Getting the perfect body isn’t just about losing fat – it’s about building your muscle tone and actually looking fit. After all, you want to look healthy, not just skinny.
So how do you accomplish the lean, toned body you’ve always dreamed of? Start with these tips:
- Build a protein heavy diet
Protein is what helps your body build and maintain muscle, both the bulky kind and the lean, toned kind that you’re looking for. Muscle, in turn, helps your body burn away fat, so building more muscle will help you maintain a healthy weight once you’ve achieved the weight loss you’re looking for.
How much protein should you have in your diet? Some fitness experts recommend having a diet that’s 85-90% protein. Others recommend going for a specific amount in weight, usually 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight. You’re going to have to experiment with different diets to figure out what gives you the best energy levels but one thing is for sure: your diet should be almost entirely protein-heavy foods.
- Cut your carbs
Read this one carefully and then read it again: we’re not asking you to cut out carbs completely but you do have to cut back dramatically. This is unavoidable if you’re really serious about increasing your protein intake to become 85-90% of your diet but it still has to be repeated on its own because it’s so important.
All the carbs you do eat should be whole grains and ideally not whole grain bread either. Other grains like oats, quinoa and rice contain larger amounts of nutrients and tend to be less processed.
- Enjoy healthy fats
Unfortunately, the fat-free fad of the past couple decades has left a permanent mark on our collective psyche, leading far too many women to attempt cutting fat completely out of their diet when they want to lose weight.
The truth is your body needs certain types of fat, such as omega-3 fatty acids, in order to properly process protein and build muscle. The only types of fat you should be slashing out of your diet completely are trans fats and saturated fats which have been heavily processed.
- Find your caloric sweet spot
Another thing far too many women do when they’re trying to lose weight is go on a diet that severely restricts the number of calories they’re allowed to eat. You need to eat enough food for your body to actively build muscle and have enough energy for the day but not so much that you’re gaining fat as well as muscle.
Most women who are actively working out should be eating somewhere in the range of 1800-2500 calories per day (the exact number depends on how much you’re exercising as well as other factors like height and body structure).
- Start interval training
Interval training is when you alternate between short (30 seconds to 1 minutes) bursts of intense physical activity and longer bursts(usually 1-2 minutes) of moderate activity. This is actually the most efficient type of cardio training, producing the best results while minimizing injury.
You can find dozens of interval training routines online with most ranging between 15 and 30 minutes long. Some require an actual exercise machine but most can be done easily in just about any space.
- Switch to smaller sets with heavier weights
Want to build muscle faster? Increase the size of your weights to almost your absolute maximum weight and do sets of 6 instead of 12.
This is actually how most bodybuilders train—the only difference is that eventually you’ll be satisfied with how toned your muscles are and stop actively increasing the weight.
- Focus on frequent, short workouts
Developing the muscle, you want means changing not just how you exercise but how often you exercise. Instead of going to the gym twice a week and doing an hour long workout you should be doing an intense half hour workout 4-5 days per week.
You should also make a point of adding short bursts of exercise to your daily routine. Even something as simple as going up a flight of stairs instead of taking the escalator can get your metabolism moving again after you’ve been sitting down for a long time.