What does “lean” mean to you?

Kai Greene

Today I had lunch with a vendor – FREE food is the best! (I suggested Mad Greens, so it was free and very Paleo). Anyway, we were talking about healthy stuff, we usually do. I haven’t successfully persuaded her to try CrossFit, yet, but she is still pretty active. Anyway, she was talking about her boyfriend and how he went to CrossFit for a few months, but his job moved and he never got back into another CrossFit box. She was saying that after just three weeks of CrossFit she could see a difference in his body. We progressed to talk about bodies and looks and one of her co-workers who was eating with us asked what the women look like who do CrossFit. To which the vendor replied that they aren’t “lean”.

I almost fell out of my chair. If CrossFit athletes, specifically Games athletes since we were talking about Murph at the Games, too, aren’t lean – then who is?

Her boyfriend went to CrossFit Roots when he was going and we talked briefly about Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet training there. I wouldn’t call CLB “lean” like Sam Briggs is lean.

Skinny fat

She then said she was talking mostly about the guys. To which I replied that most of the guys are like 5’10”, 190 pounds and four or five percent body fat. To mean that is “lean”.

To me, “lean” means defined muscles and low body fat. If I can’t see your abs, you probably aren’t lean in my book. It has nothing to do with how big your muscles are. Kai Greene is as lean as they come.

The vendor said she thought lean was slender and not really defined muscularly. That, to me, is closer to “skinny fat”. I picture the guy/gal who does a lot of running and drinks a lot of beer. No muscle, small waist and shoulders and no definition of muscle anywhere on their body.

Here is what I found on dictionary.com:

adjective, leaner, leanest.
(of persons or animals) without much flesh or fat; not plump or fat; thin:

That falls inline more with what I think – the guys at the CrossFit Games are very lean.

This is different than being “fit”. This is purely about aesthetics in my book. Can I see your six-pack or not? If I cannot, you are not lean. You might be skinny or slender, but not lean.

What does “lean” mean to you?

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