The 10 Commandments for Staying Lean

by | Dec 12, 2019 | Lifestyle, Mindset, Nutrition, Training

How many days left in the countdown?

You know, the one until your warm winter getaway?

Not taking a trip?

Me either.

This still applies to you because believe it or not, summer will be here before you know it.

Do you know what both of these means?

Serious regret for not jumping on the workout and nutrition bandwagon sooner…

I’m here to tell you there is no need for regret this year because I’ve put together the 10 Commandments for Staying Lean.

These are the rules to live by so that no matter when you need to show off that #beachbod, you are ready!

No Dieting

This one NEEDS to be first because it is easily the most important thing for staying lean year round.

Ask anyone lean how they do it and they’ll give you a response like:

“I don’t know, I just try to balance things out. Try not to eat out too often, and when I do, follow it up with home-cooked, well-prepared meals.”


“Hmm, a lot of protein and veggies and a big focus on staying away from sweets and treats.”

OR finally:

“I just eat what my body tells me it wants. I try to make the best possible decision and keep foods as real as possible.”

They may give you a diet practice they lean toward, but RARELY does someone say they follow a strict paleo, ketogenic, or zone diet long-term.

Take a look at their diet and you’ll find that 85 to 90% of foods are whole, minimally processed, healthy foods.

That means that 10 to 15% is whatever they want. But ONLY 10 to 15%. They have good awareness and are able to listen and provide what the body wants or needs.

There’s no diet hopping or crash dieting.

It’s simply a majority clean and healthy foods focus with a sprinkle of the things they love and enjoy.

Train Hard

If you’re dead serious about staying lean this year, there’s no way you can do it without busting your butt in the gym.

Yes, there are those freaky unicorns who can eat pretty well, never touch a weight, and look great.

Those people are RARE.

So for the rest of us mere mortals, we need to train hard in the gym in order to maintain the body we want.

Every workout MUST count. Even more, every REP must count!

Those who are really lean are able to put aside the crap from the day and channel it into a great workout.

Now there is the other side of the spectrum.

This DOES NOT mean you should absolutely wreck yourself in your quest to stay lean. It means train hard, listen to your body, and know when your body needs some R&R.

My general recommendations are to take a deload or rest week every 4 to 6 weeks if you’re training hard 3 to 4 times per week (not cardio). If you’re training 2 to 3 times per week, you can likely push the deload closer to 8 weeks.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, the goal is to make every rep, set, and workout the best of your life. Listen to what your body is telling you and don’t be afraid

to challenge yourself.

Track Your Food

Wait a minute, didn’t we say these people didn’t follow a diet? Don’t they just follow a balanced lifestyle?


But doing that doesn’t mean calorie and macro tracking is NEVER done.

SO many people believe they do not need or are not able to track their food, but rules are rules and the #1 rule for body composition is still this:

If calories in are greater than calories out, you will gain weight.

If calories in are lesser than calories out, you will lose weight.

I explained to a client the other day that tracking your every bite is not a forever thing, but we need to build a base and educate ourselves. There’s a degree of awareness that needs to be present in order to back off the tracking.

Now, I’m still one of those who are envious of the forever lean but I’ve built that awareness from diligently tracking for periods of time. I explained to a client the other day that I know what my body needs, a solid estimate of where my calorie balance is for the day, and what are great sources of food for my body and building muscle.

I have put in some serious practice into tracking. I can pretty well estimate the number of calories in a plate these days, but guess what?

I’m tracking my butt off right now.

These people have to circle back to periodic tracking.

It could be to tighten up for a vacation, maintain through the holidays, or prepare for a competition or event.

But you have to put in the work sometimes, and as unfun as tracking your every bite might be, it will help you stay lean in the long run.

Struggle knowing where or how to start tracking calories and macros? I’ve got you covered. Get on a FREE Discovery Call and I’ll help lay out the in’s and out’s for tracking for your lifestyle.

Plan Ahead

This applies to SO many paths because the reality is that it’s darn near impossible to stay lean by just winging it.


