We all know that a body with more muscle than fat helps keep our metabolism revved and puts less stress on our hearts. But which camp are you in: Camp Bulk or Camp Tone?
If your goal is to bulk up and gain muscle, your workout routine should consist of lifting heavy and optimizing your post-workout recovery with properly timed protein. If you are bulking up for a competition or sporting event, you will need to follow specific guidelines with fitness and nutrition to achieve your goals.
If muscle tone is your fitness goal, the key is routine training, treating your body right, and balancing a healthy diet that is lower in carbs and full of protein.
Aim to include some protein in every meal. If you are struggling to get protein in your regular diet, consider adding protein powder to dishes like oatmeal and shakes or smoothies.
Try to spread your proteins evenly throughout the day as much as possible. And most importantly: make sure to have a protein shake within 30 minutes of working out in order to maximize recovery and results.
Maintaining Routine Fitness Training
Part of starting or maintaining your goal of building muscle tone involves a consistent and effective fitness routine. Strength training and cardio each week will help you burn fat and tone lean muscle.
A strength training routine should involve low weight/high repetition weight training 3 to 5 times per week. If you are just beginning a weight routine, your body will be sore during the first week, so be sure to keep going, but stretch, hydrate, walk and foam roll to loosen up the lactic acid that builds in your muscles as you work them. Do not stack your lifting days back to back. Space them out every other day to allow your muscles time to rest on cardio days.
Combining cardio with your strength training routine is key to melting fat and building stamina. Planning your cardio workouts early in the morning will also allow you to burn more fat throughout the day. Working out early will also help limit excuses later in the day and give your mind and body an extra energy rush during the day.
To help develop a consistent schedule needed for increased muscle tone, think long term. Plan out each week in advance, so you know what workouts you will do and when. By scheduling your workout, you’ll make it far less likely to skip. A routine schedule combined with some form of accountability to a partner or a group can also and achieve your exercise goals.
Exercise is just one part of the equation to increase muscle tone, however. These goals should be accompanied by an overall healthy lifestyle including proper rest, recovery and nutrition.
Treat Yourself Right!
As soreness, hectic schedules, and excuses set in, more people will quit their workout routine than stick with it. That is why it is important to take care of your body while you are training by scheduling rest days, getting the proper amount of sleep, and eating well. Think of your journey to build muscle tone as a marathon, not a sprint.
A quality fitness program will allow for 1 to 2 rest days per week. Rest days allow your body to recover and repair, a critical part of progress regardless of your fitness level or sport. Skipping rest days can lead to overtraining or burnout. Exercise creates microscopic tears in your muscle tissue, but rest helps the tissue heal and grow, resulting in stronger muscles.
Speaking of rest, sleep is crucial in the process of recovery and building muscle tone. Sleep is a time of rebuilding. Hormones like testosterone and human growth hormone help the body rebuild and repair during restful sleep. Don’t sabotage all your hard work by adding extra stress to your body; get your Zs.
While training and rest are essential to building muscle tone, they are only part of the equation. Nutrition is another huge factor that’ll help you increase muscle tone.
Fuel Those Muscles
Many athletes find the nutrition part of building muscle tone more challenging than the workouts. But poor nutrition can easily negate all your hard work.
A balanced diet is key for anyone wanting to stay healthy and build muscle tone, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
What you eat and when you eat it profoundly improves your ability to build muscle tone and strength. Eat a food or beverage high in protein about 30 minutes immediately after your strength-training workout -- and do the same after a vigorous cardiovascular workout.
When you work out, your muscles break down. Taking in a high protein food when your muscles are being broken down by exercise will build your muscle mass and your strength more effectively. And don't forget to drink water, because staying hydrated prevents muscle cramps and delivers nutrients throughout your body.
One of the biggest nutritional factors to increased muscle tone is protein, even on rest days. Adequate protein intake supports muscle building and repair. Protein can come from plant or animal sources, including protein powders to help maintain muscle tone.
Not all proteins are created equal; however, so make sure you select a premium protein powder like Transformation Protein that contains a perfect blend of proteins and added ingredients like MCT oil, key digestive enzymes, prebiotics, and probiotics, to boost recovery.
Choosing the Right Protein Powder
When building or maintaining muscle tone, it’s best to consume a mix of normal and fast-digesting protein after a workout. Transformation Protein contains 30 grams of both types of protein per serving, blending natural egg white protein and collagen peptide, and plant-based proteins.
Amino acids are organic compounds known as the building blocks of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that bond together in a chain to form a protein. Eleven of those amino acids are produced naturally by our bodies. The other nine, known as essential amino acids, we need to get through food or supplements. These essential amino acids make up a “complete protein.”
Transformation Protein’s formula has been perfected over time and includes all nine essential amino acids in one product, offering a quick and effective way to optimize the efforts you put into your workouts. This makes Transformation Protein an ideal protein formula for anyone trying to tone and build lean muscle.