8 Tips to a Leaner Lifestyle

How to become a lean-eating, strength-loving family together.

If you want to learn how to live your life lean, look no further! This list contains eight strategies that have worked for my most successful Burn Bootcamp clients and they can work GREAT for your family, too. Adopt these strategies for yourself as a guide to a healthy lifestyle, and in combination with a dedicated fitness routine, you'll be sure to see results.

1. Eat Clean Carbs

Carbs are not the enemy, in fact, they are the key to essential muscular development. Growing children need clean carbs, and any of the carbs listed below are FREE GAME!

  • Dark green veggies: broccoli, spinach and kale are great options.
  • Tubers: say hello to sweet potatoes, yams, eggplants and squash.
  • Fruits: blueberries, bananas, apples and apple butter.
  • Whole grains with no-added sugar or sodium: Shredded Wheat, rice cakes and granola are perfect options.

Stay away from refined sugars, starches, flour and processed grains. These are the bad carbs that cause bloating and create water retention. These bad carbs are the enemy and these carbs cannot be a part your lifestyle if you want to live lean.

2. Eat Small Balanced Meals

There has been much research over the past decade about the importance of small and more frequent meals. This science is old, outdated and highly debated, but in my own trial and error with clients, this lifestyle seems to be easier. It also eliminates an overload of carbs in one sitting, which has a negative impact on your fat burning hormones. Whether three big meals, six small meals, or a combo of both, it doesn't matter, just don't overeat!

Allowing your body to completely digest your food before your next meal is what is truly important to building a lean physique. Your meals truly should be based around your training sessions. Ideally, 75 percent of your daily carb intake comes before your training session, and 25 percent inbetween sessions.

3. Never Dramatically Restrict Calorie Intake to Lose Weight

This is often very tempting. Knowing you can drop a couple dress sizes in 10 days has a certain allure. I hate to burst your bubble, but this is extremely dangerous and you are essentially starving yourself when below 1,200 calories in a 24-hour period.

Trust me, this NEVER works in the longterm. As you restrict hard, you will not be able to maintain the depletion as a lifestyle. Thus, the pendulum swings and extreme binging comes right after the restrictions. Success comes with consistent moderation. If you want to burn some extra body fat, then burn some extra calories in the gym!

4. Eat Low-Calorie Foods First During Meals

This is a simple strategy, but if used correctly can go a long way in making you lean!

Here is what you do…

Recognize what foods (namely veggies) are lower in calories and eat those first during your meals. Of course, a prerequisite to this strategy is that you are eating well-balanced and kitchen-prepared meals. Filling up on lower calorie foods first before moving to proteins and starches is an effortless way to control calories. Think: "Lean and Green" foods first.

5. Include Protein With Each Meal

Build your diet around 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. A healthy serving of lean animal protein (grass fed beef, venison, bison, chicken, turkey or fish), cage-free eggs and egg whites, or a high-quality source of protein powder should be included in small amounts with each meal.

This tip has two by products that will help you lean out …

1) You fuel your body to promote muscular development and to use body fat as fuel.

2) By default, you avoid high-calorie meals and ultimately overeating because protein keeps you "fuller."

6. No Liquid Calories

Outside of water, unsweetened almond milk, unsweetened tea and protein shakes, I recommend banning liquid calories.

If you want to be lean, then liquid calories have no place in your lifestyle. It is safe to say you are adding inches to your waistline if you are drinking dairy milk, soda, coffee and cream, beer, wine, liquor, and especially sweet tea (for us Southerners). Doesn't mean you can have it once and a while, but stick to onr or two times per month.

7. Bagged, Boxed and Prepackaged Warning

Be careful! Not all bagged, boxed and prepackaged foods are bad for you. But 98 percent of them are. Here are some things to watch out for that sabotage your lean body efforts.

  • More than seven ingredients. Generally speaking, food items with more ingredients just means more fillers, additives and preservatives. None of which helps to lean you out.
  • Sodium and added sugar. Look on the nutrition label for sodium and sugar numbers to be ZERO!
  • Words you cannot pronounce. "Sciencey" words that you cannot pronounce do not belong in your body. This is a red flag as most of these are highly processed or chemical foods.

8. Against the Masses

Look around you. Be self-aware. Notice what other people are doing and do the exact opposite. We are RIDDLED with obesity, bad health and sickness. When it comes to food and exercise, we are obviously doing something wrong as a society. We are mentally craving weight loss but physically craving doughnuts. It's not working.

Go out to dinner, notice what everyone else orders and order the opposite. See fast-food lines filled up? Go to the hot bar at your local Whole Foods Market. See everyone walking on the treadmill? Get some dumbbells and lift some weights.

Swim upstream and do what everyone else thinks is weird or different. At the end of the day, you will be the one with lean body and lifestyle. Pack your lunch when you go to your kids' baseball games. Order lettuce wraps for your burgers. It is not being weird or awkward, it is called being a leader.

Check out Devan as he leads you through some workouts to get lean and strong legs. Remember, if your children join in on the fun and they are 11 years of age or younger, complete the exercises without weights. Parental supervision is always strongly encouraged.

Devan Kline is a 28-year-old entrepreneur, trainer and owner of Burn Boot Camp, that offers family-oriented camps and sessions with a focus on fitness for moms. As a certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition specialist, Kline is excited to mentor the Howe and Hill Spotlight Families for the Fit Family Challenge.

Want your family to get active towards a healthier lifestyle? Register now for the Fit Family Challenge.