If you want to build and tone muscle (and who doesn't?), you probably have an exercise routine involving weight lifting and other definition-creating moves. But in your enthusiasm for exercise, don't neglect your diet. What you eat plays an important role in building muscle tone.
Eat ... More?
It may seem odd, but if you are working towards building muscle, you may actually require more food. Toning exercises require plenty of fuel, so choose your foods wisely and eat something often to keep up your stamina. You will want to eat at least an hour before a workout so that your body has time to get the food digested before an exercise session. Additionally, eat something small - perhaps a piece of fruit - at the conclusion of your exercising.
When trying to build muscle tone and definition, it's better to eat 5-6 smaller meals each day than the traditional 3. This will give your body a steady supply of fuel to draw upon in creating muscle.
Protein and Dairy
Did you know that muscle is made of protein? Therefore, it's important to eat plenty of protein when you're trying to build muscle. Make wise protein choices such as lean cuts of meat (chicken, turkey and fish are good). Eggs, nuts, or protein shakes are good choices if you're not in the mood for meat, or if you're following a vegetarian diet.
Don't neglect milk and other dairy products, as these help your muscles add protein and gain strength. If fat loss is a goal as well as muscle toning, choose skim milk products.
Carbs are useful in building muscle tone and definition. Choose "good carbs" such as whole grain breads and pastas, and stay away from sugars and from products made with enriched white flour. Good carbs help keep up your energy level, and they help replace nutrients lost during workouts.
Don't Forget Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and veggies may not specifically tone muscles, but they do provide vital vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to function optimally. Additionally, filling up on these healthy foods will make you less likely to snack on sugary, fatty foods that will not help your body reach its fitness goals.
Your body is almost 75% water, so don't neglect drinking water frequently when exercising. This keeps your muscles hydrated and working optimally. You will have less muscle cramping and overheating if you drink plenty of water.
To Supplement or Not To Supplement?
Many muscle tone supplements are on the market, promising to deliver toned muscles if you'll just buy their product. Despite the claims, most experts agree that the way to build muscle tone is through a dedicated regimen of diet and exercise. It's not a bad idea to take a basic multi-vitamin to ensure you're meeting all of your body's nutritional needs, but supplements specifically claiming to build muscles are probably a waste of your money.
Pay attention to your body's nutritional needs, and you'll be well on your way to a more toned, muscled body.