There are lots of reasons people start working out and most common among them is weight loss. And frankly, that’s as good a reason as any.
Carrying excess weight can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, certain cancers, and osteoarthritis. It can also limit your mobility by putting you at serious risk of not only joint pain, but joint damage. When you take all of this into account, choosing to lose weight is a no-brainer.
If you have started a diet and workout plan with the goal of being “skinny,” we have an even better suggestion for you: work toward lean muscle and toning instead!
Training for muscle may not change much on the scale but it will make a world of difference in your health and in your shape. Here’s why: muscles are more dense than fat which means they take up less space in your body. And since muscle increases your metabolism, the more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, and the more fat you will lose.
Even if you are a naturally slender person and your goals aren’t related to weight loss, toning and building lean muscle is still a good idea. On top of boosting your metabolism and reducing fat stores, lean muscle helps to improve bone density and prevents the muscle loss that comes with aging.
Lean muscle will not bulk you up and it will not make you look masculine. In fact, it will do the opposite. Toning these muscles will accentuate your curves and give you a trim, svelte, strong, healthy-looking body.
So how can you even begin to build and tone these muscles? It could be as simple as making a few minor adjustments in your routine.
When it comes to what you are putting into your body, don’t forget to hydrate. Keeping your body and your muscles hydrated allows everything to function as it should. AND, dehydration can masquerade as hunger, causing you to reach for food you don’t really need so drinking more water can also help you eliminate unnecessary calories from your diet.
Skip processed and simple carbohydrates like breads and cereals in favor of whole carbs like vegetables and fruits. You know you need to eat lots of protein but don’t forget to include healthy fats like fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, oils like olive and coconut, and avocado.
As for your sweat sessions, cardio is good for you but hours of running on the treadmill won’t help you build muscle. And besides, who really has time to spend hours at the gym anyway? The solution is to begin strength training. A good routine will include multi joint, compound, exercises like a squat, curl and press, which will maximize your engagement and work your entire body. Strength training creates what is known as an “after burn” and this means you’ll continue to burn calories throughout the day, long after your workout is finished. As a bonus, doing something like high intensity interval training (HIIT) or high intensity resistance training (HIRT), pushes you to your max which means you can get a real, solid workout in as little as 12 minutes!
Like anything else worth having, toning and building lean muscle will take time and effort but until you get started, you have no idea how good you will look and feel. So, grab your weights, turn on SweatFlix and get ready to transform your body.
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