We all know that attaining and maintaining a toned figure takes diet AND exercise, but are some foods and workouts superior to others? After researching all of the current claims about nutrition and fitness crazes, I have narrowed it down some tips to put you on a path toward more efficient fitness and a more toned you!
Let’s start with food. Different nutrients not only repair muscles from a tough workout but also make them more toned. We know that a diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables enhances your body’s capabilities, but some foods are more effective than others because of what they have in them. Check it out.
Iron. The workhorse of the minerals. It carries oxygen to our muscles giving them what they need to work harder which gives you firmer glutes, arms, abs, you name it. One of the best ways to maximize the absorption of iron in your food is to eat something with Vitamin C at the same time. Great iron/vitamin C combos include a spinach salad with sliced strawberries or stir fried bell peppers and kale.
Magnesium. Aids in muscle development and making energy. Both are crucial when toning is your goal. Soybeans are not only a good source of magnesium but they are also a great source of protein. Toss ½ cup shelled edamame into a salad for a slimming meal. Spinach and avocado are also good sources of magnesium.
Fiber + Protein. Lasting energy to fuel longer workouts. One of the best multitaskers in this category is lentils, which pack 18 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber. Serve them in a soup, sautéed or cold in a salad.
Amino Acids. Although many occur naturally in our body, some have to be eaten because the body can’t make them. Lysine, which helps break down fatty acides, is one of them. Some studies also suggest that lysine helps muscles heal faster after exertion. Eggs and soybeans are a good source.
Protein. A huge player in toning. If you need a protein fix but don’t have a lot of time to prepare a meal, try Zumba Shake Shake Shake™. It’s a great source of iron, fiber, protein, and other essential nutrients. Add some spinach and orange into the Vanilla Shake Shake Shake(link to zumbashake.com) protein powder for a green creamsicle to get you ready for your workout and help you recover from it.
Now, what about workouts? Good workouts combine calorie burning cardio with toning strength exercises. You can’t see the toned muscles if you don’t burn the calories and there won’t be toned muscles if you don’t incorporate strength into your workouts. Try STRONG by Zumba™ a new workout that incorporates HIIT, strength training and bodyweight exercises. But what makes it different? The movements are synced to music, so every beat pushes you past your limits and towards the results you want to see.
In sum, when you want to tone up, a combination of diet and exercise is key. Make sure you are choosing the right foods and workouts that will give you the results you are striving for. And don’t forget to have fun!