So you’re finally a Lean Warrior. You feel like a true badass. You’ve dropped your body fat to a level you’re proud of. Great job, warrior!
You have accomplished what 99% of society will never be able to do. Give yourself a pat on the back.
There’s no better feeling that losing the weight you’ve always wanted. It feels great. Isn’t it crazy to see how much muscle you actually have? It was hiding behind all that fat all this whole time.
Who would have thought you have had this amazing, beautiful body this whole time?
So, congratulations. But, what do you do now? How do you maintain your new physique and keep it healthy?
You like where you’re at so what’s the next step?
This is a very common question and an important one as well. Once you hit the level that you’re happy at, you’ve got to learn how to maintain it. To ignore my advice may set you off on a path you’ll soon regret.
But, half the battle is over. You’ve accomplished what you set out to do and that feels amazing. It’s okay to reward yourself and I encourage you to do so.
Still though, I want you to get in the mindset that this is just the beginning. You now have a new mission which is to maintain your new, lean physique. That is the goal going forward.
As long as you have this goal in the back of your mind, you’re good to go. Even if you forget to track for several days at a time, it won’t be that difficult to maintain. So, it’s okay to have cheat meals with friends and enjoy yourself.
It’s important to live your life as you want. Being a lean warrior shouldn’t be a strict lifestyle — it should be rewarding and fun!
Should You Slow Down Your Training?
Often times when people move into maintenance, they’re wondering what to do about their training.
Here’s my advice:
Your training isn’t nearly as important as the foods you’re putting into your mouth. Yes, you should keep training, but don’t think that a change in routine might kill your results.
As long as your diet is in good shape, you can keep up with your same training schedule and be fine.
However, if you feel like you need to take some time off from the gym, go ahead. But, don’t take more than a week or two. It’s important to keep working your muscles at your current strength levels. After all, you’re trying to maintain what you’ve built.
I want you to remember this: being a Lean Warrior is a lifestyle.
This isn’t something I want you to do temporarily. I want you to take everything you’ve learned from me and make it a permanent part of your life. You should enjoy training and eating the right foods.
I want you to continue this as long as you live. It’s the only way you’ll keep yourself in peak physical form. It’s how you’ll keep your body healthy for the long-term.
Therefore, you should still train at minimum 3 times per week. You can cut back on your interval training if you want. See how your body responds.
As for your diet, you can now eat more food. Yay! Go ahead and bump your calories up by 300 per day. See how you look and feel after a couple of weeks with this new level of calories.
The goal during maintenance is to keep your lean mass and body fat levels the same, forever! You spent several weeks getting lean and cutting weight. Keep off the fat.
Adjusting Your Diet for Maintenance
Since your diet is actually the most important part of a lean physique, let’s discuss this in detail.
As you may know from my other articles, there’s a science to the foods that you place in your mouth. Get this wrong and you’ll always have a flabby, soft body.
Get this right and you’ll eventually have the lean, sexy physique that you’ve always wanted. It’s important that you understand the science behind nutrition. Since I’m assuming you have a lean body already, I won’t go much further into the basic science.
What you need to do is bump your calories up. I mentioned earlier that you should bump up by about 200-300 per day.
There’s no exact number here. You have to do this through trial and error. If you’re gaining weight after a couple of weeks, then reduce calories by 100. If you’re still losing weight, then bump calories by 100.
Keep adjusting your level of calories until you’re no longer gaining or losing weight.
But, what exactly should you be bumping? What should you be eating more?
Since you should always be eating the same amount of protein no matter what, you will adjust your carbs and fats.
This is something that you will have to mess around with as well. Some people react better to more fats than carbs. Others are the opposite. Go ahead and bump your carbs up by 30g and your fats by 10g.
This will bump your daily calories up by 210. It’s a good place to start because you want to stop losing weight at this point. You’re lean enough.
You could also implement some sort of carb cycle. What this means is that on training days you eat 100g more carbs than you normally would. This would put you at a 400 calorie surplus on the days that you lift.
On the days that you don’t lift, you would keep eating what you normally have been eating. Some people love to carb cycle. Others don’t. Again, it’s going to depend on how you feel. Give it a try. You never know how well it will work until you try it.
