So, you want to lose fat and gain muscle. Without proper nutrition, fat loss and muscle gain will not happen. Last week we talked about the importance of both cardio and strength training for fat loss and muscle gain. Now let’s talk about healthy nutrition to fuel your body through this process.
The human body requires fuel to operate and exercise, and the source of such fuel is food. What you eat to fuel your body matters. Trying to lose weight and gain muscle can be difficult if you don’t find the right combination of filling and healthy foods that work for you. That is why you should stick to nutrition based on the following science-backed components.
But First, a Few Words about Water
While I am not devoting a whole section to water, I can’t say enough about the roll that water plays in fat loss and muscle gain.
Dehydration is a major concern when you start to ramp up your exercise. Bodies that are dehydrated lose strength and muscle size.
The right amount of water will help flush fat cells from your body, keep you full and lubricate the joints that you need for exercise.
Here is the general rule for how much water is enough…
Half your Body Weight in Ounces
So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should be drinking a minimum of 75 ounces per day. The more you exercise the closer to 100 ounces of water is what you need!
1. Fiber is Your Friend
30 plus grams per day of insoluble fiber aids in digestion and fat loss. It keeps you full longer, flushes and removes waste from your system and helps to control your blood sugar levels.
Sources of fiber include whole grain products, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), quinoa, brown and wild rice, oats, nuts and seeds, and vegetables and fruit.
Try some overnight oats with fruit to start the day. Add some ground flaxseed and spinach to your smoothie. Shoot for 5 servings of veggies each day – both raw and cooked. Have a salad full of veggies and add some chopped pecans or walnuts for crunch and fiber.
2. Vitamin D and Calcium
Did you know that Vitamin D and Calcium together accelerate fat loss? Not only do they do a great job keeping our bones strong research suggests that when you take these together at breakfast, your body increases its fat burning ability over the next two meals!
Milk, cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt all contain calcium. There are some other less calorie dense sources such as kale, spinach, fish and white beans.
Vitamin D sources include fish, cheese and egg yolks.
Most women will increase their benefits from Vitamin D and Calcium by taking a supplement, and in the case of Vitamin D, getting daily exposure to the sun.
3. Healthy Fats
Fat DOES NOT make you fat. It keeps your hair and skin looking amazing. As for fat loss and muscle, healthy fats like avocados, olive or avocado oil, and organic butter or ghee supply energy, absorb more slowly than carbs keeping you satisfied and they enhance the flavor of food.
Furthermore, healthy fats help your body to adsorb insoluable vitamins like D, E and A, are anti-inflammatory and increase your brain function.
Best sources of healthy fats include avocados, coconut oil, olive oil and olives, organic butter and ghee, MCT oil, nuts and seeds, eggs and grass fed organic beef.
Add ½ an avocado to your salad, smoothie or make some guacamole. Cook with avocado and coconut oil.
4. Protein – The Body’s Building Block to Muscle Gain
If you want to build muscle, choose lean protein such as white meat chicken, lean beef and pork, protein powder, and fish. Protein packed foods help your body rebuild and repair the muscles after each workout.
There are other sources of lean protein that you should consider:
Bison, plain Greek yogurt, powdered peanut butter, shrimp, beans, low fat cottage cheese and quinoa are all lean and high in protein.
Add powdered peanut butter to your smoothies or yogurt, make grilled burgers with bison or fix some black bean and veggie tacos. Make a salad with quinoa, black beans, corn, red onions, bell peppers, cilantro. It looks beautiful, tastes great and includes many recommended items in this post.
5. Veggies and Fruit – Fat Loss Friends
This one doesn’t need much screen time. Vitamins, minerals, water – veggies and fruits have all the good stuff for healthy living. They also help keep you full and remove waste from your system.
Aim for 4 to 5 servings per day – more if you can. You should eat the rainbow! Dark green leafy vegetables, bright red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables. There’s hardly a color that is missed in the rainbow!
Properly fueling your body by adhering to these main components of your nutrition will help build up those muscles faster.
As your strength increases, you will continue to burn fat and replace it with lean muscle mass. You will begin to see changes in your body as it reshapes itself into a lean and strong physique.
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