Here are few common tips I use to stay consistently lean for at least 6 months of the year:
- Recognise that you actually need as much food as you think: Typically when we eat, the last 20% of food we consume is not needed for sustenance and is either consumed out of boredom or pleasure. Get into the habit of putting 20% less food on your plate. Initially this may be a struggle, but the more you exercise this discipline, the easier it will become.
- Make use of cheat days: I stress this in all my material. Cheat days are important because they introduce variety into your diet and allow you to take a break from an otherwise structured diet. Eat whatever you need to replenish the willpower you’ve used to stay consistent with your diet. The ‘more advanced’ form of cheat days is to isolate exactly what craving of yours the cheat food is satisfying. For instance, I love snacking on savoury foods. Originally I would snack on chips. These are loaded with calories. Once I realised I simply enjoyed the savoury taste and the act of snacking, I replaced the chips with pretzels and I was able to satisfy my craving with fewer calories.
- Visions and reference experiences: There is no doubt you will need to exercise willpower at some stage when getting or staying lean. To get through those times, use your memory or imagination to experience what it will be like when lean.
I’ve gone through three bulk and cut cycles since 2018 and I have a plethora of references to draw upon:
- I know what it’s like to feel shredded and athletic;
- I know the confidence and sense of achievement it brings; and
- I know the opportunities it brings
All of these keep me motivated. For those without these experiences, try following a bodybuilder who you admire and leveraging their photos as motivation.