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6 Things I Do To Stay Lean All Year!

KEEP YOUR ABS ALL THE TIME! (PART 1)

Posted by Scott_Herman - November 1st, 2016

Let’s face it guys, staying lean is hard as hell! Think about how many people you see in your gym that are pretty big but fatty versus shredded dudes with visible abs! Fatty big dudes are a dime a dozen but six packs are way harder to come by! And this is because it takes much more discipline and determination to control your habits to keep your body fat low enough to expose abs than to have a pretty crappy diet and eat anything in the name of “bulking.”


So today I decided to talk to you about what are some general things I do to keep my abs visible and pool party ready all year round.


One thing I want to say before we get started is that this is a 2-part article. I actually have 12 tips in total so stay tuned for the second article next!



So let’s get started with the first 6 tips:


1. I DON’T DIET

I read a lot of comments on my social media and even people I talk to in the gym telling me that they don’t have the time to follow a hardcore diet.  Well, this might seem unexpected to you guys but I am not on a hardcore diet, eating all the things I hate, and living in misery.  This just doesn’t work! You might be able to sustain a strict diet for a few months but then you’re going to get sick of it and fall off the wagon and gain all that weight back, if not more.  This is because if you go on a DIET, you’re probably not going to make this new way of eating a part of your permanent lifestyle which is what you need to be lean all the time.


Good eating needs to be part of your regular everyday life, period. The way to do that is to create a list of healthy food options and choose to eat the things you like from the list.  For example if you hate fish, then it makes no sense to force yourself to eat tilapia every day because you’ll not be able to maintain this long term. But, also keep in mind that I said to pick what you like out of HEALTHY options and not fast food, junk food or candy. You need healthy wholesome foods because they do not contain all the preservatives, artificial sweeteners, and all the chemicals that end up affecting your hormonal balance. Keeping your hormones at healthy optimal levels is critical not just to stay lean but also to gain muscle. The other piece of this equation is that wholesome foods have vitamins and minerals that are also critical for many functions in your body and affect your hormones as well. It’s not just about protein, carbs and fat like many people lead you to believe.    


So pick a couple of options you like from the protein food group like chicken, fish, lean steak, turkey, eggs, Greek yogurt and cheeses and make those a staple in your diet.


Than do the same for carbs: good options are oatmeal, sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice, whole grain pasta or whole grain bread.


And lastly, do the same thing for fats and make sure you’re eating good fats from foods like almonds, coconut oil, salmon, etc.


My strategy is like this: when I plan my meals, I focus on my protein intake first because that is the hardest one to hit. Then I add a reasonable amount of good carbs and typically the fat falls into place on their own because I cook my food with olive oil and eat almonds on a daily basis.


2. I DO CHEAT, BUT NOT FOR AN ENTIRE DAY!

One thing you need to know is that I do not deprive myself of eating things I enjoy.  This means that I do eat things like skittles, starbursts, kitkat bars and my personal favorite… those ice cream cookies that have the ice cream in the middle with chocolate chips on the sides.  In fact, that is my goto snack whenever I see a movie!


I will even have a margarita with Erica when we go out to eat or indulge in a huge burger.  But my cheat is really just one meal, NEVER the entire day!  So just because I like all the things mentioned above, I only reward myself with one or two of those choices about once a week.  For example, if I know I’m going out for lunch and I want to relax and eat what I want, I make sure I have a healthy breakfast, which is typically protein pancakes, and when I get home after my cheat lunch, I eat healthy the rest of the day and if I feel like I over indulged I might even go for a quick 15 – 20 minute cardio session of HIIT outside.  To me, binging and stuffing yourself for a whole day is a recipe for disaster and unless you have a very fast metabolism, you will always be playing catch up the next week and you will not make much progress.  In fact, if you go TOO CRAZY, you might even hit what I call a “food coma” which is basically when you stuff yourself so much with junk that you just don’t have the energy to do anything else.  So guys, the secret to staying lean all the time is finding your groove of only rewarding yourself in moderation and sticking with it.


