Like clockwork I received my Victoria Secret catalog in the mail today. The model on the front cover was skin and bone. I often look at these women and wonder if they think they are in good shape, or if they think they are healthy for that matter. It’s these “skin and bone” ladies that are setting the example for our younger generation on what healthy should look like. It’s kind of sad if you ask me. And if I’m being really honest, I too can admit that I fell victim to this prior to competing in the fitness industry. I used to think the girls in these types of magazines looked great. Now that fit, muscular, and toned girls surround me, I look at those girls and realize that’s not healthy.

What does healthy look like to you? To me it means being toned, fit, a healthy weight, and physically and mentally balanced.

So many women strive to have the “perfect body” or to be “skinny.” Not me! I strive to be tight, toned, and strong. That is the new sexy in my eyes. I recently read an article that talked about this new sexy, and it talked about how to achieve a healthy, tight, toned, and strong look. Many people think toning means to “tighten up the muscle.” If you think about it, your muscle is already tight, toned, and firm; it’s fat that is actually flabby or lose. Many of these “skinny” girls are not toned or tight, they have very little muscle, and they spend most of their time in the gym simply doing cardio or training with weights doing high reps with little resistance.

So what burns calories and how can you achieve that toned, tight look you desire? Let’s that a look at some of the key factors:

1. Add more muscle. The more muscle you carry, the more curve and shape your body has in all the right places. On top of that, the more muscle you carry, the better your body is able to burn off calories. (Your body burns more calories maintaining muscle mass than it does maintaining fat.) So ladies, stick with the weights, and don’t be afraid to lift heavy with a rep range of 8-12.

2. Get on cardio. Cardio training, in the right amount, will reduce body fat and reveal those sexy curves! Now I’m not talking about three hours per day, but rather getting a good sweat session in each morning. I aim for 45 minutes of high-intensity cardio training daily. I like to change it up and switch between the stair climber, treadmill, and elliptical. If you always do the same workouts, your body becomes used to them and your results will start to wane. So don’t be afraid to change up your routine and step out of your comfort zone!

3. Don’t be afraid to eat. Your diet is key to creating your tight, toned body. You cannot build a lean, muscular body if you don’t feed it. I know many ladies who skip breakfast and starve themselves in order to get skinny. Starving your body of nutrients will only slow your metabolism and is counterproductive to your goals. When you’re busy not eating, your body is busy reserving all it can. Aim for 6-8 smaller meals per day with healthy proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Yes, fats! Contrary to popular belief, fats will not make you fat as long as you choose the right ones. Select fats that are “good” for you such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, and all-natural peanut butter. Try to fit in smaller meals every 3-4 hours and be sure you’re making selections that are in line with your fitness goals. When I think of food, I think of it as fuel for my body. Ask yourself, “What will the food I’m putting in my body do for me?”

4. Supplement right. The key to maintaining energy levels throughout my day is a great multivitamin. I like to start my day with MHP’s Active Fit vitamin. I also incorporate protein shakes, BCAA’s, fish oils, and glutamine into my daily regimen. MHP’s Probolic SR is a great protein powder, with a great taste that can be used for busy Mommy’s on the go.

So ladies, let’s show the skinny girls what fit looks like. Let’s build that lean muscle which gives us curve and shape and reveal our true sexy!

IFBB Pro Sandi Forsythe
Team MHP Athlete
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