You have to constantly monitor yourself and make lifestyle adjustments. Leanness isn’t easy, but it’s possible. It is difficult to stay lean with a single-digit body-fat percentage, and it may not be realistic for some people. However, it is not impossible. You cannot simply work hard to reach your goal and then stop, since your body will want to go back to its natural state. You have to continuously monitor yourself and make changes to your lifestyle. Leanness is not easy, but it is possible.
If you want to stay in great shape, use these 15 tips. They will help you stay lean all year long. If you follow these tips, you will always look photo-shoot ready.
- Do Not “Diet”
The most important thing people who want to stay lean all year do is pay attention to their diets. Whenever you ask someone who is always lean what they eat, they usually say something like…
The speaker is unsure about how to answer the question and gives a vague response. They say they eat a lot of protein and healthy food, and if the person asking is interested in the science behind it, the speaker will go into more detail.
People will rarely say they follow a diet with a cool name.
They eat to perform, are aware of what they’re eating and why, and 80-90% of their diet is healthy foods. But they don’t overthink it and they don’t diet hop – this can wreck your hormones and cause other negative side effects.
- Train Your Ass Off
The truth is that many people are not putting in the effort to build muscle or burn fat. Both of these things are essential for staying lean.
I’ve had experience with training that was both too easy and too hard. The truth is, it’s better to train hard and pay attention to your body so you know when you need a break. I suggest that you train hard for 3-6 weeks and then take a full week to rest at some point during that period. If you’re training 3-4 times per week (without doing any cardio), you should probably take a break every 4-6 weeks. If you’re only training 2-3 times per week, you can probably wait 8 weeks before taking a break. But everyone is different, so learn to know your body.
The main point is that people who stay lean work hard on every repetition. The leanest bodies come from concentrating on the repetition and exercise that is happening at that precise moment, not what will happen later in the workout. Do not worry about the last part of the workout until it is happening.
All reps are important and have an impact. (This may sound like a cliche, but it is factually correct)
- Count Your Macros and Calories
There is a debate about this topic because a lot of people think it is not necessary, but the truth is straightforward and supported by research….
The number of calories we consume compared to the number of calories we burn will determine whether we gain or lose weight.
Those people who are naturally thin and able to maintain their weight year-round don’t necessarily track their macro intake, but they are aware of how much they need to eat and what types of food will help them keep their body fat under control.
I encourage everyone to become more aware of the calories and macros in their food so that they can make informed choices about their diet. This will help them to feel good, lose body fat, build muscle, and simply know how many calories are in the foods they’re eating.
- Have A Plan
There’s a lot more to be said for people who just go to the gym and workout aimlessly. In other words, people who are more likely to be successful in achieving their fitness goals have some sort of structure to their workout routine and their diet.
Almost nobody who stays lean year-round has a spontaneous workout routine; they planned and structured workouts to have a system of progression and to avoidhitting training plateaus. Without a coach or a workout plan, people experience twice as many plateaus.
Many people who stay super lean have a long-term goal for their body. They don’t just focus on short-term goals that can be achieved in a few weeks or months. Instead, they have a plan for where they want to be a year or more down the road. This helps them stay motivated and on track.
- Be Committed
The final point leads directly into my next one. It’s not exciting, it’s not fun, and it’s definitely not something that motivates people to hear or think about… But it’s the truth and it’s the key to remaining lean throughout the year.
You will not see results unless you are dedicated to the lifestyle change. Those who have made the commitment often see benefits after a month or more of living it.
One thing I can guarantee is that if you make the decision to commit, it will become easier to follow through. The hard part is making the decision and changing your habits, but once you set your mind to it, it will become second nature.
- Choose Supplements That Match Your Needs
The type of supplement you take depends on your goals. If you want to stay lean and slowly add muscle, you should consider taking whey protein, creatine, and caffeine. These supplements have been shown to support muscle growth, fight fatigue, help you burn more body fat, and increase mental drive.
- Allow Yourself the Occasional Cheat Meal
Now that you know that cravings come from when you deprive yourself of food, you can allow yourself to have a cheat meal every once in a while as a reward for eating correctly. Cheat meals should not be an all-out binge of junk food, but rather a moderate indulgence. This will help you stay on track without any urges for similar foods later on. Remember, a cheat meal is something you have to work for!
- Compound Your Workouts
Isolation exercises only work a single muscle, while compound exercises work multiple muscles. Compound exercises are better for building muscle and burning calories.
