Sloane Davis was always healthy, but had always been frustrated because no matter how hard she tried (she regularly took exercise classes), she couldn’t get the toned tummy she always wanted.
“I really wanted to see my abs — as silly as that sounds — and I was always told that abs were made in the kitchen, so I thought that by getting leaner and leaner I would be able to see them,” the New Yorker explained to People.
By dieting, Davis lost weight but still wasn’t getting the results she wanted, so she sought out professional advice — at age 40, no less.
The mom of two was told that she was “skinny fat”, and that she actually needed to eat more to build muscle. She actually wasn’t eating enough carbs to get the muscle tone she wanted.
‘People don’t need to starve themselves in order to lose weight’
“I learned that carbs fuel your energy and your workouts, and if you don’t have enough you can’t fuel a heavy workout,” she said. “I learned that food is fuel. Instead of always trying to negate what we eat, I learned to use it to fuel a heavy workout.”
She also added weight lifting to her workout, and over time, her body began to change.
“Muscle takes up less space in your body, so you’re able to become much leaner, smaller and tighter all around,” Davis explained. “Muscle burns more energy while resting—the more muscle you have in your body, the more energy you’re burning. The only way to truly transform your body is by lifting weights.”
Soon, people began to take notice of her transformation, and so Davis went back to school to get a certification on nutrition and personal training. She started her fitness business Pancakes and Push-ups on social media, and now, after a year and a half, she has over 200 clients.
Davis tells her clients that they are never too old to get fit, or to start lifting weights. She also teaches her clients the importance of eating well, not less.
“People don’t need to starve themselves in order to lose weight,” she explained. “When you make healthier choices, there’s more volume in the food. You’re able if you want that half a cup of ice cream at the end of the day. There’s no foods that are off limits, so there’s no reason to have an unhealthy relationship with food.”
As Davis pointed out, gaining muscle isn’t about eating less, but eating right. Here’s a list of foods that will help you gain muscle mass, from Breaking Muscle and Muscle and Fitness.
1. Lean meat
Lean beef, skinless chicken, and pork chops (without the fat) should be staples of your diet if you want to build muscles. These are excellent sources of protein, and are tasty too!
2. Cottage cheese
You might not know that cottage cheese is rich in casein protein, which is a slow-digesting protein perfect for muscle maintenance. It’s also rich in vitamin B12, calcium, and other nutrients.
Eggs have protein, amino acids, choline, good fat, vitamin D, and are also pretty affordable! You can cook them in lots of different ways to keep things interesting.
Almonds are full of protein and fiber, plus healthy fasts that help with joint health, brain functions, and energy levels.
Fish is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids. What makes salmon so special? It’s a great source of healthy fat, which is essential for muscle growth.
6. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes have complex carbohydrates, and are rich in vitamins. They also contain fiber and are pretty filling.
READ: Are you eating the right snacks for your body type?