When it comes to creating the lean body we all want, the ultimate goal is really sustaining it. See I’ve accomplished that lean body before, more than once. Maybe you can relate here…
You work your ass off, figure out a diet that works well to shed those pounds and get rid of most of that unwanted body fat, but eventually it comes right back. Yeah, I’ve done that two – more than once.
But it’s got to be our genetics, right? My friend eats carbs all damn day and is lean as hell, but he’s just a freak and I’m pretty much destined to store body fat.
Well after years of coaching, dieting, training, and studying this for a living – I’ve come to realize that this is simply just not the truth.
See there are specific things we do on daily, weekly, and monthly basis that add up over time in which create the body we have. Some our mental, some are emotional, some are physical, and some are specifically in our diet. These specific things are exactly what determine whether or not we stay lean year ‘round.
So my friend I mentioned earlier, who eats the entire bakery while having washboard abs, yeah he may be slightly genetically more gifted than me… But there are also specific things he does, has been doing, and will continue doing that create his ability to stay lean year ‘round.
I grew up doing absolutely none of those, so I was predisposed to not be lean when I got into this. But in most of your cases, you are or have been in the exact same shoes as me. The difference I have among others is I’ve researched and hung around these people for years now, I’ve adopted their habits and tendencies, and now can successfully stay lean year ‘round as well. (To learn how you can adopt these habits as well, get on a free Consultation Coaching Call with me Here)
So without ranting more, lets break it down with the…
10 Things People Who Stay Lean Year ‘Round Do
#1 – They Do Not “Diet”
This may be the most important thing all people who stay lean year-round do, which is why it’s first. Anytime you ask someone who is really lean, and seems to stay that way, what their diet is like their response is something like…
“I don’t really know… I just eat a good amount of protein and healthy stuff” and if they’re into the science behind it at all, it may sound like “I eat to fuel my training and goals, tracking and making sure I try to eat good quality ingredients most of the time”.
But very, very, rarely will they say they follow paleo, low carb, whole 30, carb-nite solution, the zone diet, or anything else that has a cool name to it.
They eat to perform, have a good awareness of what they’re eating and why, and 80-90% of their diet is probably healthy foods. But they do not over think it and they definitely do not diet hop – this can be the most dangerous way to diet, because you can wreck your hormones and a gang of other negative side effects can occur (To learn the harms of quick dieting, check out this recent blog post I wrote and find the solution).
#2 – They Actually Train Their Asses Off
For lack of better words, that’s the blunt truth. Many people just do not train hard enough to really build serious muscle or burn a lot of body fat – both which are crucial for getting and staying lean.
I’ve been on each end of things, training too soft and training too hard. The truth is, it’s better to train too hard while listening to your body to know when enough is enough and you need a rest. My suggestion is to train hard for anywhere between 3-6 weeks while taking a full week to deload and take it easy at some point in that time frame. If you train 3-4 times per week (not cardio) probably deload every 4-6 weeks, if you train 2-3 times per week more likely every 8 weeks. But everyone is different… So learn to know your body.
The key take away is that everyone who stays lean gives everything they got on every rep. The leanest body’s come from focusing on the rep and exercise that is happening in that exact moment… Not what’s going on later in that work out. Don’t worry about the finisher, until the finisher is happening.
Every. Single. Rep. Counts. (Sounds hardcore cheesy, but it’s the proven truth)
#3 – They Count Their Macros and Calories (Or Have Done So Before)
This is a controversy because so many people believe you don’t need to do so, but the truth of the matter is simple and backed by science….
Calories in vs. Calories out will determine whether or not we gain or lose weight, period.
So those people who are super lean and stay lean year ‘round who do not track macros have done so before and because they have, they’ve become aware of how much and what to eat to keep their body fat in check.
I encourage everyone to track calories and macros on at least a relaxed sense at some point because it will without a doubt create more awareness and knowledge for them on what they need to eat to feel good, lose body fat, build muscle, and simply know how many calories are in the foods they’re eating.
(Struggle with tracking macros? Don’t know where to start? All good, I got you. Get on a Free Discovery Call where I will teach you the in’s and out’s, plus give you tools for better results in less than 30 minutes)
#4 – They Have A Plan
I mean this in two different ways. First being that they have some form of structure in not only their nutrition, but definitely their training.
Almost nobody who stays lean year-round just goes into the gym each day and wings it. Having this approach doesn’t allow us to progress or know whether we’re progressing or not (I have a free article showing you how to do this properly too…). It also does not allow periodization in our training, meaning rotating goals and training volumes throughout months and years to ensure we’re never hitting plateaus. That’s why most people who do not have a coach or follow a program, experience twice as many plateaus as those who do.
The other way I mean this, is that they know where they want to be down the road, the long road I might add… Many people, who stay super lean, have a long-term goal for their body and it goes well beyond 30 days. You should set a goal and plan to have a body next summer or year, then structure mini goals along the way to keep you pushing.
