• Joshua Li

Your Guide To Staying Lean All Year Round


For many, getting lean is achievable but how do you maintain your new lean look for months and months? You have been dieting down, training hard, dropping body fat and reach a point where you feel happy, happy to keep what you currently look like.

1. Tracking your Macros

Staying lean, you need to manage your caloric intake right. You need to know how much and what to be eating. If you have been dieting in a caloric deficit and reach your end goal, these macros will be your base to work from. From this base you can alter your macros as desired.

I recommend you use Myfitnesspal to track your food. It can be tedious or fiddly but it really does help keep you in check with your daily macros. The best thing is the improvement in food knowledge you gain from using the app. If you eat out only a couple times a week, do not track and have the meal off the phone. Over time it will give a better balance without feeling like every single thing you eat needs tracking. From experience 80-90% tracking is sufficient. This leads to the next tip…

2. Restricting Calories

You track 80-90% of your food intake so enjoy the couple meals dining out and this includes not tracking. There are two ways to do this and both have worked with long term clients.

Example: You are eating 4x protein meals + 1 Snack equating to 2500kcal.

First option is cutting back so having 3x protein meals for the day IF you are eating out smart. The smart choice means picking protein as your main for the meal giving room for added calories for bigger portions and alcohol.

Second option is Fasting and only 2x high protein meals. I suggest this option IF you are expecting a really high calorie dinner (such as burger and fries) and alcoholic drinks. I would opt to fast until lunch and have 2x high protein meals any time before your big dinner.

3. Calorie Expenditure

We know a calorie deficit can help keep us lean and this too can be said if we expend more energy. Expending more energy can create a deficit for our body to maintain a lower body fat %. This is done by simply moving, being active outside of your gym sessions.

An active job really allows you to have a higher food intake so for those who do not? Get more from your day in the office, walk when you can, get a stand up desk, standing when on the phone, these are little changes.

Thinking of getting on the mtr just for one stop? Forget it, walk it! Take the stairs instead of escalators and if you are waiting for a lift, walk the stairs too (be reasonable here, not talking 10+ floors).

Living in HK, we have a lot of options for hikes, make the most of it and start your weekends with a morning walk. Work up the calorie expenditure rather than being sat on the sofa all day long!

4. Don’t eat plain food

The most common reason for lack of discipline when it comes to food in my opinion……plain food. You only last so long eating plain food and that’s down to you to make effort to cook things that taste good! Seasonings and low calorie sauces are totally fine. As we always tell clients, read the nutrition labels.

For eating out in HK, there are smart choices to be made. Chinese and Thai restaurants have lean protein options such as white fish, chicken, prawns and ton of vegetable dishes (white rice for carbs also). Western restaurants also have options for good meals of a solid protein source accompanied with greens.

5. Mindful & Accountable

Lastly, the thought and decisions you make daily and weekly. Daily get down the basic habits of water intake, hitting your macros and sleeping enough. On a weekly basis you should hit your weekly training sessions and plan ahead for eating out/drinking, making the necessary calorie cut backs to accommodate those meals/drinks (mentioned above). This is being mindful.

On being accountable, you should take measures to monitor your current condition (both weight and visual are recommended) and take responsibility. Taking responsibility for your actions gets you your reward and in staying lean all year round, that is your reward.

If you are happy with how you look, the shape you are currently in, then there is no reason you cannot stay lean all year round. You can have that balance with eating clean and the eating out lifestyle, but you must set appropriate guidelines in order to keep that appearance up!

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