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The Lean It UP Clean Eating Manifesto — 17 Nutrition Tactics To Eat Cleaner, Live Leaner, And Build The Ultimate Body

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clean eating, healthy eating, diet, nutrition, lean eating, meal plan, eating plan, nutrition plan, diet plans, healthy eating plan, diet meal plan, healthy diet plan, diet plan, weight loss diet

It’s time to overhaul your backwards, incredibly ineffective, fat-as-hell American diet. Because frankly—statistically speaking—your eating is likely a disgusting, unmitigated disaster.

And if so, it’s completely undermining your training and any results you’re hoping to see.

From an aesthetic PoV, the way you eat has the profound power to elevate training performance, enhance recovery, accelerate fat loss, and catalyze muscle growth. It’s like a moving airport walkway or a high-powered fan — it accentuates your habits and propels everything forward, faster.

Conversely, eating utter garbage pulls everything backwards, destroys the effectiveness of workouts, and makes it incredibly difficult to see positive change. Momentum drags. You’re stuck in quicksand, slowly sinking as your health deteriorates.

Effectively, when your diet is a disaster, the hard work you do put in barely keeps your body afloat. And if that effort slips whatsoever—and it will, once you inevitably lose your motivation from a lack of results—your body fat is bound to skyrocket and your physique will spontaneously combust.

To help revamp your “diet” (read: your pattern of eating) we’ve concocted the de facto Lean It UP Clean Eating Manifesto. It’s an insanely simple, straightforward, nutritional blueprint that’s designed to help streamline HOW you eat and actively build a killer physique; in a way that’s highly flexible, SUSTAINABLE long term, and not a royal pain in the ass.

Think of it as the 10 Commandments of eating, except that we beefed it up to 17 essential rules.

Follow it and not only will you build muscle tone, drop body fat, and keep it low—gasp, you might even see a few abs blossom—but you’ll gradually construct a body that’s glowing from the inside-out, immune from disease, bubbling with energy, and designed to stay strong in the long run.

Don’t call it a diet. I absolutely hate that word — it implies that you’re following a temporary eating pattern. Call it a lifestyle. This is how you’re living. And it starts right now.


17 Nutrition Tactics To Eat Cleaner, Live Leaner, And Build The Ultimate Body

clean eating, healthy eating, diet, nutrition, lean eating, meal plan, eating plan, nutrition plan, diet plans, healthy eating plan, diet meal plan, healthy diet plan, diet plan, weight loss diet

You’re busy and we won’t bullshit you. Our rulebook is completely free of gimmicks and trivialities, as we’ve stripped it down to the bare essentials that are tried and tested to work effectively.

Most notably, you won’t have to follow asinine meal plans, count calories, suffer through a noxious juice cleanse, eat all-organic-everything, or chug cayenne water.

Eating healthy and effectively really isn’t that hard. It just takes a little discipline and a slight recalibration.

Ready? Start with #1.


1. KNOW Your Calories.

Calories matter. You just don’t have to count them.

At the foundation of any diet—regardless of what goes in—engorging yourself with food will lead to weight gain, and eating an all-celery diet will lead to weight loss. It’s energy balance, and those core principles almost always hold. But nutrition is highly sophisticated — the QUALITY of weight gain/loss (i.e. muscle, fat, water) will vary immensely depending on a spectrum of factors.

Your move: use your personal calories as a guideline.

Knowing a rough estimate of your body’s caloric maintenance gives you a frame of reference to work with, and a number to shoot for. That ballpark helps keep your eating in check — and immediately magnifies the impact of a 1,800 calorie Sonic Blast.

