[10 TIPS] How To Stay Lean For Life

Living life with the lean, strong body you want isn't as hard as you've been told.

It doesn't take living in the gym, or being obsessive about food.

Most importantly, you don't have to yo-yo between enjoying your life and feeling confident in your body. As someone who's escaped this yo-yo pattern, you can have a body you feel confident in and a fun life. This is what I teach you as an online client - how to turn living lean & confident into a  sustainable lifestyle.

Ready to implement the exact strategies my clients and I use to make living lean a lifestyle? This is your roadmap.

1.Lift Weights 3-4x/Week

You don't have to live in the gym to build a lean, strong body - in fact, 90% of my clients train 3-4x/week.

You might say...

"I've gone to the gym 4 times per week forever, and my body hasn't changed at all!"

...and that is exactly the difference following a cohesive program that has your nutrition, training, and biofeedback all accounted for.

Tons of my online clients come from the same situation.

You don't need you to train more, we're simply creating a better program for you, and giving your body the support it needs to progress, through proper nutrition and managing life-stressors.

If your goals are to look better, feel better, move better training 3-4x/week will be plenty of training volume for you to create a lean, strong body.

For best results, follow either:

  • 3x/week full body split
  • 3x/week lower/upper/full body
  • 4x/week upper/lower

Check out THIS BLOG to learn how I would write and individualize each of these training splits for you.

2.Learn How To Get The Most Food Out Of Your Calories

2,500 calories can feel like a lot, or very little, depending on your food choices.

Since the main thing that prevents you from staying lean is excessive calories, it's important we optimize your food choices to help you prevent hunger.

We want to get you focusing on eating very satiating foods - the ones that make you most full.

Lean proteins and fibrous carbs especially have a lot of volume and are very satiating per calorie. Make these a big focus of your to keep hunger low, and maintaining a lean body easier.

→ The most satiating foods:

1. Lean proteins

2. Fiber-dense carbs like...

  • Fruits
  • Veggies
  • Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Potatoes

3. Fat

Building your meals around a foundation of lean protein and fibrous carbs is key here.

→ Avoid drinking your calories - Liquids will digest much quicker, meaning you’re hungry again sooner.

  • If you’re using milk as a protein source, try swapping it for cottage cheese or greek yogurt.
  • Use mostly whole food protein sources instead of protein powder. Protein powder does make hitting your protein goal much easier - but it also digests quickly, and doesn’t do near as much to keep you full. 50g of whole-food protein (e.g. 8oz chicken) is much more filling than two scoops of protein powder.

→ Try to avoid foods that are high in multiple macronutrients -

Example: you could eat...

  • 6oz ribeye for 493 calories (36 pro/39 fat)
  • 8oz sirloin (51 pro/9 fat) + 1 large avocado (10 carb/24 fat) for the same amount of calories, but more protein.

As shown, by selecting mostly foods that are high in just one macro, you're able to achieve a lot more volume and fullness from the same amount of calories.

→ Find lower calorie versions of oils, dressings, and condiments

  • I'd largely recommend swapping olive oil for calorie-free cooking spray.
  • Find a lower-calorie BBQ sauce or use steak sauce.
  • Swap high-calorie salad dressing for a fat-free vinaigrette.

A few easy swaps here (that you won’t even notice) give online clients hundreds of extra calories to work with in a day.

3.Eat Protein At Every Meal

You know protein is the most satiating food - it makes sense to try to spread it fairly evenly across your day to keep yourself full.

In fact, my online clients structure their days around lean protein - meaning the number one focus of all your meals should be including around ~25-40g protein.

Once you know what sources and quantities you'll be using to hit your protein goal, add in carbs and fat sources from there.

Easy lean protein sources:
  • Ground turkey
  • Turkey Bacon
  • Sirloin steak
  • Lean ground beef
  • Chicken breast
  • Flavored tuna packets
  • Greek yogurt
  • Cottage cheese
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Eggs & egg whites
  • Beef jerky
  • Low-Fat Greek Yogurt Cups
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tuna & tuna packets

This strategy will also help you optimally stimulate muscle-protein synthesis, which helps you increase lean muscle and metabolism.

4.Have Fun With Your Cardio

Cardio and fun... two words you don't usually hear in the same sentence.

Because everyone's been told "cardio sucks" for so long, too many people fall into the trap of avoiding it altogether.

Now, while it's not as important as your nutrition or lifting, it does help your health, recovery from your training, and overall sense of well-being and fitness.

This is why I don't let my clients skip their cardio - we just make it super fun for them instead, primarily using two strategies:

1. Finishers

A finisher is an exercise or sequence of exercises that should be designed to rapidly increase the workload on the cardiovascular system and/or muscular system, and with them, increase energy output.

-Will Levy

Basically, finishers are intense bouts of exercise used to “finish off” a muscle group or workout - and they have a lot of different applications:

    • Fat Loss – Finishers are a great tool to increase total calories burned in a workout. A session composed of heavy compound lifts AND a fat burning finisher is a solid recipe for a lean, muscular physique (along with good nutrition, of course.)
    • Muscle Growth – Finishers are great for ramping up metabolic stress. You know that burning feeling you get when you’re chasing the pump? Training like this causes metabolites to accumulate in your muscle cells, leading to cell swelling, hormonal release, and several other factors important to muscle growth. We're also jacking up your heart rate and improving your conditioning here.
    • General Conditioning – By improving your conditioning, you’ll be able to recover quicker between sets, and improve endurance during sets. Essentially, you’ll be able to do more work, in a shorter time period.

