Looking to Tone Up in 2021? Here’s How:

2021… the year of YOU. 

With a big year ahead filled with BIG potential, you may be wondering how you can accomplish your goals. Not to worry, you aren’t alone! 

But one of the biggest questions I’ve seen from prospective clients is how to achieve the “tone up”. Achieving that toned look can absolutely be a confidence booster, but more than how you look in the mirror, a toned look is usually a reflection of healthy habits and an active lifestyle. 

So how can you tone up in 2021? 

Here’s how: 

Emphasize overall fat loss

Unfortunately, we cannot spot reduce fat or tone certain parts of our body at a time. If only our bodies weren’t so keen on surviving and did exactly what we wanted! 

But is it such a bad thing that our bodies can’t do that? 

Not really! As I’ve mentioned before, our bodies are meant to survive. Because of this, our body is constantly trying to keep us in a state of homeostasis (balance), which signals that we are likely to keep surviving in this unpredictable world. When we are not in homeostasis, our body may trigger the flight or fight system and stop our weight loss progress altogether! 

So how can we prevent that from happening? 

We emphasize overall maintainable weight loss! When we look to “tone up”, we are really looking for more muscle definition and a lower body fat percentage. Those two factors (muscle definition and a lower body fat percentage) are the magic recipe to achieving that toned look! And when we build muscle and lower body fat, it tends to provide us with a well-proportioned body frame and a vision of leanness in the mirror.

Unfortunately, if we were to spot reduce or tone up in only certain areas, we would probably notice a bit more than a “toned” look in our arms, belly or legs… we would probably be a bit unbalanced in our walking and our daily movements too! This is because a drastic loss in weight might actually signal a loss of muscle mass, the essential component to moving well and preventing the risk of injury as we age. As a result, toning up is more about the work behind the scenes rather than all that we see in the mirror. This means that overall fat loss and building up lean muscle must be our focus!

By emphasizing overall fat loss, we make sure we retain our muscle mass and increase the likelihood of seeing that “toned” look in the mirror. But fat loss is not the exact same as weight loss. By orienting our goals around fat loss, we make sure we do not lose lean muscle mass…the most important part of earning that toned look! 

Believe it or not, the number on the scale does not equal a toned look. This comes from low fat mass and high lean muscle mass! Because of this, we must protect and fuel our muscles while being conscious of our habits on how we are achieving fat loss. 

So how do we achieve fat loss AND the toned look?

Eat your protein and veggies

Preventing the loss of muscle mass is a key component to toning up in 2021 while also ensuring your body is healthy for your future. Protein definitely helps with this as it provides amino acids, the building blocks to repairing and building up our muscle tissues after a hard workout or a long day at work. 

This doesn’t mean that you must chug protein shakes and eat only chicken and rice every day, but what it does mean is that your daily calorie intake should be rich in lean protein sources!  

Many people say they struggle with incorporating more protein into their day. One of the best ways to solve this is by incorporating a source of protein with each meal or snack you eat! 

Protein doesn’t have to come just from animal sources, it can certainly come from plant based sources and dairy too! Easy to add examples of protein include: cheese, yogurt or cottage cheese, nuts or nut butter, seeds, tofu, tempeh, edamame, and more. By structuring your meals around protein first, you may find that you are more satisfied throughout the day with your hunger and fullness levels as well. A side effect that is certainly helpful with weight loss! 

Though protein powders can certainly be helpful to hit your daily protein goals, they are not necessary to achieve that toned look or increase your lean muscle mass. Reach out to a registered dietitian (uh hm, I may know someone who’d love to talk about this!) to determine if adding a protein powder would be a good option for you. Regardless, there are a number of protein powders out there that contain whey, casein, or are even plant-based. All good options to make sure you get your protein in! 

Secondly, you must eat your veggies! Veggies may not be the first thing to come to mind when emphasizing fat loss or building lean muscle mass, but an increase in vegetable intake is directly associated with both! Research indicates that increasing your daily servings of vegetables contributes to building lean muscle mass… an essential to achieving that toned look! 

Just like protein, adding more veggies into your day doesn’t have to look like eating a salad for every meal, it can be achieved by adding little amounts into each meal and/or snack! Examples of easy to add veggies include snap peas, spinach, broccoli, carrots and/or celery. 

All in all, adding protein and veggies to the recipe in achieving that toned look is certainly the way to go. 

Promote a healthy gut

A toned look is not a bloated look! The changes in our body each day are bound to leave us not feeling or looking toned 24/7. When we have a regulated digestive system with a healthy gut, we can axe the feelings of uncomfortable constipation. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t mean that we won’t ever feel sluggish or bloated, but when we have a healthy gut, those days are limited! A healthy gut is adaptable to different foods because it has a diverse bacteria ecosystem that is capable of promoting good digestion and breakdown. This is as a result of having an abundance of the good type of bacteria in our gut!

So where do we get all that good, diverse bacteria for a healthy gut system? By feeding it! A healthy gut is built from diverse foods that are nutrient rich in vitamins, antioxidants, probiotics and prebiotics. Additionally, managing our stress levels, participating in daily physical activity, and of course getting our sleep, are all known factors of what it takes to build a thriving and healthy gut ecosystem. 

One last consideration to keep in mind when promoting a healthy gut and bacteria ecosystem is that it is all individualized. Your past family and medical history, current medications, and habits all influence your gut health! Speaking to a dietitian would be a great first step to building a healthy gut. 

Regardless, you can start promoting a healthy gut now by incorporating good habits into your life like those mentioned before. 

So… is that it? That’s the secret?

Surprise! That’s not all it takes to tone up in 2021! 

So what’s missing? 

Action+ consistency! 

Achieving that toned look takes work. This doesn’t have to be a struggle though… this can be the result of a simple, individualized lifestyle that works for YOU. 

So how would I figure that out? 

I knew you must be wondering that! The good news is that I’ve already figured out how to achieve that toned look… but it’s up to you to take action to working together to build your personalized roadmap on how to get there! 

So if your ready for 2021 to be your most toned year yet… reach out and apply to work together with me today! There’s no better time than now.  

About Laura
Laura Gaston, RD

Welcome to my website! I’m Laura Gaston, a registered and licensed dietitian. 

First of all, I’m honored you’re spending your valuable time reading my posts or looking into my services. The mission of Busy Gal Nutrition is to make sustainable nutrition for weight loss and general health accessible to the girl on the go. Nutrition doesn’t have to be time-consuming or restrictive, but it does have to be science-backed. I also think it helps if it’s a little fun, too. 

I provide nutrition coaching that includes all of that tailored to your schedule and needs. This is YOUR lifestyle, after all! Continue reading…

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