To get there, follow two easy steps:

  • (1) Calculate your maintenance calories. Use this calculatorpop in your information, and it’ll spit out a number. That’s a rough approximate of how much you should be eating based on your metabolism and activity levels.
  • (2) Divide your total cals by your expected # of meals. Let’s say you typically eat 4 meals/day and your maintenance is 2,000 calories. Eating four 500 calories meals is an easy framework to work with. Of course, meal size and frequency are your call — there’s no scientific proof that eating 5-7 small meals impacts weight loss.1

Plus, food labels are notoriously inaccurate. By law, labeled calorie counts are allowed to exceed labels by up to 20%. TWENTY. One study in the Journal of The American Dietetic Association found that calorie counts on packaged foods exceeded labels by 8%, and those on restaurant menus by a whopping 18%.2345

Others suggest that estimates are off by a whopping 25%.6

So yeah, counting meticulously is a futile exercise — don’t waste your time or sanity. Eat around your ballpark, keep a rough count in your head, and spend most of your energy focusing HEAVILY on #2.


2. Upgrade Your Food QUALITY. 

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“Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel.” — Kevin Trudeau

Above all else, food quality reigns supreme. Everything you put into your body directly impacts the way you look, feel, perform, and grow. Stop treating it like a garbage disposal.

Like a Ferrari, you deserve to run on high-grade, high-octane fuel. Respect it.

There’s immense power in eating real, whole food. Like, stuff that comes from nature, not a factory. Soda, sugar, processed food, refined carbs, and other artificial crap gradually drives your body’s internal thermostat haywire and causes major dietary damage.

Over time you’ll develop nutrient deficiencies, inflammation, and degenerative diseases. Blood sugar levels chronically spiral, which (A) triggers fat storage and (B) leads to insulin resistance and diabetes. Eventually, the body forgets how to use stored fat as fuel, as it becomes overly reliant on glucose — that equates to early fatigue, horrible CV fitness, and the inability to burn off body fat.

But once you cut out all of the garbage—and replace it with whole, fresh, nutrient-dense powerhouses—your body gradually refreshes itself, resets its hormones, and re-learns to function as it was designed.

Additionally, you’ll be able to rely on automatic cues to regulate hunger. Americans are hungry ALL THE TIME because of what they eat. Protein, healthy fats, veggies, and complex carbs all boost satiety and work in concert to produce a feeling of fullness.

Your move: Start eating BETTER food. Master these resources to upgrade what you’re eating.


3. De-Process.

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If we weren’t clear we’ll say it again for emphasis — eliminate packaged, refined, processed foods. ANNIHILATE them from your diet.

Things like soda, cereal, white bread, low quality meat, candy, cookies, convenience food, and anything labeled “diet” are all stripped of nutrients, full of GMOs, loaded with sodium, and contain inflammatory omega-6 to omega-3 ratios.

Plus, they’re often gushing with trans fats, added sugar, artificial sweeteners, HFCS, chemicals, colors, hormones, and preservatives.

You are what you eat — garbage in, garbage out. It’s 2015, enough already.

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References, Notes, Links

  1. — Effects of eating frequency on metabolic rate []
  2. USNews — When Nutrition Labels Lie []
  3. Market Watch — Are your food and vitamin labels lying to you? []
  4. Time — Dieters Beware: Calorie Counts Are Frequently Off []
  5. Reiner Jumpertz, Colleen A Venti, Duc Son Le, Jennifer Michaels, Shannon Parrington, Jonathan Krakoff, and Susanne Votruba. Food Label Accuracy of Common Snack Foods. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2013 Jan; 21(1): 164–169 []
  6. Precision Nutrition — Forget calorie counting: Try this calorie control guide for men and women []


Bryan DiSanto

Bryan DiSanto

Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Lean It UP
ELLO ELLO I'm Bryan DiSanto. I'm the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Lean It UP, a CPT/CSN/Fitness Coach, Chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu – Paris, NYU graduate, ex-fat kid, and all-around fitness junkie.

I also contribute to Men's Health Magazine.

When I'm not working on my abs (or somebody else’s), whipping up avocado roses and avocado toast, or running a Tough Mudder, I'm probably yelling at a Carolina Panthers game somewhere.

