Thin Vs Lean: The Ultimate Difference in 2024

Lean vs thin

Often when we look at other women who are thin or skinny, we immediately think she’s lean. But is that really the case? Does being thin really mean you’re lean too? What is the difference between thin vs lean

In order to answer this question, you first have to know what it means to be thin and what it means to be lean.

If you think that being thin and lean are the same thing, let me tell you it is not. We might have heard people use it interchangeably but trust me they aren’t the same. Well, at least in the fitness and athletic world. 

Understanding the difference between thin vs lean can help you with attaining fitness related goals. 

Without further ado, let’s dive in to understand thin vs lean.

What is Thin vs Lean?

thin vs lean
thin vs lean

There is a common misconception that having a smaller body means being healthy. Could be, but not always. Having a clear understanding of thin vs lean can save you from starving yourself in the name of losing weight!

Now you can simply define being thin as being small in circumference size. This means a small waist, arms, legs, and chest in diameter and low body weight in proportion to your overall height.

However, the definition of being lean is more often calculated by the makeup of one’s overall body composition. More specifically, this means someone who has a low body-fat percentage.

Under these guidelines, you’d be surprised to find that many thin women are, in fact, often not lean at all. More often, many thin women actually have a much higher body-fat percentage than you’d think!

That said when it comes to controlling your caloric intake on a day-to-day basis making use of meal replacement shakes can be a convenient solution to make use of.

So, you know you’re wondering… “How’s that possible? Thin women don’t look fat, so how can they have much body fat?”

What is a Lean Body? – Example of Thin vs Lean

Thin vs lean
Thin vs lean

To understand thin vs lean, we have given an example for better understanding. 

Imagine two women: Both 40 years old, 5 feet, 7 inches tall, and both weighing 120 pounds.

Women #1 has 25% body fat and a 30″ waist size.

Woman #2 has 15% body fat and a 27″ waist size.

Although both women will look thin, woman #2 is leaner because she has a lower body-fat percentage.

How could women be the same age, height, and weight, but one be so much leaner than the other?

Example of Thin VS Lean
Example of Thin VS Lean


How Can This Happen?

Thin vs Lean - anorexia
Thin vs Lean – anorexia

Muscle atrophy is the medical term used for the decrease in the muscle mass that occurs in people who are inactive and or literally starving themselves (think anorexia). Once atrophy begins, fat will replace muscle loss because your metabolism slows down, allowing for extra fat storage.

This is how a woman by age 40 appears thin but has a higher percentage of body fat than the leaner woman.

Prevention: Resistance or Strength Training

Many of us walk, jog, or cycle for exercise, but resistance training is just as important, especially as you enter your 40s, because aerobic exercise will develop very little muscle, which is why resistance and strength training is a recommended activities for women looking to living a healthy life.

The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends resistance or strength training 2-to-3 times per week for all relatively healthy people, especially women in their 40s.

Wrapping up

Just because a woman is thin doesn’t mean she’s not “fat,” which is why eating a healthy diet and regular exercise are so important. While being overweight carries its own health risks, so does having a higher body fat percentage. So, between thin vs. lean, it is important to not starve your body in order to lose weight. Eat healthily, do exercise and lead a healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a lean body good?

Yes, a lean physique is very important. Having a lean body mass is not important for looking fit or good. Rather, a lean body mass is important to lead a healthy life.

How do I get a lean body?

To get a lean body type, you have to maintain a healthy life. Following a proper diet and doing regular exercise can help you. Here are the following things you can start practicing,

  • Having plenty of proteins in your diet
  • Include more greens in your food
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Add more weights to your fitness regime, among many more.

How do I know if I am thin?

The best way is by calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is the ratio between your height and weight. The normal BMI range is between 18.5 and 24.9. If your BMI falls below 18.5, you can be called a skinny or thin person.


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