3. I TAUGHT MYSELF TO HATE NASTY FOODS

The thought or even SMELL of certain food just makes my stomach cringe.  For example, I will NEVER EVER eat things like cinnamon buns or even regular pancakes.  Which might sound crazy to you and I will admit when I was younger I used to eat these things all the time, but now when I think about a big nasty cinnamon bun I can just feel the fat sticking to my insides.  I just taught myself to engrave in my brain how nasty they make me feel and how uncomfortable and bloated I feel after I eat them and I also remind myself that they’re empty calories as well. Foods like these will do absolutely nothing for me in terms of growing muscle or losing fat.  


At first it was hard to avoid temptation, but after all these years, I simply just don’t care to indulge in these types of foods anymore.  It’s funny, when I was in my teens my friends and I used to CRUSH a 24 pack of Mountain Dew every weekend playing video games, cards and working on our cars.  Now, I drink about half a Dew and I’m done. So guys, just learn and pay attention to how you feel after eating certain foods and make sure to cement that feeling in your head so the next time you’re tempted you can turn it down and after a while, instead of craving these foods, you will learn to despise them.  Even if you suddenly get a craving for a food or drink you know is bad for you, you still might say yes to temptation but after a few bites or sips that feeling of disgust will come back and you’ll say to yourself, ok… my craving is gone now.  Also, think in terms of nutrition guys. Always question what that specific food is going to do for you. If the answer is nothing, then put it back and eat something else.


4. I MAKE MOSTLY GOOD CHOICES WHEN I EAT OUT

Like many of you I have a busy schedule, lots of meetings to attend and I travel a lot which means I have to eat out quite a bit, and this includes restaurants, airports, hotels etc. So when I eat out, I ALWAYS focus on protein first. You’ll never catch me eating pasta at a restaurant. Even in my last trip to ITALY this year, you can watch my vlogs and you will see that I always got steak or fish as my main course! Wherever I am, I try to find something in the menu that I like but that also has a good amount of protein because I know it’s going to come with sides of vegetables or potatoes and these foods will fill my carbs.  


This means that most of the time I order sashimi, salmon or steak depending on where I am. To be honest I actually try to stay away from chicken when I eat out because I eat chicken all the time at home and at airports, I tend to go for salads with some type of protein, greek yogurt and jerky. So remember, it’s a balance: you don’t have to stay home and not have a social life or be the weird guy who BRINGS food to a restaurant, but you also can’t go balls to the wall and eat all the bread, pasta and desserts either.



5. I WATCH MY CARBS

This is very simple guys, the amount of carbs I eat is directly correlated to how lean I look, PERIOD.  One thing you CAN’T do, even when on a slight surplus, is just splurge on carbs whenever you want.  To stay lean I consume the majority of my carbs before training for energy and after training to help with recovery.  Also, keep in mind that there are two categories of carbs, simple and complex.  Complex carbs or “good carbs” are foods like sweet potatoes, brown rice and whole grain breads/pasta, and simple carbs or bad carbs are foods like candy, white flour, regular pasta, white breads, cakes, etc.  I know I have explained this before but when you eat simple carbs like candy or regular bread, your insulin levels spike and this causes your body to stop burning fat. So if you want to stay lean, you can’t be in this bad cycle of having insulin spikes all the time from bad carbs. You need to eat complex carbs the majority of the time to keep your insulin levels consistent so you’re always burning fat.


The reason why you need to know this is because if you‘re eating bad carbs in your pre-workout meal, you’re basically spiking your insulin and you will not be burning as much fat during your workout.  You might think that the best time to eat junk is before your workout because you THINK you’re going to burn it all off but it’s actually the opposite! So no junk before working out! It will decrease fat burning and it will kill your energy after the carb high is gone!


So to summarize, I eat a good amount of my carbs for the day in the morning, then have a meal loaded with complex carbs about 1 hour before training and then I go home and have another meal pretty well balanced with protein carbs and fat and then for the rest of the night I focus on eating high protein and fat foods.  Now a lot of people say that eating carbs at night is not a problem and that this is bro-science but I have learned MY BODY and after all these years I have noticed that I do tend to gain fat when I eat carbs at night. It’s that simple! So at night if I am hungry I stick with protein and fat and before bed I eat greek yogurt with a scoop of protein powder. Done!


Also, carbs are the main thing I manipulate if I see I am getting a little too fat. I just cut my carb intake on days I am not as active and I’m back to normal.


