Hitting the gym is one of the main activities people rely on to get physically fit. However, lifting weights and doing all the heavy stuff is going to build your muscle base, but won't make you any leaner than you are. To get lean through exercise, you need to get rid of all the excess body fat, which can only be achieved through a good level of cardio exercise. People get bored of cardio pretty quick and start ignoring it, which is why it's important to refresh your cardio program with enjoyable exercises which will let you challenge your body. This guide will highlight some of the best exercises that will get you lean in due time. Swimming towards Leanness Did you know that Michael Phelps, the great swimmer of all time, had a 12,000 daily calorie intake prior to the Beijing Olympic Games? That's an insane amount of calories, especially when you know that an average person takes about 2,000 calories per day. This goes to tell you just how much energy your body spends when you're swimming. Swimming will also do some incredible work when it comes to toning your muscles because it involves your entire body to keep moving forward. It also offers exercising at no cost for your joints, since your body is almost without weight in the water. A good trick is to switch styles and rhythm every on every pool length, do a slow stroke on your back, and then switch to a rapid freestyle stroke for the next lap. Intervals are Vital for Good Cardio Steady exercise can be great for your body, but there's no denying the fact that your body will adapt to it at some point and actually spend less and less energy over time, which will slow down your progress towards getting a lean body. Intervals are basically short and rapid bursts of speed, a switch of pace that puts pressure on your muscles. It can be added to almost any cardio exercise, including the aforementioned swimming, though it's even more effective in running and cycling. It's important to go back to a slower pace after a short interval, as you don't want to have your heart rate to stay high for longer periods of time. So alternate between the speeds and you'll do great, whatever exercise you pick. Cycling Will Get You in Shape If you're using the car to get to work, you might consider switching to a bike at least 2 days a week. The fact is, bicycles are the best way to get leaner while also using them to transport yourself to your destination. If you're looking to get lean through cycling, you should ride it about 5 times a week, at least an hour every day. Try to switch the routes a bit too, because an uphill ride can be a completely different thing to what you're used to. Also make sure to add intensive cycling sessions, either separately or on top of your regular cycling route. It should amount to about 10-15 minutes of giving your all onto the pedals. Bottom Line Getting lean isn't all about exercising though. You can exercise all you want and still be unable to get rid of your body fat - if you don't stick to a healthy diet. Ditch the carbs a bit and sweetened drinks if you really want to do some work on your body, and focus on all the sources of proteins that you can get. A balanced diet, when combined with active exercise, is the key to getting a lean body so make sure to adapt your eating habits. About the author: Chloe Smith is a cycling enthusiast, business consultant, and a part-time writer always willing to share tidbits of advice. She believes that passion, courage and, above all, knowledge breed success.