- Burn More Calories With HIIT
If there is ever a “secret” to getting more out of cardio training, it is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). This involves alternating between periods of all-out work and slower recovery periods. Studies have shown that HIIT not only causes you to burn more calories during your workout, but also increases your metabolism for the next 24 hours. HIIT also takes less time than traditional cardio workouts.
After you’ve warmed up with some cardio, do a HIIT session by going all-out for 30 seconds, then resting for 60 seconds. Repeat this 15-30 times. As you get better, you can make the work intervals longer, the recovery intervals shorter, increase the effort, and/or make the workouts longer.
You can do HIIT either outdoors by running or indoors on a machine like the treadmill, elliptical, or stair-stepper. You should try to do it 2-3 times a week.
- Switch Up the Way You Train
If you do the same exercise with the same weight for the same number of sets and reps, your body will quickly get used to that and stop improving. To keep making progress, you need to change your workout routine so your body doesn’t get too comfortable. Learn how to change the amount of weight, the number of repetitions, the intensity, the amount of rest, and whether you train until you can’t do any more reps. This will reduce the chances of overtraining and help you stay motivated.
I like to change my training goals often so that my body is always adapting to something new. One week I may focus on strength training, the next on hypertrophy, and the following week may be performance-based.
- Be Realistic About Your Body Fat
If your goal is to stay ripped with low body fat, you need to be realistic and healthy. If you’re working all the time to stay at a low body-fat level, you should change your goal.
You should get to a point where you enjoy your training, can realistically follow an eating plan, and live a balanced life. The point at which you’ll ultimately settle may be different for everyone, depending on things like body fat percentage. Instead of fixating on a number, find the combination of elements that work best for you.
If you’re not committed to the lifestyle, you won’t be successful.
- Emphasize Carbs Pre- and Post-Workout
To keep your abs visible, you need to monitor your carbohydrate intake. You can’t keep your definition if you go carb-splurging at every meal. Most of your carbs should be used for energy and recovery just before and after training sessions. The rest of your carbs should be eaten throughout the day in smaller amounts.
It is beneficial to consume simple carbohydrates and protein immediately after working out. Complex carbohydrates, such as those found in whole grains, brown rice, yams, sweet potatoes and quinoa, are digested more slowly and do not cause as dramatic of an insulin spike. This makes them better choices to consume throughout the day.
- Respect The Recovery Principle
Even if you may think this contradicts my second point, it does not. You need to train hard when you are training, but you also need to recover and relax when you are recovering.
Staying lean requires making sure you consume enough protein around workouts, stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and take a rest day when needed.
Although it is important to train hard, you cannot do so every day. You need to take full rest days as well as days where you only do active recovery. HIIT training should only be done when it is necessary, as doing it too often can lead to your nervous system burning out and your body not seeing results.
- Be Generally More Active (Outside The Gym)
Lean people know how to recover well and how to take advantage of a rest day by doing more than just sitting on the couch.
Most people underestimate the power of “NEAT” (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). This refers to the calories burned through activities that are not related to exercise, such as walking, standing, and taking the stairs. These activities may seem small, but they can have a significant impact on weight loss.
Many great coaches use fidgeting more often than traditional cardio exercises, which I have found to be more effective with clients and myself. Studies have shown that people who fidget more often are leaner and have a higher metabolic rate because they move more often during the day.
So my suggestion is simple, just move more!
If you sit at a desk, every hour, get up and do 10 bodyweight squats. If you have a lunch break, go for a 20-minute walk. If you have a fit bit or iPhone, shoot for 10-15,000 steps a day. Get a standing desk, take the stairs; the list could go on.
10,000 steps a day burns 3,500 calories a week, which is equal to 1lb of fat.
If you are already walking 10,000 steps a day and not losing any weight, try walking 15,000 steps a day. You are likely to lose 0.5 pounds per week if nothing else changes.
So the key point here is that people who stay slim all year round just move more than the average person. So get up and move around!
- Make Smart Choices that Lead to Lasting Habits
There are many factors that contribute to being healthy and staying lean year-round, and they are all based on choices. You have to be conscious of the choices you make every day regarding what you eat, what exercises you do, and what supplements you take. If you make smart and healthy choices over time, you will eventually develop positive habits that will allow you to stay lean year-round without having to make a conscious effort.