The term “muscle tone” refers to muscles that are visually evident and have an appearance that looks appealing. In spite of hard workouts, you will not attain good muscle tone if you have a thick layer of fat on your muscles.
A healthy diet is, therefore, utmost important to gain muscle and strength with a minimal amount of fat. Your diet should consist of lots of fruits and vegetables to ensure enough micro nutrient and fiber intake, “complex” carbs, lean proteins, healthy fat and plenty of water.
Here are the 5 must have for a Muscle Toning Diet
1) Healthy Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates foods are also known as energy giving food and have a protein sparing effect. For the protein to be used for muscle building the body should get sufficient fuel from carbohydrates to perform long lasting workouts.
The amount of carbohydrate should not exceed the requirement because in that case excess of carbs will be stored as fat.
Insufficient carbs intake will lead to muscle fatigue and will also deplete muscle protein. Ideally, one should get around 45 to 60% of your calories from complex and fiber-rich carbohydrates. Good food choices will include: wheat or oats porridge, bagel, whole grain products.
2) Lean Protein and Dairy
For muscle maintenance and enlargement, intake of protein should be adequate. Any extra protein other than the requirement will manifest itself as fat rather than as muscle mass.
Preferably 20-30% of calories should come from proteins. Wise protein choices include lean cuts of meat (chicken, turkey and fish are good), egg whites, whey protein shakes, tofu, low-fat cheese, sprouts, beans, and nuts.
3) Don’t Forget Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables may not tone muscles particularly, but will provide with all vital vitamins and nutrients for your body to function optimally. Furthermore, these healthy foods will also fulfill your appetite quite wisely. Examples include pineapple. Dried apricots, dates, beets, carrots, peas, etc.
4) Healthy Fats
Fats are the high concentrated form of energy, 1 gram of fat provided 9 kcal as a contrast to proteins and carbohydrates (1 gram provided 4 kcal), so if athletes restrict fat completely in their diet than in that case much higher intake of carbs and protein would be needed to meet the energy requirement.
This high intake of carbs and protein would be difficult to attain due limitation in meal timings. Thus, a small quantity of fat goes a long way towards calorie delivery. However, 20 to 25% (of total calories) of fat is recommended to be taken daily to ensure adequate energy intake along with intake of essential fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, K).
Besides this, fats have an important role in reducing the severity of exercise-induced Bronchoconstriction and also enhance aerobic metabolic processes by burning fat and proportionately reducing carbs reliance and thereby increasing endurance. Examples: peanut, walnut, almond, olive, flax seed oils.
Your body is made up of almost 70% water. Water is essential to keep the muscle well hydrated so that they work optimally. Water also help to disseminate the heat which is generated during intense exercises and will also contribute to minimizing muscle cramping.
It also plays a role in transport nutrients throughout your body and removing toxins from your body.
Read More about water: Drinking water helps weight loss
Now you are aware of what you should have in your diet to tone your muscles. Try this out and share your experience in the comment below.
Also published on Medium.