Strength training, and building lean muscle tissue, should play a central role in your weight loss plan. Muscle burns more calories than fat, meaning that as you add muscle you will be boosting your metabolism! Toning your muscles can also help you fit into smaller clothes or get your body swimsuit-ready.
If you’ve already added weight training to your exercise regimen, you’re on the right track. But you should also support your body’s nutritional needs by tweaking your diet to support muscle growth.
Don’t completely cut carbs. Your weight loss plan should involve boosting protein and including the right kinds of fats, but you shouldn’t cut out carbohydrates altogether. Healthy carbs, derived from whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits, deliver the fuel your muscles need during and after a serious workout.
Eat protein throughout the day. The body can only use so much protein to build muscles at one time, meaning you will achieve better results if you spread your protein intake throughout the day. Include a good source of lean protein at each meal rather than trying to load up on a day’s worth of protein all at once.
Choose the right proteins. While we’re on the subject of protein, it pays to remember that all sources are not created equal. It’s better to get your protein from whole, unprocessed foods like seafood, lean meats, nuts, eggs, or dairy. Those powders, shakes, and protein bars should only be used on top of a well-balanced diet (assuming you can handle that many calories). Don’t attempt to replace “real food” with these substitutes. You will eventually get bored with this diet and crave more tasty meals, and be tempted to binge. Plus you might miss out on valuable nutrients if you’re skipping “real” meals.
Drink that water! No matter your weight or fitness goals, you just can’t get away from this one. Muscles are more than 70 percent water, and need to be replenished just like the rest of your body. If muscles are dehydrated, protein production is actually inhibited. So make sure you’re drinking that eight glasses of water each day, if you aren’t already.