Today, I’m going to answer a burning question that I often get from readers. The question has come to my inbox in many different forms but usually goes something like this:
Q: I strength train regularly. I’m strong. I have muscles. I even eat pretty healthily. How do I get that toned look?
A: Congrats on working out on the regular and putting on that hard-earned muscle. That’s the first step (and often missed step) to having a toned look. You actually have to build *muscle* tissue in order so see *muscle* tone. You are on the right track by strength training regularly. Make sure you are lifting heavy for you. The amount of weight you use should leave your muscle burning, make you breathless, and make you sweat.
The next step is to burn fat that is on top of your muscles. This is where nutrition is KEY. Muscle tissue itself is never soft; it is always “toned.” Muscles can grow or shrink in size, but they can’t “tone up.” Any softness is body fat. To lower the amount of body fat you carry, focus on eating for fat loss. While eating healthy is great, it doesn’t always equal fat loss. Although, eating for fat loss is very healthy!
Eating for fat loss requires a few aspects:
- High protein intake – Aim for a minimum of 100 grams per day to help build/retain muscle.
- High fibrous vegetable intake – 5+ servings per day will add much-needed fiber to your diet to help with hunger
- Strategic carb intake – The amount needed will vary from person to person, but a starting point would be about 7-10 bites of healthy carbs at 3 meals. For an advanced approach, use carb cycling techniques based on your workout. (More on that HERE.)
- Eat healthy fats, but watch how much – You can certainly eat too much of a healthy food. Fat sources, even healthy ones, are high in calories. I could eat my daily overall caloric needs in nuts alone, so I’m speaking from experience here. 😉 Two to three servings a day would be a great place to start. One serving is about 1/2 cup of olives, 1/4 cup of nuts, 1/2 an avocado, 1.5 ounces of full-fat cheese, or 1-2 Tbsp of nut butter or healthy oil.
When you eat for fat loss, the foods you eat will naturally control hunger, minimize cravings, and increase energy. You will naturally eat a lower caloric diet as well. Bingo!
Let me give you an example of what this may look like:
- Breakfast: 6 egg white omelet with tons of veggies and a side of fruit
- Lunch: Huge salad with chicken, hold the bread and croutons
- Snack: Protein shake or Greek yogurt (add a scoop of protein powder for an additional protein boost!)
- Dinner: Grilled fish with roasted vegetables
- Beverages: water (add lemon or infuse with other fruit), coffee, teas (avoid drinking calories)
Remember, if you need help figuring out your own way of eating for fat loss, consider FASTer Way To Fat Loss coached by Amanda Tress. This program has been highly effective for hundreds of women!
p.s. FASTer Way to Fat Loss is an 8 Week Boot Camp that Utilizes Carb Cycling and Intermittent Fasting – HIGHLY effective program!