Most people that are new to the bodybuilding and fitness game consider burning fat to be among the most difficult tasks they face. However, as most experienced iron lifers will tell you, the true challenge lies not in losing the weight initially, but in KEEPING it off, for the long term. Anyone can get ripped once... but staying very lean, year-round, is a challenge which proves very difficult for most lifters. Let's learn a few ways you can make this task easier for you! Get mathematical It's easy to run thru a flurry of exercises, slash your calories, knock out cardio for hours, and shed some fat. It's more difficult to maintain that level of leanness as the days and weeks pass. Knowing the NUMBERS you employed to reach this level of "rippedness" is the key to your success. Record everything you eat for a week. Use a smartphone app to count and add up the calories in everything you ate. Average them out. THAT is the baseline number of calories you need each day to maintain your current weight. Since each pound consists of 3500 calories, you can remove 500 calories from each day to reach a weight loss goal of 1 pound per week. Once you reach your goal, continue measuring calories to maintain your ideal weight. After a few weeks, you'll know the caloric content of everything, off the top of your head! Take your vitamins Let's face it, people that are very lean... they live some good lives. Every room they enter, they're the "hot one" in the place. Sporting a 6-pack feels great, but it does mean your epic lean body can be more vulnerable to sickness. Staying very lean can take a toll on your immune system. Taking your daily vitamins (C, E, B, D, and a multivitamin) are part of keeping your immune system strong. Enjoying a diet rich in vitamins and minerals can also contribute to excellent health. This means you'll be able to stay in the gym, and stay lean, instead of getting sick and losing progress! Stay accountable Use the mirror, measuring tape, scale, and very trusty selfie camera to record your progress to fat loss, as well as your week-to-week progress as you work to maintain this fat loss. Take the pics in the same place each week, and take measurements at the same time, once each week. You'll be able to tell if you're getting a little TOO lean, or if the body fat is starting to creep back up on you. From there, just make minor caloric adjustments to your diet to move things back in the correct direction. Choose foods you like Most people hate diets because they hate the foods they have to eat while on this diet. Therefore they're always dreaming about the end of the diet, when they can return to the foods they actually love. Why not design your OWN diet, choosing the foods you already love? This way, you see it as more of a healthy meal plan, as opposed to a stringent refusal of all the foods you love so much. Choose meats, dairy, carbs, and fat sources from lists that you like, and stock your refrigerator and cabinets with them. Always have healthy food options that you enjoy, on hand! Keep protein high Protein consumption is one of the most important tenets of building/keeping muscle and staying lean all year round. Keeping your protein intake high during a 'dieting down' phase is common knowledge to most. Keeping your daily protein grams high while cruising in the post-diet phase might not come as naturally to most athletes. However, it is a habit you need to develop and practice. Consume 30 to 40 grams of protein with each meal, year-round. Develop a water system Look around you, at work, at home, at the gym. Do you always have a water bottle handy, or is getting a drink more of a chore? Drinking a gallon of water each day is key to maintaining fat loss year-round. Staying hydrated is an absolute requirement for keeping your epic leans! Make sure you have a gallon, pack of water, or a cooler stationed near you at home, at the gym, and at work. Never in your day should you find yourself thirsty - since that is a sign that dehydration has already set in! Rotate Supplements Yes, it is a well known fat that supplements play a huge role in getting most bodybuilders, figure and fitness athletes to the sub-8% body fat levels. But staying on the same supplements for months or years at a time can render them less effective as your receptors grow tired and the body gets used to them. Rotate the supplements you use for best results. For example, you could start with a 3-week cycle of Lipotase to achieve your initial cuts. Then, opt for a 4-month run of TridenosenH for high energy levels and muscle maintenance to actually KEEP your muscle while staying lean. Mix it up! Keep it green At least one thing at each meal should be green. That's right, some leafy green or vegetable should find its way into each meal. This could be a side salad with lunch, some chopped green onions with your morning eggs, or any kind of kale or Romaine with dinner. Keep it green, and your immune system will flourish, digestion will be a breeze, and your metabolism will stay stoked - which is a major part of keeping fat off, year-round!