How Fitness Pros Eat to Look Lean

You don’t have to be a fitness model or professional to look like one. All it takes is eating a ​wide variety of nutrient-dense foods combined with regular exercise for a beach-ready body.

Eating right to achieve the body you want doesn't have to be complicated. Fitness professionals don't eat anything special or magic to achieve a lean body. The following is a basic list of common healthy foods and nutrition tips that will have you beach ready year-round.



Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Oats are on the menu for almost all fitness professionals. They provide carbohydrates for energy, fiber for satiety, and many other nutrients.

Oats make a great pre-workout meal and are high in fiber to help with digestion and reduced bloating. Oats are a nutrient-dense food and provide satiety for hours.

It comes as no surprise that oats are on the top ten lists of fitness pros and athletes alike.



Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Eggs are another fit-pro favorite and great post-workout snack. They are full of protein and nutrient dense yolks. It is best to eat the whole egg. One large egg contains: 70 calories, 13 essential vitamins and minerals, and a natural source of vitamin D.

Eggs help with muscle recovery and beneficial to sculpting a tight and tone physique.

Abs are definitely created in the kitchen with this simple form of protein that can be cooked in many appetizing ways.

Whether boiled by the dozen for bulk cooking or whipped up in a scramble, eggs are high on the fit-pro eat list.



Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Fitness models putting their best body forward are eating greens on the daily. Vegetables like broccoli and spinach are nutrient-dense. They provide a fiber and are low in calories to help maintain a lean physique. The antioxidants, flavonoids, and polyphenols help with the immune system and body recovery from workouts.

Great bodies are created with quality foods. Vegetables and greens are highly sought-after menu items for fitness pros. Greens are one of the superior foods for achieving and maintaining your best body. 



Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Another preferred food to maintain a toned body year round are fruits like apples. They taste fabulous, are nutrient dense and high in fiber.

Most fitness professionals are aware apples boost metabolism and aid in fat burning. They make a great pre-workout snack and apples are nice to have any time for an energy pick-me-up. After your workout, add a tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butters to include healthy fats and quality protein. 

Lean Proteins


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Most fitness pros keep prepared lean proteins like chicken or turkey on hand and consume daily to maintain lean mass.

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein the body uses to heal, recover and build beautiful lean muscle.

Some will purchase commercial proteins like blended whey and whey isolates for the convenience factor of making protein shakes. Regardless of type, protein is on the top ten lists of food to eat for a beach-ready body. 

Healthy Fats

Peanut butter

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Believe it or not, fat is essential for the body. Fat provides structure for cells of the body such as the skin and blood, while also providing cushion for the organs to protect it from physical damage. Fats are also responsible of the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamin A, D, E, and K.

Some fats, such as omega-3s are essential for the body for anti-inflammatory purposes, neural and visual function, and immune system. No longer a bad rap, fats like peanut butter, avocado, and olive oil are among the top ten foods to eat for a lean body.

Healthy fats help with digestive processes and promote satiety reducing overeating. Glowing skin is also a result of eating healthy fats and important to fitness models and professionals alike.


glass of water

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

This is probably a no-brainer and widely known that fitness professionals, models, and athletes drink tons of water.​

Water keeps the body hydrated and flushed of toxins. Beautiful bodies require hydration that starts from the inside out.

Water also stimulates our metabolism, aids in proper digestive processes, and reduces bloating.

Water is a secret weapon for a beautiful and healthy body.

Olive Oil

Olive oil

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Drizzling olive oil on greens and veggies has become the salad dressing for fitness professionals and the centerpiece for the Mediterranean diet, the healthiest and most researched diet in the world. The nutrient value and benefits of olive oil rank high and it's no surprise this healthy fat is recommended to be consumed daily.

Great bodies require a healthy heart and olive oil is a healthy fat to help make that happen.

Fatty Fish


Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Fitness professionals and models are having their fair share of fatty fish to maintain a beach-ready body. Fatty fish like salmon contain omega-3 fats that have promising effects of higher satiety after eating, greater fat burning (metabolism) in the liver, heart, and muscles, and to a lower degree may assist with preserving lean muscles. This explains why eating fish is a must for a lean and healthy body.

"Cheat Meals"

Fitness professionals and models do indulge, but the secret remains to be smart about it. Each person’s tastes are different ranging from sweet to savory.

Caloric intake is still the bottom line. Body-conscious pros will pay attention to quality ingredient detail and total calories.

Indulgence will not be taken to the extreme. A good example is eating one fresh-baked brownie instead of the whole pan.

However, be aware that if you have a history of an eating disorder, this pattern of restriction and cheat meals is not recommended. Restrictive eating followed by "cheat meals" may lead to binge-eating and then guilt which can disrupt your relationship with food. Consider discussing meal planning with a registered dietitian nutritionist to optimize your performance, while not compromising your love for food and most importantly, your health.

Tips and Tricks

Fitness models and professionals follow a few tricks to maintain their toned bodies year-round. The following top ten list of tips and tricks will be helpful:

  • Portion control: read labels and measure out proper portions. Don’t go back for more.
  • Smaller plates: dine on lunch size plates instead of large dinner plates to avoid overeating.
  • Pack food to go: avoid fast food by packing a healthy cooler or snacks in your purse.
  • Cook at home: you'll be more likely to reduce your overall intake of saturated fat, total fat, calories, and sodium.
  • Eliminate alcohol: reducing or eliminating alcohol will reduce that waistline by decreasing the total amount of "empty calories" and improving your overall health. Dietary guidelines suggest no more than one serving of alcohol per day for both men and women.
  • Exercise: 3-5 times per week and for 30-minutes to one hour for optimal fitness.
  • Eating breakfast: Breakfast is another word for "breaking a fast." Never skip breakfast and make sure it is highest in calories, protein, and fiber compared to the rest of your day to prevent evening cravings.
3 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Purdom T, Kravitz L, Dokladny K, Mermier C. Understanding the factors that effect maximal fat oxidation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:3. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0207-1

  2. National Health Service Dehydration symptoms and treatments. NHS Inform: Illnesses & Conditions | NHS inform.

  3. Buckley JD, Howe PR. Long-chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may be beneficial for reducing obesity-a review. Nutrients. 2010;2(12):1212-30. doi:10.3390/nu2121212

Additional Reading

By Darla Leal
Darla Leal is a Master Fitness Trainer, freelance writer, and the creator of Stay Healthy Fitness, where she embraces a "fit-over-55" lifestyle.