When you’re working hard in the gym, there are many factors to consider if your goal is to increase muscle tone. It takes more than just a workout for your muscles to start showing definition, and what you eat can make or break the goals you have. If you’re not eating the right nutrients, your body won’t be able to rebuild and strengthen your muscles, no matter how hard you’re working out. Additionally, it’s important to focus on more than just protein in your diet to support muscle growth.
Every time you engage in strength-building exercise, your muscles actually break down, causing microtears in the fibers. To help your body recover, it’s important to focus on vitamins and minerals that lower inflammation, promote metabolism, and support collagen production. Foods rich in vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin E, calcium, and vitamin B are known for their potential to provide these health benefits. By consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of foods, including vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts/seeds, and dairy products, you’ll be on the right track to meeting your needs for these nutrients.
Another vitamin to keep in mind is vitamin D, otherwise known as the “sunshine” vitamin. It is required for muscle contraction and growth, and plays a role in bone growth and strength. The best way to obtain vitamin D is through sun exposure. However, too much sunshine can be harmful for your skin and therefore supplements are often recommended. If you think you need a vitamin D supplement, talk with your doctor who can suggest a specific dosage.
Omega-3 fatty acids are another nutrient that can help boost muscle tone, due to their anti-inflammatory properties and ability to increase blood flow to your muscles. To obtain the omega-3s you need, the American Heart Association recommends eating two 3.5-ounce servings of fatty fish each week. Additionally, omega-3s are found in some plant-based foods, such as flax seed, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and walnuts.
By keeping these nutrients in mind, and focusing on the nutritional density of your overall diet, you’ll be more likely to reap the benefits of your workouts and may notice muscle tone develop more quickly.
Until next time….Change your life, change your legacy!