We just talked about how those who stay lean year-round have at some point or another tracked their calories and macros. There’s a plan to what, how, and when they eat. They plan cheat meals and “off days” as well as how to get back on track.


Staying lean requires you to progress in workouts and training, and if you head into a training session winging it, you’ll never be able to properly track your progress. The “Wing It” Program doesn’t allow for periodization in training, which means our training volumes and intensity don’t rotate throughout the months and years and can lead to plateaus.


These people always have a long-term plan or an idea of where they want to be down the road. He or she might think about what they want to look like months or years from now, and he or she is able to break that down to smaller goals to use as checkpoints. Then, each and every day is used as an opportunity to take one step forward in the quest for the next checkpoint and the vision down the road.


Nothing special or fancy, but it’s the truth – these people are downright committed to the long-term plan and being the best possible version of themselves.

Sure, you look at these people and are jealous of their good-looking bodies, but there is nothing sexy about living lean. It’s a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, even on days where that lifestyle seems to reap zero benefits. There’s a commitment and understanding that this lifestyle takes more than a day or two.

The hardest part is that initial commitment. Once that commitment is made, I guarantee it starts to settle in as a habit and becomes easier and easier to follow!

Allow for Recovery

Commandment #2 is that you train hard, but that doesn’t mean beat yourself to a pulp every single day.

Train hard, and when in you’re in it, love it and make it count! But once you’re done, it’s all about recovery and you need to love that and make it count!

If you like to go 100 MPH during your workouts, plan rest periods within to help slow yourself down. (You’ll actually find yourself getting better results!)

Schedule active recovery days with lighter activity.

Plan full rest days ahead of time.

Besides actual rest, those who stay lean eat enough, take in an adequate amount of protein, stay hydrated, and sleep enough.

Without it, your nervous system eventually burns out, results suffer, and staying lean becomes darn near impossible.

Active Lifestyle

These aren’t the people who finish their workout and plop back down on the couch for the rest of the day.

Research suggests that those who fidget and move more throughout the day tend to have a higher metabolic rate and likelihood to stay lean.

These lean people have a higher NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) because they stand at their desks, take the stairs, go for walks, and just overall move more than the rest of the population.

Implement more movement into your day!

Check out the blog I put together about HOW to get more movement into the day and see where you can increase your NEAT!

Be Flexible

Staying lean year-round means living a healthy lifestyle.

Healthy NOT rigid.

It doesn’t mean excluding every food you’ve ever loved or keeping yourself at ridiculous calorie limits.

Being lean for life means there’s a degree of flexibility and an understanding that you cannot expect to hit your calories and macros on the dog every single day.

The tendency is to focus on hitting a calorie goal over the course of the week, and that if you go over one day, you can subtract some from the next day. Hitting protein goals are a priority every day, and the goal is to stay within +/- 5 grams of carbohydrates and +/- 2 to 3 grams of fats.

Restriction is not a part of the daily game.

Consistency is.

The goal is to make the best possible choice, be flexible to allow for enjoyment, and focus on consistency over the course of the week.

Eat Real Food

Today, people believe everyone with toned ass and nice abs is pumping supplements throughout the day.

That is so far from the truth.

Supplements are meant to do EXACTLY what their name implies – SUPPLEMENT your diet.

If you want to stay lean, eating 85 to 90% clean and real foods will give you the majority of nutrients your body needs. You may want to supplement with fish oil, probiotics, or a protein source.

Nothing like carb shredders or fat burners, just good old-fashioned clean eating.

Find Support

If your idea of fun is going out to the bars every Friday and Saturday or baking treats for all family and friends, you’re going to be faced with A LOT of temptations. THAT gets hard to say no to.

These people are surrounded with supportive friends who are like-minded and working toward similar goals or lifestyles.

Enjoy the life you live, but remember that the people you surround yourself with should your support your goals to live and stay lean.

Are you ready to make the change? To live life lean and stop dieting over and over again?

Then I encourage you to fill out the form below to apply for a FREE Strategy Call. We’ll lay out your goals and create that long-term vision so you can start seeing results.

About The Author

Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan.

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