(Updated September 1st 2021)
How do I tone up? This is a common question asked by gym members and getting great shape, and toned up, can lead to improved self-confidence and help you look your best.
Of course, there is another important reason to workout and tone your body: it makes you feel great, inside and out. Good mental health is one of the benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle, and it is just as important as having good physical health.
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How To Tone Up
When it comes to toning up, the “trick” to toning up fast is actually quite straightforward. You want to do each of the following three things consistently:
- Resistance training to tone the muscles
- Regular cardiovascular exercise for overall health, but also fat loss
- Maintain a healthy diet to reduce body fat and reveal those lovely muscles! (read our guide to losing weight without crash dieting)
To kick-start your journey to a slimmer, toned you, here are some tips on general eating and lifestyle to get you going in the right direction:
Diet & Lifestyle
Increase fruit and vegetable intake
Eat more fruits and vegetables than you normally would. You may have already heard that eating veggies and fruits will make your heart healthy. These two provide you with all the essential vitamins and nutrients. Fruits and veggies aid in digestion without the guilt. Including these two in each meal will help you tone up faster.
Eat lean proteins, healthy fat and whole grains
Eating the right foods can help with muscle growth and repair; which helps with the formation of nice, lean muscle (the type that gives you that nice shapely, toned look).
A balanced diet will also ensure your body the nutrients and vitamins it needs to keep your overall health in top shape and fuel your workouts.
Depriving your body of these healthy food choices will prevent your muscles from shaping up, making toning harder to achieve.
Drink MORE water
Staying well-hydrated will allow your body to flush away the toxins and keep you energised. It will also help hydrate and tighten your skin – which is never a bad thing! Aim to drink at least two litres of water a day, and more when you sweat a lot such as days when you have exercises.
The good thing about water is when you drink a glass of water, it gives you stomach a temporary feeling of fullness.
So water is actually a great way to drag out the time between meals. Next time you feel like grabbing a snack, down a glass of water, wait 15 minutes and take notice of how you’re feeling. You’ll likely be able to go another 15-45 minutes without getting that big urge to eat again!
CUT DOWN THE LIQUID CALORIES
The “Australian-way” typically involves consuming alcohol. Many people drink alcohol in some form multiple days per week. Avoiding alcohol where possible can really be a big calorie saver. Most standard drinks are high in calories. Start with trimming back. And then see how you go with cutting alcohol out for longer periods of weeks.
Your body secretes a type of hormone that will cause weight gain and muscle loss when you are stressed out. Do your best to de-stress by getting plenty of sleep, slowing down, and spending more time to get some fresh air. Exercising is also highly recommended as it triggers your body to release endorphins, which counter the stress hormones.
Best Toning Exercises
Chest Toning Exercise: The Humble pushup
Want to tone the chest area? Well, you can’t go past the humble push up. The great thing about push up sis that you don’t need any equipment at all, and anyone can do them! If you struggle to press one push up on your toes, start on your knees. As your muscles get better at doing pushes, you can gradually length yourself out and eventually start doing them on your knees.
Basic Routine: Do 5-10 pushups on your knees x 3 sets
Advance Routine: Aim for 15-25 pushups on your toes x 3 sets
Related Article: 6 Steps To Amazing, Toned Arms
Do the side reach exercise
The side reach exercise works your obliques, which are the muscles down the side of your belly (the often-ticklish part!). To do it, lay on your right side with your legs stacked.
Your right arm should be on the ground, while the left stays on top of the left leg.
Maintaining a tight core, reach down using your left hand, like you are to touch the ankle. Feel the contraction along the side as you perform the movement. Once you have the movement sorted, you can perform it like in the picture above where you’re also bringing your legs up as you squeeze down!
Basic Routine: Do 5-10 each side x 3 sets
Advance Routine: Aim for 15-20 each side x 3 sets
Tone the legs with plie squats
The plie squats target the quads, glutes, and inner thighs. These are the common problem areas of women. To do it, stand with your feet wider than your shoulders.
Your toes must be turned out as you vertically hold light dumbbells or any sort of weight (it can be a 2 litre milk even!) in front of your thighs. Maintaining a tight core, bend your knees up to 90 degrees, and then push yourself up to the start.
Basic Routine: 5-10 repetitions x 3 sets
Advanced Routine: 15-20 repetitions x 3 sets
ThigH TONING EXERCISE: lunges OR STEPUPS
Both are great options for thigh, hamstring and bum toning!
The main thing to keep in mind with a lunge is that when you step out, you want to step out, then pause, then drop directly down towards the ground. This reduces strain on the knee whereas is you start to lower your body whilst you’re still moving forward in the step, the force of the movement can really start to place strain on your front knee. Slow and steady wins the race!
Basic Routine: Do 5-10 lunges each leg x 3 sets
Advance Routine: Aim for 15-20 lunges each leg x 3 sets
Feel like a change up? Try Reverse Lunges!
The reverse lunge targets the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a pair of light dumbbells. Your arms must be at your sides, and the palms inward. Step one foot back, lunge, and then get back to the starting position. Perform 5-15 repetitions before switching legs. Try holding heavier dumbbells to add challenge.
See Also: How To Tone Your Butt
Above all else, regular exercise, including specific toning exercises is the best way to tone up.
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Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to tone up?
The time it takes to notice toning results from an exercise programme depends on factors like individual fitness levels, exercise intensity, and consistency. Generally, you may see improvements in 4-6 weeks with a dedicated approach.
how to tone up without bulking up?
To tone up without bulking up, focus on a combination of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercises and low-weight, high-repetition strength training. Aim for exercises that engage multiple muscle groups, and incorporate a balanced, protein-rich diet to support muscle development without adding excessive bulk.
How to tone up without losing weight?
To tone up without losing weight, concentrate on a well-rounded exercise routine that combines both cardiovascular activities and strength training. Maintain a calorie intake that matches your energy expenditure to prevent weight loss, and ensure your diet includes sufficient protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle development and overall health.
How to tone up after weight loss?
To tone up after weight loss, implement a consistent exercise regimen that combines cardiovascular activities, such as swimming or brisk walking, with strength training exercises targeting major muscle groups.
Aim for at least two strength training sessions per week, focusing on compound exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups. Additionally, consume a well-balanced diet rich in lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats to support muscle growth and recovery.
Remember that patience and consistency are key, as toning up may take several weeks to become noticeable.
Can’t wait to help you towards a fitter, healthier and more toned, you!
When starting any new diet or nutritional program, we recommend that you seek the advice and support of a qualified professional to ensure that it is suitable for you and your individual circumstances.