So you've dieted and exercised your butt off, reached your goal weight, and now you need to learn how to stay lean year round! The main thing to remember is that you have to be consistent. Being lean and healthy is a lifestyle and should continue as such even after you've achieved the weight you want. Here are 8 tips on how to stay lean year round to help keep you from falling off the healthy bandwagon!
1. The 5 Pound Rule
One of the simplest ways for how to stay lean year round is to follow the 5 pound rule. Once you get to your ideal weight, do what it takes to stay within 5 pounds of that weight year round. Once you are 5 pounds over that ideal weight mark, tighten up your diet and do what it takes to work back down to your ideal weight. It is as simple as it gets! As long as you keep track of your weight on a daily or weekly basis, you will never put on weight.
2. Natural Fat Burners
If you're not going to the gym as much because you've already reached your ideal weight, be sure to eat natural fat burners instead. Try adding foods such as cinnamon, grapefruit, and asparagus to your diet to burn fat and stay lean year round. Cinnamon works by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin with 1g per day shown to be an effective dose. One study also showed that grapefruit, even in the absence of exercise, led study participants to lose weight. Similarly, asparagus has been found to be effective for fat loss, containing the chemical asparagine, an alkaloid that breaks down fat.
3. Training Partner
You know what they say, misery loves company! Make a pact with your friend that you will continue to go to the gym year round even when you're at your ideal weight. A fitness buddy is your support system during your moments of frustration or on the days you just don't feel up to hitting the gym. Also, the more people you are around that make healthy eating and exercise choices, the easier it will be for you to stay lean year round. By working out consistently with others, you will find yourself committed to staying physically fit.
4. Beware Winter
Don't let the winter months get the best of you! Most of us use winter as an excuse to cheat on our diets… a lot. We tell ourselves it's okay because you can burn it all off before bikini season. Don't think that way! Yes, you should cheat a little during the holidays but don't go overboard. If you feel like a bear getting ready to hibernate, then you have gone too far. It's better to stay lean year round than trying to crash diet and exercise right before the summer months. If you can, take up a winter sport! It's a great and fun way to keep you lean during the winter months.
5. Eat Smaller Meals 5 Times a Day
Each time you eat, it boosts your metabolism. Thus, the more you eat, the more you will burn without trying — if your meals are healthy of course. So keep eating smaller meals after you've already reached your goal weight. The more you eat, the more your stomach is going to expand. So keep your stomach small by eating the same portion sizes you did when you were working towards your first goal. Don't deprive yourself of foods you love too. It's all about moderation and portion size!
6. Set Small Goals
Another key to staying lean all year round is to create goals throughout the year that will keep you motivated. Learn how to incorporate the holidays or vacations into your milestones. For example, maybe you're going to be a bridesmaid in October or have a huge New Year's Eve party planned where everyone is going to be wearing tight dresses. Simply notice the holidays or events during each season marked on your calendar. Finding different times and events throughout the year along with different ways to achieve each goal will keep you encouraged to maintain your figure year round. Bikini season shouldn't be your only yearly milestone.
7. Reward Yourself
Usually when dieting and exercising, your reward is your weight-loss or muscle-gain. But if you are simply trying to maintain it, then you need a new reward system. After a hard workout or eating healthy for a full week, reward yourself for keeping up with your diet and exercise with things like a spa day or going shopping. Just like setting small goals, setting small rewards will give you more motivation to stay fit and lean all year round.
8. Try a New Exercise Routine
Why not start doing yoga instead of your usual outdoor activity? Or try out a Zumba class instead of your regular gym workout? Switching up the type of exercise you do is another great way to keep you motivated to work out all year round. It also ensures that our entire body gets a really great workout and not just the same muscles over and over again. Plus it doesn't limit you to just indoor or outdoor activities, which is good for when the winter months roll in.
Life is too short to work your butt off year-round. Sometimes you just have to back off your demanding diet and exercise schedule for a little bit and just enjoy life. But that doesn't mean you can't stay lean while doing so! What tips do you have for staying lean year round?