#5 – They’re Committed
The last bullet leads me right into this one. It’s not sexy, not fun and definitely isn’t as motivating to hear or think about… But it’s the truth and key behind staying lean year ‘round.
You need to commit. They’ve committed to the lifestyle and may not reap the benefits after a week or two of living it, but after a month and more they absolutely do.
One thing I can guarantee is that if you do make the decision to fully commit – that commitment becomes easier to follow once it is made. The hard part is the strong decision and change, but once it is set it becomes habit.
#6 – The Respect The Recovery Principle
Even if you may think so, this is not at all contradicting my #2 point. See when you’re training, you need to train your ass off. But when you’re recovering, you need to soak it up and recover your ass off too!
People who stay lean year ‘round understand that protein intake around workouts, adequate hydration, getting enough sleep, and taking a rest day when it’s needed are all absolutely crucial to keeping their results.
Training hard is key, but you cannot be going 100 MPH every day. You need to take full rest days, active recovery days, and only perform HIIT training when it’s necessary. If you do not, your nervous system will burn out and your body will not produce results.
#7 – They’re Generally More Active Than You (Outside The Gym)
To bounce off the last point that established the fact that they know how to recovery well, they also know that a rest day can be a little more than sitting on the couch all day.
They usually go on easy hikes, take walks at lunch break, stand at their desk, choose to take the stairs, and essentially just try to move a little bit more than the average person. See what most people underestimate is the power of “NEAT” (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis).
Some of the greatest coaches implement this more so often than typical cardio and I personally have used this to get better results with many clients and myself alike. They’ve even done studies showing that those who fidget more often than others tend to be leaner and have a higher metabolic rate because they’re moving more frequently throughout the day.
So my suggestion is simple, just move more!
Sit at a desk? Get up and do 10 bodyweight squats on the hour every hour. Have a lunch break? Go for a 20-minute walk. Have a fit bit or iPhone? Shoot to hit 10-15,000 steps a day. Get a standing desk… Take the stairs… The list could really go on and on.
Here’s some numbers for you – 10,000 steps a day equals 70,000 steps per week. 70,000 steps can burn 3,500 calories. 3,500 calories is 1lb of fat.
Now if you’re already doing 10,000 steps a day and not losing a single pound of weight, up that to 15,000 steps a day and you more than likely will lose .5lbs per week assuming nothing else changes across the board.
So the key takeaway here is easy, people who stay lean year ‘round just move more than the typically person. So get active!
#8 – They’re Flexible With Their Plans
This is a major key for results and I really try to instill this in every client I work with. Having macros and calorie limits are great, but you cannot expect to hit it on the dot every single day and even if you did, no telling that you actually are doing so because of calorie variance in food labels.
So what people who stay lean tend to focus on is hitting their protein and carbs within +/- 5g and usually tend to hit their fats within +/- 2-3g. They also know that if they’re over one day’s calories, they can subtract that back throughout the week and be ok – because total weekly calories is the most important thing here.
The main thing is that they do not restrict themselves too much and they know this is not a daily game. So if they need to adjust for life they do just that and they do not stress it; but they do keep it under control. The same concept goes for training. If you’re traveling and are working out of a hotel gym, maybe you do a dumbbell bench press instead of a barbell bench press. The key is you’re training, you’re doing the right movements, and you’re staying consistent.
# 9 – They Do Not Rely On Supplements
Unfortunately the media and many influencers in this industry have led so many people to believe that they need supplements to get results and the truth is far from that. Supplements are just that – they “supplement” your diet.
People who stay lean year ‘round get 90% of their needed nutrients, if not more, from whole food sources. The supplements they usually do take are things like whey protein when they cannot get a meal in, fish oil if they do not eat enough fatty fish each week, digestive enzymes or probiotics if they have GI stress, and possibly creatine if they’re looking to boost performance and strength gains a little bit.
No fat burners, no weight gainers, and nothing with a label saying “Hardcore!” or “Extreme!”
#10 – They Have Supporting Surroundings
This doesn’t mean they don’t have the occasional taco Tuesday, go out for beers with the guys once a week, have a glass of wine here and there, or anything like that. But in almost all cases, they don’t keep a bunch of treats around the house.
Another thing they have is supportive friends and places they often find themselves in. They usually don’t hang with friends in the bar every night, work at a fast food joint, hit the food truck for lunch with co-workers, and probably keep like-minded people around them majority of the times.
Everyone needs to enjoy life as much as possible, but the majority of the places and people you surround yourself with should support your goals to be and stay lean.
If any of this content has made you reflect on your lifestyle, realize what may be holding you back, or by any way confused you on how you can truly become and stay lean year ‘round – I encourage you to fill out the form below, by doing so you’ll be applying for a Free Discovery Call with me where we can break down the struggles you face, determine a solution to get you better results, and answer any questions you may have along the way.
Some people decide to coach with me after the call, others do not – but they all leave with valuable and applicable info to achieve better results.