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Easy Steps to Staying Lean All Year

If you want the high-level overview of how to get lean and stay lean year round in a very uncomplicated way.

1. Do some activity every day.

If you have a physical job then that should take care of itself. If you work a desk job then on non-training days even 20 minutes of LISS will suffice. Simply put, stay active each day for a set period of time. It could even be pick up basketball or fighting midgets in the mall parking lot. If those things are enjoyable, do them. In fact, finding activities that are enjoyable are often the best way to stay consistent with them.

pick up basketball


2. Fill each meal with protein, unlimited veggies, and limit fat and carb intake accordingly.

People fuss over low fat or high fat and low carb/high carb. Generally speaking, once your protein requirements are met, those are the two macros you will manipulate in order to get into an energy deficit (protein cannot be converted to fat, for the most part, and has the highest thermic digestive rate of the three). But you don’t have to get anal about counting if you manage your portions and get them from quality sources. For carbs I think of them like this now – you don’t fill up your car and keep pumping gas. It just overflows and you waste it. Carbs aren’t dissimilar. You eat enough to supply your energy needs and for repair. That amount will vary from person to person. But I would advise erring on the side of being conservative and increasing them based on training performance (if it goes into the crapper, simply up them a bit).

3. Push the majority of your carbs into the peri and post training window

This when you’re most likely not going to store any of said carbs as fat. Again, just don’t get nuts.


4. Increase Your NEAT

That’s Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. That’s all the stuff you do that requires energy outside of your planned training like walking through the parking lot or taking the stairs. So park as far away from the building you’re going to as possible (within reason guys, don’t go park off in Egypt to shop at Wal-Mart in Boise, Idaho) in the parking lot. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, use the basket at the grocery and tote your groceries around, stand up at work for 15 minutes every hour, etc. Just find some ways to move more where beforehand you were morning less.


5. Refeed When Needed

If you’re tired and flat, refeed by upping the carbs and taking the fat down to minimal levels for a meal or two. This does not mean to “cheat”, i.e.eating 27 twinkies and four pizzas….in that order. In fact, unless you’re really lean or have arrived at your goal you really don’t need to cheat at all. There’s nothing magical about cheating. Refeeding isn’t even something to be done that often unless you are already fairly lean and are training quite often.

Usain bolt eating


6. Don’t Over Extend Yourself

One thing about all of the above is that it is putting you into a deficit. The deeper the deficit the more ravenous you will become, the more ravenous you become, the higher the probability that you will not be able to stick to your eating plan, diet, lifestyle and will go destroy an all you can eat buffet multiple times a week. Activity actually works against you when you’re trying to shed body fat as it will increase your appetite. So moderation is, in fact, key here so as to make it easier to stay the course.

7. Think long term

The old saying “if you walk 10 miles deep into the woods you gotta walk 10 miles out of it” applies. You didn’t get to be 100 pounds overweight in 12 weeks (if you did, congratulations because that’s quite the feast AND feat). So don’t expect to undo it in 12 weeks. Set yourself up some changes you can apply daily, weekly, and monthly. This is why it’s important to see #6 and not over extend yourself. Slow and steady wins the race.

This post originally appeared on the Facebook Page of Paul Carter
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