The 10 Lean Habits
Lean, strong, fit and healthy people share these common habits. No, it’s not luck or genetics, it’s just a series of daily choices. These choices, once integrated with your lifestyle develop into a subconscious habit keeping you lean. Pick at least 8 of these and practice daily to get lean and (most importantly) stay lean.
Getting lean is can be easy. You can follow a boring, restrictive meal plan for 8-12 weeks, with little understanding of how or why you’re getting leaner. Then when the diet ‘finishes’ you go back to your previous habits and with it comes the weight gain. Sound familiar?
Read ahead to understand the habits you need to be practicing daily to get and STAY lean.
And so, in no particular order of importance, the lean habits
Habit 1: Lean people weight train!
Lean guys and girls lift weights in one form or another. They understand how powerful resistance training is in developing your appearance and transforming your health.
Are you a female wanting to tone? You can’t ‘tone’ or ‘shape’ a muscle. You actually want slightly less body fat and slightly more muscle than you already have. Yes, I said it you want more MUSCLE! Just slightly more off it, whilst losing body fat to give it that defined look. Weight training won’t make you bulky as long as you’re not consuming too many calories and gaining body fat. Lean people know this and aren’t afraid to lift some heavy weights.
Are you a male looking to lose body fat? What if I told you that cardio is not the only way? Lifting weights cause’s a lot of metabolic stress which in turn requires a lot of energy (calories) to perform the workout but also recover from it. This will help to take you into a calorie deficit and you will lose body fat.
Goal: It can be scary to learn something new, especially in what can seem an intimidating environment. Get some help. It may cost but, like any other skill, seeking professional guidance can speed up your learning and make the activity more enjoyable.
Look at your normal week of training, how does it look? An ideal week will have an 80/20 ratio of resistance training to cardio. I recommend checking out my lifestyle design online program for more help on how to include weight training into your week. Shameless plug because I think it’s awesome!
Habit 2: Lean people drink lots of water!
It’s not new and it’s not sexy but the simplicity of drinking more water WORKS. Ensuring you are properly hydrated reduces hunger as the brain often confuses the 2 similar signals, so next time your reaching for a snack try drinking a minimum of 500ml of water, wait a few minutes and see how you feel.
Lean people drink water first thing in the morning, and they ensure they always have a bottle with them throughout the day. At a restaurant? “Drinks to start?” you can be sure lean people order water, even if it’s alongside other drinks!
Goal: track your water intake for a day, then add 500-1000ml onto it. Drink more until you are consuming at least 2.5L per day, after a while it will become second nature.
Habit 3: Lean people move, lots!
EAT – Exercise Activity Thermogenesis makes up roughly 5-10% of your daily output of calories.
NEAT – Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis makes up around 25% of your daily output of calories.
NEAT includes any form of movement which is not conventional training or exercise. This could simply be walking to work, or using the stairs instead of the lift. With NEAT contributing largely to your calorie output in the day, upping your NEAT can positively affect your goals. As you can see NEAT actually use’s more calories daily than a workout but how often do you say “ that was a good day of movement” Focus on NEAT and training.
Goal: Most smart phones have a built-in step monitor and there are many additional apps you can download for free. Try hitting 10,000 steps per day every day, or at least 30% more than you’re currently doing.
Habit 4: Lean people don’t wing it in the gym!
It can be hard to stay motivated in the gym. Just turning up to the gym and seeing what you fancy won’t lead to consistency. Lean people follow programs when they train. A properly developed program designed for you will help you reach your goals – and this can be tracked using a log book. Knowing what you will be doing in the gym is more motivating, and holds you accountable to the program. This will result in less missed sessions and more calories burned.
Goal: find a program online or hire someone to create one for you, and buy a cheap notebook to log your workouts. Trust in the program for four weeks and I guarantee you will progress like never before!
Habit 5: Lean people stop eating when they are full not when they have finished their plate!
As a child I was always told to clear my plate, I was even told that if I didn’t I wouldn’t get desert. Over eating was rewarded with more food like dessert!? Sounds ridiculous when you put it like that. Lean people exercise portion control and, where this isn’t possible, they are mindful of when they are full. Lean people eat slowly and focus on enjoying the food.
Goal: stop eating when you are full even if that means there’s still a little food left on the plate.
Habit 6: Lean people don’t drink alcohol as a routine!
Fancy a glass of wine or a beer after a long day, mid-week, to unwind and relax? This habit along with a social weekend can contribute to hidden calories. Whilst alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, lean people understand how alcohol is dense in calories. It is easy for a few drinks to result in a calorie surplus for the week and halt your progress.
Goal: Limiting alcohol intake to social events is a great way to increase fat loss. Swap those mid-week drinks for calorie free alternatives! Not a mid-week drinker but a weekend binger? Swap more calorie dense options like wine, beer and cider for spirts with low/zero calorie mixers such as gin and slim line tonic.
Habit 7: Lean people consume a portion of protein with every meal!
Lean people create meals and snacks based on hitting their daily protein goal. Protein doesn’t just build muscle, it is the most filling macronutrient and needs more energy to be broken down by your digestive system.
Goal: simple, consume more protein per day.
|Under 18% Body Fat||2g of protein per kg of body weight|
|Over 18% Body Fat||1.8g of protein per kg of body weight|
|Under 28% Body Fat||2g of protein per kg of body weight|
|Over 28% Body Fat||1.8g of protein per kg of body weight|
Goal 8: Lean people eat their vegetables!
5 a day? More like up to 10! Lean people understand the various health benefits of eating a large variety of vegetables and fruits, they know large volumes of vegetables make meals more filling and decrease the chance of over eating which keeps them lean. Lean people rarely have meat and two veg, they understand how to create a recipe with a foundation of tasty vegetables.
Goal: Increase your veg intake over the period of 10 days to 7 portions per day minimum. Consume at least 4 different types of vegetables per day. Try one a vegetable you’ve never tried before or perhaps try and cook your favourite in a variety of different ways. For more help with incorporating vegetables into your diet check out my Fat Loss Macro Cookbook – it’s free to download from my website!
Habit 9: Lean people don’t have cheat days!
“Moderation is difficult, extremes are easy.”
It is common for people to reward themselves for a good diet week with a ‘cheat day’. This is counterproductive and forms and unhealthy relationship with food. For example, someone eating on a calorie deficit of 500 per day (3000 from Monday to Saturday), can offset this progress by getting a large New Yorker pizza from Dominos and two beers on Sunday. Lean people understand moderation, and eat foods they enjoy throughout the week to stay motivated.
Goal: create a flexible diet focused around foods you enjoy eating whilst meeting your goals. This will reduce the need for a cheat day.
Habit 10: Lean people understand the importance of sleep!
Ever sacrifice sleep to watch the last episode? Did you feel good the next day, or the day after? Sleep is essential for hormone production and repair, and being tired can have a massive effect on your motivation and output the next day. It can be hard to deal with daily stress when tired, and you may end up compromising on your lean habits!
Goal: create a good night time routine, ideally go to sleep at a similar time every night. Try to go to bed 30 mins earlier.
Thanks for Reading
Bonus point, add up how many of these habits where nutrition vs training focused!
Each habit will apply slightly differently from person to person, but the principles are all the same. With this knowledge you are on track to achieve your goals in 2018, however there is far more detail to explore. If you need help understanding how any of these apply to you, don’t hesitate to drop me message or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, please recommend to a friend.
Yours in the battle to end yo-yo dieting and creating an enjoyable, happy lifestyle!