However, if you’re new to all this, then I suggest that you simply stick to the same level of calories every single day. Make the process as simple as possible for you. It’s quite easy to maintain when you know what to eat every single day. It becomes a habit.
Like I said, protein intake should be relatively the same whether you’re cutting weight or bulking. However, I do recommend people who are used to high carb diets to keep the protein high. This makes it easier for your body to burn fat.
While there is a benefit to eating 5-6 small meals per day, don’t feel like you must stick to this rule. Feel free to eat whenever you want. Just make sure you’re hitting your macros!
Addtional Thoughts On Training During Maintenance
Because you’ve been leaning down for several weeks, chances are you haven’t gotten that much stronger than you were before.
It’s always harder to gain strength during a caloric deficit than a surplus. This is just a fact. However, if you’re new to weight training, you will gain strength regardless. I shot my bench to 200 during my last cut. It’s not that heavy but the point is I went up in strength.
So, you should keep trying to get stronger while maintaining your current weight. There’s no harm in continuing your progress.
If you want to give a new training split a try, go ahead! I recommend that you stick with any split for at least 4 weeks to see how you progress. As long as you’re making progress in your lifts, you shouldn’t change things up.
Perhaps it’s close to summer and you want to spend more time doing activities. Then, you would be best off with a three day training split. You’ll have more time to enjoy your new, lean physique.
On the other hand, if you want to train even more, go ahead and bump up to a 5-6 day split. There’s nothing wrong with changing your routine as long as you’re making strength gains.
What About Cardio and Interval Training?
Part of the Warrior physique is getting powerful through HIIT (interval training). I enjoy HIIT over regular cardio because it builds power.
Which do you think is more powerful for your legs: 20 TRX jump squats or 45 minutes of walking on a treadmill?
If you’ve never done jump squats, go ahead and try to pump out 3 sets of 20. I promise your legs will burn for the next 3 days. It’s an incredible exercise that builds raw power. It is easily one of my favorite exercises for the legs.
I recommend that men and women have 2-3 days of HIIT per week if you’re trying to get lean. All you need is 10 minutes per day, especially if you’re doing intervals 3 times per week.
When you move into maintenance, go ahead and drop your HIIT days to once per week. It’s still important to have a HIIT day. They are good for your heart, your bloodflow, oxygen, and so on.
Some people love to go on runs or ride a bike. This is perfectly fine as well. All you need to do is keep note of your weight each week. If it’s dropping, up your calories. If you’re gaining weight, lower them. It’s not that difficult.
It Took A Long Time To Get Fat
An important fact to understand is that you didn’t get overweight in a short period of time. It was from years and years of eating too many calories.
I want you to understand this because you’ll find it much harder to gain weight than you realize. Sure, you might gain a few pounds here and there. This is especially true during the hoidays and nights out with friends.
But, this is usually temporary weight gain. Once you get back to your normal schedule of eating, you’ll notice that you fall back into your maintenance weight.
Gaining weight takes a lot of time. Don’t get stuck thinking that you’ll suddenly gain all your old weight back if you quit weighing your food. At this point, you could probably eye ball everything you eat and be perfectly fine.
You’ve already made it through the toughest part of your journey: sticking to a diet until the end. That’s the hard part. But, if you follow the Warrior diet protocol, it shouldn’t be difficult to achieve this.
At the end of the day, be happy with your body composition. It’s really easy to get used to the body you see in the mirror. Even though you’re drastically different, you may not notice the changes you’ve made because you see yourself daily.
Take photos every week of your progress. This will help you see just how much you’ve changed. This will lift your spirits and make you feel great! You’ve done an amazing job and I hope you share these pictures with me
I also hope that you continue to live the Warrior lifestyle. This is a body that you can have for the rest of your life. Just keep at it. Keep maintaining your weight year after year. Make weight training a habit!
With that said, don’t get all relaxed now. This is a mindset. Refer to the Warrior philosophy. A badass never gets comfortable, remember? Learn to appreciate discomfort. Do things to shake up your life. This is key to healthy living.