Come be friends with me on Instagram (@BRYDISANTO) & Snapchat (BRYDISANTO).
Bryan DiSanto
  • Abhi

    hi i totally agree with being lean. I am going to florida at the end of this summer and want to have that type of body. Im first yr at uni (so freshman 15 is very real). Im 5’8 155 lbs at about 13% body fat. Im pretty athletic so i have a more muscular build but most of my fat sits at my belly. I want to gain some noticeable muscle and loose a lot of the fat to show some abs. What would you suggest?

    • You’re working with 2 competing goals, which’ll make that tough in a short time frame — I’d do a mini “bulk” and focus on building muscle (lift heavy weights, up your calories slightly) for 1-2 months. Add some mass, then cut your calories back, keep your workouts INTENSE, and do HIIT 2-3 days per week.

      You’re not that far off though, work hard over the next 3-4 months and you’ll get there. Keep your eating on point.

      Follow this workout plan:

      • ABHI

        For the mini bulk phase should I still do HIIT from the workouts you suggested or what?

        • Sorry for the delay! Chop off the HIIT sessions for the time-being.

  • Jack

    As abhi said, cuz im folating the same boat, For the mini bulk phase should I still do HIIT from the workouts you suggested or not? Ill be doing the beast mode split which includes hiit twice a week.

    • Hey Jack — If muscle gain is your #1 priority, cut out the included HIIT for the time-being.

  • Katarina

    Is it a better idea to try bulk up (eat more, less cardio) BEFORE trying to lose some weight and get leaner? Does it matter if I add in HIIT to my workouts and cut back on calories and then have a “mini bulk?”

    • Katarina

      I guess what I’m asking is, does order matter?

  • Jake

    Hey Brian,
    Was wondering if you could help me out as am a bit confused with the direction I’m heading in. I’ve got 3 months until I go on holiday and am looking to pack on lean muscle in that period (currently 6’4 180lbs). What would you recommend? Thanks for your help!

  • Lexi

    This page is fab, taking on board everything said here. My only question is do you have any tips on how to stop yourself from gorging and then feeling guilty? This is my one issue! Especially with sugar!! Thanks 🙂

  • Sheila R

    Hi, I wont eat oatmeal. Can I replace with quinoa or cracked wheat?

  • Sarah Grover

    Hey Bryan, this is a little off topic but I know who to turn to for direction. I’m a fitness instructor and will be attending a certification program this weekend. From what I understand it’s pretty intense. Two days of multiple workouts throughout the day. (Body Pump-lighter weight, hundreds of reps.) My question is about eating while I’m there. We’re told to pack lunches and snacks for each day. While I know how to eat AFTER a workout I’m a little puzzled on what to pack for a day full of workouts. I want to give my body enough fuel for before, after and during workouts but not be too heavy to hinder the next workout. I hope that makes sense. I will have a refrigerator in my hotel room so taking cold food and ice packs, thankfully, is an option if needed. Thanks for your help!!

    • Hey Sarah!

      It really depends how much time you have in between workouts AND how intense they are (sometimes cert classes aren’t overly intense), but for a quick turnaround you’re looking for protein + carbs that are easily digestible.

      If you’ve got less than an hour between workouts I’d go with a light protein shake, fruit (bananas are ideal), and a coconut water. Greek yogurt with granola or cereal is also legit (the sugar is beneficial for energy and quick recovery). Protein and energy bars are also great options.

      Here’s a breakdown of the ones I like:

      If you have an hour or more, you can go with everything above, but you could also totally eat something more complete like a quinoa or rice bowl with chicken and veggies, almond butter/banana/honey sandwich, sweet potato with grilled chicken, oatmeal/banana, etcc. Just keep the portion size relatively small so you’re not stuffed with food.

      Also make sure to HYDRATE excessively. Sounds like a blast, enjoy it!

      • Sarah Grover

        Awesome, grocery list made! Thanks so much for the ideas.
        Btw, you say it sounds like a blast because you won’t be the one not able to walk Mon. J/k, it’s my first so I’m ridiculously excited!

  • FitnessMaster

    I think counting calories is really out of the question!
    There’s a really good post of it here:
    I don’t know about you but it just doesn’t make sense to use them anymore!