Want a back that’s beautiful? Abs to be envied? Shoulders that are sculpted? Then you need to lose fat and tone muscle to increase lean body mass. Lean body mass is the sum of the non-fat parts of the body, like your muscles and organs. Here are steps you can take to increase lean body mass, lose weight, and tone muscle:
1. Don’t drastically cut back on calories. Many believe they need to slash calories to lose weight—but if you want to build a sculpted body, those muscles need fuel. Don’t eliminate more than 300-500 calories per day, and don’t drop below 1,200 calories per day without medical supervision. Learn more with 2 Ways to Calculate How Many Calories You Need.
2. Pump up the protein. Muscle needs fuel—fuel in the form of protein. In an effort to lose weight, it’s common to cut back too far on the protein muscles need to tone up. Generally, women trying to increase lean body mass should eat between ½ to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight daily. Feed your muscles with protein from lean fish or lean meat (salmon, tuna, chicken, and turkey), beans, or plain, non-fat Greek yogurt. Nudge your protein intake with these tasty Quinoa Protein Bars.
3. Don’t fear fat. Healthy fats, like those found in cold-water fish, olive oil, or avocado, contain more healthy fat per gram than protein, giving the body an efficient fuel source for muscle-toning workouts. Get your good fat fix with this seriously delicious Strawberry and Avocado Salad with Strawberry Balsamic Dressing.
4. Work those weights. You can use weights to create lean muscle without adding extra bulk you might not want. In fact, some research suggests that a combination of heavier weights with fewer repetitions is more effective at toning than the use of lighter weights with higher reps . If you haven’t tried using weights to shed pounds and tone muscle, get need-to-know info with Understanding Basic Weight Training Terms.
5. Don’t skimp on cardio. Short, high-intensity cardio workouts are the perfect partner for muscle-toning exercises because they help burn the layers of fat that cover muscle. Tabata-style (4 Minute) training is a great way to add cardio to your routine—especially if you’re short on time. Try this Beginners’ 4 Minute Fat Blaster or our appropriately-named Inferno 4 Minute Burn.
6. Get your D. D’s in school—not so good. D’s in your diet—marvelous for muscles! Vitamin D is important for increasing lean body mass because muscle tissues use it to synthesize proteins. Your body produces it naturally when it’s exposed to sunlight. But not too much sun! It only takes about 10-15 minutes a couple of times a week. If you have skin cancer concerns, talk with your doctor before exposing unprotected skin to the sun. Vitamin D is also found in dairy products, like cheese and milk, as well as in supplements.
7. Commit to consistency. It’s hard to build muscle in fits and starts. Plan to workout with strength training exercises at least 2 times a week. Put workout times in your calendar and then stick to that commitment—you’re worth the investment!
Increase lean body mass to lose weight, banish the flab, and reveal the toned, fit you underneath!
Try some of these other tips to kep you strong and healthy no matter your fitness level:
Top 10 At-Home Workouts – When the Gym Isn’t an Option
Lose Up to 10 Pounds in 30 Days – 4 Step Weight Loss Challenge
10 Clean Eating Tips- Do’s and Don’ts
15 Fab Juice Combinations for Cleansing and Detoxification
5 Day Clean Eating Dinner Menu
Resources: The New York Times