the standpoint of health and performance.

Many people set their crosshairs on getting a six-pack when they first get into fitness. “I’ll be happy once I have abs!” they fantasize.

And that’s all well and good from an aesthetics point of view. Most of us like how we look when we’re really lean, but when it comes to general health or strength training, is having ripped abs actually beneficial?

The truth is staying super lean year-round can have an impact on other areas of your life beyond how you look, including your training, sleep, mood, and hunger.

In other words, staying too lean for too long can impede your progress if you have other goals beyond looking shredded, and that’s what Eric is here to talk about.

In case you’re not familiar with Eric, he’s not only an accomplished bodybuilder, powerlifter, coach, author, scientist, and member of Legion’s Scientific Advisory Board, but he’s also one of the guys behind the Monthly Applications in Strength Sport (MASS), which is one of the best research reviews out there.

In this episode, we talk about . . .

  • How body fat relates to health and athletic performance
  • Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) and energy availability
  • Energy compensation and how extreme amounts of activity affect energy expenditure depending on energy availability
  • The easiest way to tell if you’re too lean
  • Reasons for getting (and staying) lean
  • And more . . .

So, if you want to learn how staying too lean for too long could be hurting your progress in the gym, or just want a little motivation as to why you should lean bulk, this podcast is for you! 

Lastly, if you want to support the show, please drop a quick review of it over on iTunes. It really helps!     


6:12 – How do you know if you’re trying to stay too lean?

12:09 – What is the sweet spot in terms of body fat percentage and weight?

16:35 – What is RED-S?

31:12 – What are symptoms of RED-S for women?

35:37 – What’s the best and easiest way to know if you’re too lean?

40:10 – What is the optimal calorie range for you?

51:41 – What if you notice negative effects at the level of leanness you want aesthetically?

Mentioned on the Show:

Eric Helms’s Website

MASS Research Review

Shop Legion Supplements Here

What did you think of this episode? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!