The truth is, lots of people spend some time at the gym and try to eat healthy but don’t see the results they desire. Why is that?

Having a lean physique requires discipline on all fronts, both with diet and training. Most lean people have this in check at least six days a week. Focusing on it three to four days a week won’t cut it; it has to be a way of life. Let’s start with a few LEAN basics you can start with!

Level the playing ground – Before you get lean, determine what is working with your diet and exercise and what is not. Take a look at your diet and see where pitfalls might exist. Evaluate how consistent you have been with workouts, then create a plan. Schedule exercise, both cardio and strength training, into your week. Putting it on your calendar will help you be more consistent.

Use our STYR app to calculate your nutritional needs. If you want to be lean, you need to know how many grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat you need to meet your goals, as well as how many calories. All of these factors play into eating lean. Once you have them calculated, you can create a food plan.

Eat clean – Take the “c” off the word clean and what do you have? Lean. If you want to be lean, you’re going to need to eat clean. This means dialing in on improving the quality of your choices. For many, a first step is to limit your processed food intake. Look for ways to cut back or eliminate foods that have added sugar and saturated fats, such as packaged treats, sugary cereals and other goodies.

Second, try to eat more whole foods where possible. Consider eating oats instead of cereal, apples instead of apple juice and avocado instead of mayonnaise as a spread. Whole foods are typically higher in fiber and/or protein, depending on the food group. A sample day might be oats, nuts and eggs for breakfast; a salad with chicken, fruit, avocado, cheese, veggies and olive oil at lunch; salmon, asparagus and sweet potato at dinner; and snacks of nuts, fruit and yogurt. Easy, tasty and not processed.

Finally, while we all need a little sweet in our life, in order to be lean, you will need to manage your splurges. A few meals out or desserts can compensate for a week of good behaviors. Splurge small when being lean is your goal. A few bites of a dessert or sharing a high calorie meal with a friend or spouse can be a great way to enjoy food without going overboard.

Add in strength training and protein – Strength training is essential to being lean. It helps build and shape strong muscles. However, it also requires adequate protein intake to build and repair those muscles. Depending on the amount of strength training you do, 0.5–1.0 grams of protein per pound is how much you should be consuming daily. Those that strength train heavy and often should be on the upper end of the recommendation.

It is also important that you are distributing protein over the course of the day, into all your meals and snacks. Your body does a better job of repairing and building muscle if protein is supplied on a regular basis. In addition, be sure to consume approximately 20 grams of protein within 45 minutes after your workout to enhance recovery.

Navigate possible obstacles – People will ask you out to eat, a spouse will bring home cookies and some mornings you will want to hit “snooze” versus go the gym. Obstacles happen! Have a game plan so that you can conquer it before it happens. Many people wait until they are in the middle of the temptation to make a decision, which can lead to less optimal choices. So, think through what you will do when situations and circumstances combat your goal and stick to it. If you want to be lean, you will have to exercise discipline on a regular basis. But, it will be worth it!

STYR Labs App: Increase your Weight Management IQ with a free PHYSQ smart scale by upgrading to STYR Plus!

If you are interested to hear more and receive personalized nutrition, check out STYR’s app, fitness tracker and suite of connected smart devices. Through the platform, you can track and log activity, food, hydration, sleep, nutrition, mood and more to personalize your nutrition needs based on data, science and access to registered dietitians, nutritionists and personal trainers.

Please note that this information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. We insist that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical/health condition or treatment and before initiating a new health care regime. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the STYR app or on www.MyNutritioniQ.com.

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