While you possibly want to lose weight, it is not always about burning the fat. Sometimes you want to tone your body and add strength to your arms and legs. This means building on your muscles while burning the fat. This certainly is possible, and there is no need for steroids or pills to make it happen.
Then there are times that you do not want to lose weight at all. You want to build strength and stamina into your muscles.
All of this can be done through your nutrition. You just must follow the right rules for the job. You may be surprised to hear that it is not all about specialist diets and starving yourself. Some small changes in your current diet will help you build a stronger and leaner body.
Drink More Water
Quite honestly, one of the best things you can do is opt for more water. Not only will you keep your body hydrated (and your muscles will thank you for that) but you do so without adding any extra calories. Water is the best form of a liquid for your body. It hydrates without added sugars, caffeine, and other additives.
Why is water so important for a stronger and leaner body? Well, your muscles need it. They are made up of 73% water. It is a fact that many of us overlook when it comes to nutrition. Sure, we exercise and add plenty of protein and other nutrients, but what about the water?
When the muscles do not get enough water, they start to spasm and cramp. You are left in pain and you will find your recovery process is slower.
Water also helps the body digest food. You will keep your digestive system working fully, helping to absorb all the nutrients you offer. Your muscles will gain more from one meal than ever before.
Not too certain about plain water? It can get a little boring, but do not opt for sodas or fruit juices. Add some slices of lemon or other fruit or vegetables to your water. Let the water absorb the juices, natural sugars, and fiber. You will taste and feel the difference.
Get eight glasses of water a day for good health. If you do much exercises or it is hot, you will need to increase the amount you drink to avoid dehydration.
Stock Up On The Protein
When it comes to food, you will need to focus more on protein. There is a few reasons protein is so good for you. The main one is that it is needed by the muscles for the repair process. When you workout, your muscles will tear. They need the protein to build back stronger than before. This is how you become stronger and leaner.
Protein will also help you feel fuller quicker and for longer. It takes longer to break down in the body, so your metabolism works harder and for longer. You do not consume as many calories throughout the day as you would eat other nutrients, aiding with weight loss.
Make sure you get a ratio of 1g of protein for every pound in weight. So, if you weight 200lbs, you will need to consume 200g of protein per day. This is not actually that difficult. Excellent protein sources include lean poultry and meats, fish, quinoa, soy, milk and dairy products, and some grains.
Focus on lean when it comes to meats. Mincemeat can be good for you, but you want 5% lean or less. This means you get rid of the saturated fats, allowing the protein to do more of the work.
Use Protein Shakes Sparingly
While protein shakes can be good for topping up the amount of protein you get, you want to use them sparingly. The best form of the protein is completely natural. One of the downsides of protein shakes is the amount of added ingredients they throw in. Some will also use synthetic forms of protein.
If you are lactose intolerant or vegan, avoid whey protein shakes. They use a form of milk to get the protein!
Do not just drink a protein shake after your workout. Use it as part of your new diet. When you make a smoothie, add a scoop of protein powder. You will find the smoothie is more filling and more nutritious for you. Your smoothie should be the meal and not just a drink, as it will have enough calories to make it a meal. Considering replacing one or two breakfasts per week with the smoothies.
Add More Fiber To Your Diet
Fiber is one of the most overlooked but necessary nutrients in the body. It helps to support the whole digestive system, which makes the difference between your body absorbing the nutrients or just flushing them out. Fiber will help to avoid constipation, some gastrointestinal syndromes, and other health problems.
The best thing is fiber is so easy to add. You can get it through fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and so much more. The smoothies that you add your protein powder to will be packed with fiber if you blend and do not juice the fruits and vegetables you use.
However, how does fiber help you get that leaner and stronger body? Well, it is all in the support of the digestive system. When your body can absorb all the nutrients from food, your muscles are more likely to gain the protein that you offer it. You will also get other nutrients, such as vitamins A and C to support the health of the whole body, especially the tissues and cells of the muscles.
At the same time, you decrease the number of calories you eat daily. Fiber, like protein, breaks down slowly in the body. You will feel fuller sooner and for longer than before because of this, so you can find it easier to lose weight.
Stock Up On Some Healthy Fats
Fats have had a bad reputation for years, but they are good for you. That is if you get the right types and eat them in moderation. Too many fats and you can gain weight. There are more calories in fats compared to other nutrients, which can lead to overeating and weight gain if the fats are not used properly.
There is also the problem with saturated fats, which is why we say you need to stock up on healthy fats. These include olive oil, oily fish, nuts, some nut butter, and the like. The healthy fats are unsaturated, which means they do not clog up the arteries. Instead, they are turned into ketones, which offer the body energy.
By getting more energy, you boost the metabolism. This can help you lose more weight when you get the balance right. The fat is burned, leaving you with the muscle behind to tone your body. You will also find it easier to turn proteins into energy to build the muscles and make the body stronger and leaner.
