Have you ever heard someone say “I just want to be toned.” What does that really mean? Being thinner? Having less body fat? Being more muscular? For everyone it’s different, but there is one thing in common when people refer to getting “toned” – they are wanting to change body composition.
Now let’s define body composition. It’s SO much more than just your body weight or height! Body composition refers to what makes up your body including but not limited to: muscle mass, fat mass, water weight, bone density, visceral fat, AND weight. In order to alter your body composition, you have two main options:
1) Gain muscle mass
2) Shed fat
Gaining Muscle Mass
Gaining muscle mass requires more than just lifting weights every now and again in the gym. Gaining AND maintaining muscle mass involves:
- Progressing your workouts
- Eating enough protein
- Lifting heavier weights
Progressing your workouts
Progression is a key factor when altering your body composition in the gym. First let’s talk about WHAT progression is. This is when you change your exercise intensity with one or multiple factors in order to make it more challenging for your body. Your body is smart and will get used to specific movements or workouts and they will become easier. Without changing any factors, you will eventually plateau.
Now, let’s talk about HOW to progress your workouts. A few examples are:
- Increasing volume
- Increasing reps
- Increasing range of motion
- Decreasing tempo
- Increasing eccentric force
Eating enough protein
Protein is something talked about frequently in the fitness industry and here’s why. Protein makes up the building blocks or amino acids that build your muscles. Without protein, you wouldn’t be able to recover as efficiently or maximize the benefits of lifting weights in the gym.
Here are some protein sources:
- Ground turkey/beef
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Nuts / Seeds
- Protein powders
- Vegetables also have protein in them!
Lifting heavier weights
Lifting heavier weights stimulates bigger and more muscle fibers than lifting lighter weights. These are referred to as fast twitch muscle fibers which tend to be bigger in size. This takes time, correct movement patterns, and progression mentioned in #1.
Losing Fat Mass
Fat loss is a different system inside your body that we’ll teach you how to access. The reason we say “losing fat” instead of “weight loss” is because saying “weight” is too vague. Are you referring to fat mass? Or muscle mass? Or even water?? Losing fat mass involves:
- Putting your body in a caloric deficit
- Eating whole foods / eliminating inflammation
- Getting enough rest and recovery
Putting your body in a caloric deficit
Caloric deficit! NOTHING can replace this aspect of weight loss because it all comes down to calories in versus calories out. Check out our other blog post, Tips For Shredding Belly Fat, to see how weightloss comes down to a basic math equation. As you lose weight your body needs less energy in order to survive, so this too is a progressive process that will need adjustments to caloric needs over time.
Eating whole foods / eliminating inflammation
It’s not just about the quantity of calories, but also the quality. Whole foods have so much more to offer than processed foods! You’re able to eat more volume for less calories, consume vitamins and minerals, and feel energized by eating whole foods like lean meats, complex carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats
If you are feeling bloated or have discomfort while digesting every meal, something may be bothering your gut. You might want to consider keeping a food journal and pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain things. Just remember, our bodies were made to consume healthy foods and feel great after eating them!
Getting enough rest and recovery
Getting enough sleep is absolutely essential, but resting your body is also about making sure you are giving it a chance to recover after all the work you’ve put in during your exercise sessions. Here are some examples:
- Foam rolling
- Taking a couple days off from the gym
- Doing a de-load week
- Getting a massage
- Getting enough sleep
- Eliminating stress
- Making some time to relax
- Drink enough water
Changing your body composition can be confusing if you don’t define it first! Whether your goal is to lose fat or to gain muscle, you CAN achieve it. It IS possible to reach your fitness goal. Contact us and we’ll schedule your first session to get you started on the right track at TriFit:)