      Finishers let you incorporate unique modalities like strongman circuits, advanced bodybuilding techniques, or MetCons, like you’ll find in a CrossFit workout. They let you add exciting twists to your program, without falling into the “entertrainment trapprioritizing novelty exercises over results. For more on how I build the perfect finishers for you as an online client, check out THIS BLOG.

      2. Lifestyle Cardio

      Instead of pounding away at the treadmill, get outside and move! I have most of my clients track daily movement, and assign many a non-specific cardio session - hiking, biking, sand volleyball - just do something fun that gets you moving.

      5.Devote 10-30 Minutes Per Day To Self-Care

      Most of us are insanely stressed.

      If you're anything like most of my clients, you're constantly feeling the pressure to work more and push harder.

      While this isn't always a bad thing, always being "on" is detrimental to your body composition if we don't take steps to manage it.

      With an overabundance of stress, you'll have chronically high levels of cortisol "the stress hormone". This creates:

      • Poor sleep, which leads to less movement (calories burned), less muscle mass, and worse recovery from training
      • Worse hormonal balance
      • Increased hunger

      All less than optimal for your body composition.

      The remedy is simple. Take alone time daily to relax and get out of your head.

      Now, I get it - this sounds woo-woo.

      But truly, it's made a massive difference in my own life, and that of my clients.

      All you're doing is taking 10-30 minutes of alone time to do something like:

      • Read
      • Journal
      • Meditate
      • Breath work

      Truly, self-care can take many forms. It's varied with clients from float tanks to watching Friends with a glass of wine.

      This is damn important, and something I hold my online clients accountable to doing daily.

      6.Walk 10K Steps Daily

      The main reason people who experience dramatic weight loss tend to regain it? (Outside of eating excess food).

      Those who lose a lot of weight tend to have a reduction in non-exercise activity thermogenesis (N.E.A.T.) - all the movement that happens outside the gym. Fidgeting, pacing, doing the laundry, etc.

      After losing a large amount of weight, you body wants to return to it's old norm. One of the ways it encourages this is by subconsciously reducing your N.E.A.T.

      You could just try to fidget all day... but setting a daily step goal to ensure you don't experience a drastic dip in N.E.A.T. makes more sense.

      This is one metric I hold my all my online clients focused on getting or staying lean accountable to. It's too important to overlook.

      7.Change Up Your Training Every Few Months

      Look, I'm not telling you to "shock the body"... too much variation in your training will hurt your progress.

      We know that to maintain a lean & strong body, you need to stay consistent with your training.

      If you've been following the same program (or no program) for months, you're likely bored and giving half-effort at this point.

      This is why I give my online clients new blocks of training every 4 weeks. It keeps you fun and engaged - so you'll push harder, and get better results.

      We're also always setting new goals, and looking to get uncomfortable and introduce you to new challenges within your training.

      Even better, hire a coach to build an program specific to you, hold you accountable, and push you every day. It will completely transform your body and your confidence.

      8.Implement "Flex Days"

      You want to be lean, strong, and confident...

      But you also want to occasionally enjoy some drinks, and food that's hard to fit to a specific macro ratio.

      I get it - this is exactly why I came up with flex days for my clients.

      Most of my clients being intermediate-advanced trainees and coaches, it makes sense to focus on macros most of the time - the more specific we can get with your nutrition, the more specific the results we can get you.

      That said, as long as overall calories and protein intake are on point, your results won't be hugely affected by the ratio of carbs/fats.

      To feel lean and confident and maintain a balanced lifestyle, 5-6 days of the week you'd follow macros. The other 1-2 days of the week are your flex days:

      1. Stay at your overall calorie goal for the day

      2. Hit your protein goal

      3. Let carbs and fats fall where they may

      To sustain your results, giving you tools like this that make your nutrition work with your lifestyle is one of the most important things I do as your coach.

      9.Plan Maintenance Phases Into Your Year

      This really ties into nutritional periodization and training periodization - both huge pieces of my coaching philosophy.

      Basically, we plan out months in advanced the different phases of your nutrition and training, all working together to push you towards the same end goal with better hormones, more lean muscle, and a healthier metabolism.

      A key piece of this (that most coaches don't focus on) is maintenance phases.

      When changing your body composition, pushing too hard for too long in either direction can be detrimental.

      • Dieting for long periods of time in a large calorie deficit reduces metabolism, hormones, and potentially lean muscle.
      • Pushing the training volume and calories for muscle gain can eventually be detrimental to your hormones, and lead to excess fat gain.

      In either situation, you spending some time at maintenance helps.

      In simplest terms, maintenance phases "prime" your body for muscle gain or fat loss.

      By not pushing too hard in either direction, we're allowing your hormones to normalize, potentially increasing your metabolism, and letting your body full recover before another hard push.

      The easiest way to work really hard and never get the results you want? Failure to take maintenance phases.

      10. Get Accountability

      The most important part of creating the leanest, strongest, most confident version of you is consistency.

      That's why all of my online clients get such crazy results.

      They're crazy consistent and accountable to a smart nutrition and training program.

      Regardless if you're brand new to fitness, or a coach yourself - if you're not getting the results you want, the missing piece is accountability and consistency.

      If you're ready to get the body and confidence you've always wanted, CLICK HERE to apply for online coaching.


      About The Author

      Jeremiah Bair is a certified nutrition coach, strength coach, and owner of the Online Coaching Business Bairfit. His Instagram is noticeably missing any calf pictures.

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