How to stay lean all year round!
First things first, you have to set an aesthetic goal for yourself that you will be HAPPY with.
Your goal might be to loose a few KG's or to build some muscle mass. Visualize that goal and don't let it slip from your mind.
I like to write my goals down in my diary as each morning I remind of what I am working towards.
It is important to keep in mind that your aesthetic goal should be reasonable with a sustainable weight and healthy body fat percentage. Personally I never go by the scale nor have I ever taken my body fat percentage I simply go by how I feel and look. Measuring your weight can become addicting and if you are not seeing the numbers change as quick as you may like this can put you into a very negative mindset. If you feel good about yourself then trust me you are going to own it and hold your head high with confidence no matter what that scale tells you.
The reason I say to choose a realistic goal is because until this day I remember months after I competed in my bikini competition without realizing I would always compare my figure to the body I had on my competition day, and this was an extremely unhealthy mindset to be in. This goal was not only an unrealistic goal to maintain all year round but I would also have this image fixated in my head and train super hard to maintain my figure. Therefore choose your goal wisely or else it will leave you feeling disheartened and upset as you will not be able to sustain what you want.
I've established my goal, now what?
Once you have established your aesthetic goal this is where the real work starts. Set yourself a time frame that you would like to achieve your goal. Take each day as it comes, keep reminding yourself why your goal is important to you, visualize it and feel it. Focus on your goal each day, be strict with yourself and keep challenging yourself until your vision comes to life.
Remember there will be hard days and days where you don't want to do anything, we all have them and we are all human. It's important to not fight this feeling but to make small micro goals throughout the day to make you feel better. For example from "I feel soo bad and guilty that I didn't train today" to "My body needed a rest, I feel really refreshed and good about myself!". Or another example would be "I ate a chocolate bar today, I might aswel forget about eating well today and just eat more food" to "It's ok to treat myself once in a while".
At this stage it is important for you to surround yourself with people who support your goals and vision, people that cheer you on. Ignore people that may call you crazy for waking up early and heading to the gym, or not eating the same foods as them. Put yourself first and be selfish.
I've hit my goal, now what?
Once you have hit your goal the rest is pretty simple. It's now just maintenance work. I have split this section into two, one section will cover training and the other will cover nutrition.
In terms of training try and create a weekly/monthly program for yourself and be sure to fit this in to your lifestyle. The reason I would always suggest to stick with a program is because your fitness levels can be measured, tracked, recorded and kept organized, it is also easy to amend and change any phases that you would like to introduce.
If you can't measure your progress its a little bit harder to see where you are improving and what areas need more work or attention.
If you keep doing the same thing over and over again In the gym not only is it boring AF but you will hit a plateau and only be good at one thing. It's always important to switch up the phases, and keep the body guessing, this is where real strength comes in.
I understand that sometimes it can be hard to create a program for yourself when many of us lead very busy lifestyles so this is where a trainer may come in very useful, they can provide you a with a suitable yet challenging program, track your progress and keep you motivated.
If you simply do not like the idea of sticking to a program you must ensure to continue your training regime after you have reached your goal otherwise you will always go back to square one. Lastly, do not neglect the weights! You may have reached your goal but weight training is soo important for your health and it will also keep you in awesome shape.
You now probably have a better understanding of nutrition and dieting.
In terms of body maintenance and staying "lean", you now need to establish what your maintenance calorie intake is going to be. Once you have established this and a macro split that suits you best its all about eating clean and making small sacrifices with your food.
For instance if you know that you have a very busy weekend coming up with lots of eating and drinking then it would be wise to train over the weekend and save some of your weekly calories for the weekend, now that doesn't mean you have to stave yourself during the week but keep in mind to balance things out. I would highly recommend to go by the 80/20 rule. 80% of the time eat well, strict and clean and 20% of the time try to enjoy yourself be a little less strict with your diet and enjoy a meal with you friends. You shouldn't feel like you can't enjoy your life and are restricted of anything.
I would also recommend taking this time to try some cooking classes or something new! Experiment with new recipes and see what you can create :)
Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day, avoid binge eating and indulging in endless amounts of food each day, spread out your treats and most importantly eat nutritious and good food!
Below are some images of me from 2015 - 2020 and actually, my body looks better now than it ever did on stage.
1st image - 2016 2nd image - 2016 3rd image - 2019 4th Image - 2018 5th Image - 2016 6th Image - 2020 7th Image - 2019 8th Image - 2019 10th Image - 2017 11th Image - 2015 12th Image - 2015