6. I ALWAYS HAVE PREPPED FOOD AROUND

There is an age old saying that the easiest way to fail is to not be prepared and this will DEFINITELY hold true to your meal plan as well.  If you don’t prep your food and all of a sudden you find yourself in a hurry, you’re going to be stuck 9 times out of 10 with only bad choices, mainly fast food.  Now some of you might say, well if I have fast food I just get things with a lot of meat or if I get a burger I just toss out the buns.  Well, if you are stopping by McDonald’s and get a burger and toss the buns, you are still stuck with a really low quality piece of meat.  Even if you get nuggets, the quality of this meat is DEFINITELY not up to par when compared to what you would be eating if you meal prepped with high quality meats from the grocery store.  What I mean is the protein count is definitely going to be MUCH LOWER even if eating the same amount of meat.


The key is to know ahead of time what you’re eating for each meal and to stick with it!  Now my wife and step daughter might get mad because our house smells like black beans on Sundays because I cook a giant bag in the crock pot! But that’s just how it is! Sundays is my day to cook tons of chicken, tons of sweet potatoes, and tons of asparagus and black beans and this way it’s all ready for the week. So if I have to suddenly leave the house in a hurry, I can prepare some food in my Tupperware containers and my gains are still safe for the day.  I also always carry good snacks with me such as almonds, rice cakes and protein bars just in case I get extra hungry.  


Like I said, you are much less likely to cheat when you’re prepared.


Staying lean is not rocket science guys, it really isn’t.  It’s all about learning your body, tracking your food, and making healthy choices and if you enjoyed these 6 tips, than make sure you sign-up for my newsletter so you don’t miss part two of this article!


If you guys have any questions be sure to leave them down in the comment section below!


Stay lean!



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MEMBER COMMENTS

Amin_C


Scott, first let me begin by stating that have always admired and wowed your ability to gain lean muscle all year. I know it has to do mostly with diet, but some of your points are still a mystery to me. I hope you dont mind me pointing a few things out and questioning some of your statements. Firstly, l dont think your classification of simple and comlex csrbs is accurate. Lots of articles on the net state that white bread, rice and pasta are simple carbs. Um, no they aren't, rice and bread are starches, polymers of glucose, and thus complex carbs by definition. Fiber is also a polymer and thus a complex carb. Therefore fruit is a combination of simple and complex carbs because it contains both monosaccharides and fiber. 


My second issue is, if you have 2 tbs less of oatmeal with your morning pancakes, will having 2 tbs of the same oatmeal at night compromise your physique? I cannot understand this from a physical point of view. I can only think of two equations, mass balance and energy balance written for the human body. Clearly the number of unknowns is the ssme in both scenarios, so the degrees of freedom must be the same. In layman's terms, where the hell does your body get the fat from? Same calories, same macros, same food, same person, same activity level. Maybe the calories for digistion is different? A mystery to me...


Lastly, why do you keep favoring unsaturated fat to saturated fats? I mean, most bioavailable proteins are naturally bound to saturated fat(and unsat fat, as free range animal products have a more balanced fat profile), so for someone who advocates a high protein diet, avoiding sat fat from animal products kind of seems unnatural. Besides, butter tastes do good, how wrong could our senses be man? I Have never heard of ice cream made with olive oil, have you?

Granted, homogenized sat fat may be an entire different issue, but I don't get what the deal is with avoiding sat fat altogether.

Have you experimented with the two? Does it compromise your gains if you substitute olive oil with say, equal amounts of egg yolk? Btw, you could readily achieve this buy frying your eggs whole in boiling water, lid covered.

Thanks man for taking the time to answer!


Amin_C

Also they say half of the protein is in the yolk ;)


Scott_Herman

You can edit text by clicking the drop down arrow on the top left of your comments :-D


Also, the article is title "6 Things I do To Stay Lean All Year Long" so these are things that work for me from learning my body and I stand by the facts I present in this video.

It is going to come down to you taking what I say and then applying it to your lifestyle and seeing what works for you.  We are all different.  What works for one person may not work for another. :-D

Amin_C

I wish to know, have you experimented with saturated fat in your diet, other than coconut oil? Have you been able to verify through experimentation that chemical- free (organic) saturated fat ​indeed​​​ seems to compromise your gains? Thnx!
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