Choose Complex Carbs Instead
The fourth macronutrient is carbs. Like fats, they have had a bad reputation for some years, and it is understandable why that is the case. Simple carbs metabolize quickly, and their sugars will be released into your bloodstream. You end up with elevated blood sugar levels, leading to more insulin and a slower metabolism.
It is not just for a stronger and leaner body that you need to cut down on the number of simple carbs you eat. Your whole health will benefit.
Complex carbs, such as those from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and the like will break down into the body much slower. You will find them in starchy and fibrous foods, and it is these elements that help with the slower break down, so you do not end up with the sugars being released into your bloodstream. You keep your insulin levels low, which means fat is not stored as much. You can lose weight, burn more fat, and get a toner looking body.
You will also get more fiber into your diet through these complex carbs. The fiber will help with the absorption of nutrients.
Reduce Your Portion Sizes
It is not just about what you eat, but the amount that you eat. Even if you stick to healthy foods, you will run the risk of adding more calories than your body burns. We tend to find this when snacking through the day. We do not listen to our bodies as much as we should so we end up overeating by mistake.
If you reduce your portion sizes, you will find that you eat less. Instead of three big meals and two snacks a day, opt for five to six smaller meals spread out through the day. By eating more regularly, you avoid your body worrying about the next meal, and you do not feel as hungry throughout the day.
Your hunger levels remain stable. That means you do not start releasing stress hormones, worrying about when you will eat again (now an irrational fear from the time of the caveman). You do not get the sweet cravings as often, as you feel satisfied. You will also be ready for a workout and not feel bloated or lethargic from too much food.
Practice Mindful Eating
While reducing your portion sizes, practice some mindful eating. This is when you think more about the food you eat and whether you need it. What you may think is a smaller portion may still actually be more than your body needs.
When you start eating, make sure you chew 10-20 times. This will also help with the digesting process and release of nutrients, rather than just mindful eating. Put your knife and fork down between bites, so you spend more time preparing the next forkful to eat.
After half of your plate is eaten, sit back and give yourself some time to digest a little food. Ask yourself if you are still hungry. If you are satisfied, that is fine! You can cover up your meal or trash it; just do not eat anymore. There is no point having more, as you will just consume more calories than necessary. If you are still hungry, go back to eating, stopping when you have had half of the food that was left on your plate.
Repeat the process of asking yourself if you are hungry and eating half of whatever is left on your plate again. Stop eating when you finally feel satisfied. Note that this does not mean full. You should feel like you do not need to eat anymore, rather than feeling gassy and bloated.
With mindful eating, you automatically start eating less and enjoy your food more. It is easier for your body to burn more calories and the fat so that you can lose more weight.
Practice Clean Eating
We have looked at all the macronutrients you need, but what about the foods that should be left off your grocery list? This is what clean eating involves. You want to cut out the food that isn’t natural.
This does not mean you have to follow a strict paleo diet. You can still enjoy some legumes, grains, and other foods that have been grown. What you want to do is get rid of anything processed, packaged, and with additives. Cut out the cakes, crisps, candy bars, and everything else with refined sugar and chemicals.
Foods with chemicals will not help your muscles build. They also put your bones at risk, affecting your strength. Soda can prevent the body absorbing magnesium properly, while refined sugars metabolize in the bloodstream extremely quickly. You do get sugar rushes, but you also suffer more crashes throughout the day and feel the need to eat more. There is a detrimental effect on your mental health, which will affect your physical health.
Eat more natural foods and cut out the processed junk more often. Your health and your wallet will feel better for it.
Include A Cheat Day
I know exactly what you are thinking right now. The tips to get a healthy and lean body sound boring. You are cutting out all your favorite food, and you are possibly questioning whether this is going to be worth it. Well, it is, because of rule number 10.
All the previous rules should be followed most of the time. However, once a week you can cheat. You can enjoy a chocolate bar while you watch your guilty pleasure and you can have a glass of wine while reading your book or grabbing that long soak in the bath.
A one-off is not going to throw everything off. You are not going to suddenly pile on the pounds by eating one chocolate bar a week, just like you are not going to lose the pounds by only having one healthy meal in a week of processed junk a week!
One of the benefits of your cheat day is that you have something to look forward to. Your mind knows that not everything is banned, so you do not crave the sweets as much as you would without the cheat day. Your body adapts a lot easier to the new regime, and you will feel physically and mentally stronger than before.
Plan for the day. Decide which day your cheat day is going to be and stick to that plan. The very next day, you need to get right back on track with the diet. This is the important part. One bad day should not turn into two, three, or more!
Your Stronger And Leaner Body Starts Now
Do not delay. Start following the nutritional tips above, and you will get that stronger and leaner body you crave for. Of course, you need to add some exercise. Weight training is good, but the right diet is far more important. A good diet will help support your exercise plan, aid in repairing the muscles and ease the recovery time between workouts.