I have written a few articles recently about those who want to put on weight and increase muscle size and strength, commonly known as bulking but what about the rest of you that want to stay lean? With the festive season getting ever closer, the mince pies, cakes, biscuits and other festivities will be on show and you could be likely to indulge in them. But some of you (myself included) may want to stay lean and continue to build lean muscle throughout the Christmas period. If you have spent time, effort and energy into developing a lean, shredded physique why waste it over the winter months when you can adapt on what you have got? This is how I look at it, and sure, results and gains might be slower but here are 10 ways which you can implement within your lifestyle that will help you stay lean!
The most important thing to remember out of all ten pointers I outline is what you put into your body. Nutrition is the key in staying lean and not putting on excess amounts of body fat. A top tip is to have a shopping list written out before you head to the supermarket and make sure you go on a relatively full stomach. Keep your choices healthy and be sure to include fruit, vegetables, meat and good sources of carbohydrates.
Eating healthy foods and being active go hand in hand. We all know this yet when the colder months draw in we tend to find excuses as to why we cannot exercise. Running outside is no longer an option because of the cold and wet weather, and the enthusiasm to go out and exercise isn't there either. Good news though is that you only have to exercise three times a week for a minimum of 45 minutes to maintain a good balance within your body. Exercise, go on, you know you want too ;)
A common theme during the winter months is to eat what ever you want, but to stay lean you know you can't do this. If you do you're likely to put on body fat. So, by all means treat yourselves to bad food, perhaps once or twice a week if you feel you need it but keep a lid on it the rest of the time. The more artificial or chemically made foods you eat the more your body will crave them. Stay green :)
There are only so many pieces of meat you can eat in one day right? Protein is a made food group you need to consume in order to keep your muscle definition. Your muscles also keep your body a fat burning machine by fueling your metabolism. So make sure you are consuming enough protein for your body type. A good rule of thumb is one gram of protein per pound of body weight.
Do you get enough? Did you know that your body gets used to sleeping patterns and any slight adjustment in them can lead to feeling more tired in the mornings. It is almost like a jet lag feeling because your body has suffered a difference in what it is used to. Naturally, when you are feeling more tired you are less likely to want to exercise. So sleep has a knock on effect with how you feel for the next day, a good tip is to try and stick to regular sleep patterns and avoid unnecessary lay ins.
Celebrations, parties and nights out are great and socialising is a big thing around the festive season. However a down side to these events is that there is temptation to consume alcohol. Now I am not a scrooge and I personally think that one or two drinks isn't going to harm you. It is when you consume ten or fifteen that it then becomes a problem and will leave you feeling drowsy and fatigued the next day. Top tip, be the designated driver so you have no choice but to stay sober ;)
Don't forget to train them, they are a muscle group and need attention even if you aren't headed to the beach at the weekends.
Staying hydrated means you will function at optimal speeds without feeling tired or sluggish. Water is the best thing you can drink as it helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and skin. It also helps with reproduction of new cells and works alongside your digestive system. Of course, staying hydrated will also help keep your sporting performance at a good level so that you can keep achieving good results.
Tip number nine is all about how you stay prepared each day and knowing exactly what you will be doing on those days. Staying prepared means having the right foods in the house to cook with and knowing what you are going to exercise on that day. When you prepare your meals for the next day and take a packed lunch you are setting yourself up to succeed on that day. How many of you have maybe forgotten to pack your lunch one day and then have to go out and buy something? It is much harder is it not to stick to healthy choices? Make sure you are prepared every day with the correct nutrition and exercise routines :)
Finally, you must remain focused at all times and not lose track of what your goal is. Some days you will find it harder to get motivated whereas other days you will feel like a superhero. Make sure everyday you give it 100% and you stay focused on your goal.