What does toning up mean?
It means acquiring a firmer body with more definition. Toning up is great for those who don’t really need to lose lots of weight but would like to get rid of the wobbly, flabby bits. Toning up is about getting a firm body that doesn’t sag and looks great in and out of clothes or in a bikini.
Remember that it is quite hard for women to build muscle, thus you will not get big muscles if you try to tone up. If you see a woman that is bulky and over-muscular she is probably “living at the gym”, spending double the time there to the average male gym goer and is drinking protein shakes with every meal. If you train hard, eat correctly and take the right supplements for women you will tone up and have a beautifully feminine body, think of a body like Jennifer Aniston has.
It is true that weight and resistance training is key for toning up, as is supplementing, but the best way to tone up is to eat the correct way. How lean we are is determined by how much of our muscle definition is visible. The greater amount of fat you have, the less toned your body will appear. This is because even if you have strong muscles, if they are covered in a thick wobbly layer of fat, you will never see them. Therefore you need to get rid of the fat if you want to tone your body. Toning is not something you can do quickly, you need patience and perseverance in order to get your dream body.
We suggest that you track your transformation. Buy a little pocket book or create a digital folder to keep track of your weight, clothing size, and measurements. Measure your waist, hip, thigh and upper arm circumference and take a few pictures too. Write down goals you would like to achieve and look at them regularly. Fill your book or digital folder with healthy recipes, favourite healthy snacks, inspirational websites and exercises you like. A great idea is to also keep track of what you eat. It can be as simple or as descriptive as you want. Document and keep track of your progress, once a week reweigh and measure yourself – seeing the small changes can help motivate you. Also schedule time for exercise in your diary so you commit to it.
- Avoid junk food. That means takeaways, oily foods, food covered in pastry or cheese, cakes, biscuits, chips, crisps, chocolates, sweets, white bread and rolls, fried foods, processed foods and ice cream.
- Eat Low-GI foods. The Glycaemic Load refers to the quantities of the carbohydrate-rich food you eat.
Carbohydrate-rich foods include vegetables, fruit, breads, oats, cereal, pasta, rice, etc. If you want to reduce excess body fat, you should follow an eating plan that is based largely on Low-GI foods. Portion sizes are important in a healthy eating weight loss programme.
- Don’t drink away your goals. Stay away from milkshakes, cappuccinos, lattes, smoothies, sugary drinks, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, and tea or coffee with sugar. Stick to water, herbal teas and decaffeinated coffee. Use xylitol – a Low-GI sugar replacement – and skim or fat-free milk. As a treat, once in a while, you can have a diet fizzy drink like, Sprite Zero or Coke Light.
- Eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. Eating regularly speeds up your metabolism, while starving yourself is not the right way to lose weight. When we don’t eat, our bodies go into conservation mode and store the energy we get from food as fat. Also remember that portion size is very important, make sure you drink a glass of water before a meal and then eat modestly. If you are eating out (keep this to a minimum), you do not need a restaurant size portion; one third is enough and get a green salad to share.
- Start your day with breakfast. It is called break-fast for a reason. You need to break your body’s starvation mode that it has been in while you slept and reawaken it with a nourishing meal. Eating breakfast helps to kick-start your metabolism. Great breakfast options should combine lean or low-fat proteins with Low-GI carbohydrates. Some examples include:
- Eat lean proteins. Proteins keep you full and satisfied and help give your body the tools to build toned muscles and a beautiful body! Great ideas include lean biltong (no fat), eggs, grilled chicken, fish, lean mince, beans, lentils and soya.
- Drink water, more or less 8 glasses of water per day, to keep your body hydrated and to allow your body’s metabolic processes to function optimally.
- Exercise with a partner or friend. Training with someone helps add a social element to your workout. When training with others, the time will go quicker and you are more likely to get off the couch to keep to your workout schedule. If you can afford one, a personal trainer can also be a great help.
- Putting on lean muscle boosts your metabolism as your body, when resting, needs more energy for your muscles than it does for your fat.
- In order to shape your body you should do 30–60 minutes of exercise five times a week.
Weight training is a kind of strength training that helps develop and tone muscles. It uses the force of gravity (in the form of weighted bars, dumbbells and machines that target muscle groups to lift weights) and the fact that muscles are made to fight gravity by contracting and tightening and lifting the weights.
Weight training increases one’s muscle density, which is beneficial, as muscle burns fat. By weight training you can convert your body into a leaner, more toned version of yourself while keeping your womanly shape. Muscle requires more calories for operation, thus lifting weights transforms the body into a more effective, 24-hour calorie burning machine, enhancing your ability to process foods and get rid of stored fat. More lean muscle equals less fat! When you are more toned with more lean muscle, during your daily activities, you will burn far more calories than your former flabby self. Who doesn’t want a toned body? Replace that jelly with a flat tummy and toned thighs.
When choosing the weight to lift, choose a weight that is comfortable but after lifting it 10 times starts to hurt, then do 5–10 more. Repeating an exercise is called ‘reps’, you should aim for 15–20 reps for each exercise. Collectively 15–20 reps is called a set, you should do 3 sets per exercise. In order to achieve the best results make sure that there is no longer than a 20 second gap between exercises in order to keep your heart rate up. After just a few minutes of training you should have a light sweat and be slightly tired.
CARDIO OR AEROBIC TRAINING
You can either do a 60-minute session with 20 minutes cardio and 40 minutes weights or you can alternate days for example:
- Monday: Weights.
- Tuesday: Cardio.
- Wednesday: Weights.
- Thursday: Weights.
- Friday: Cardio.
You should have at least one rest day a week, for example Saturday, leaving the other day as a spare so that if you miss a session earlier in the week because of a function you can train on the spare day.
The smart way to train is to target certain muscle groups and alternate these between days. For example, on Monday do weight training exercises that target your legs and buttocks, on Tuesday do stomach and arms and maybe on Wednesday do cardio and start the cycle again.
Great cardio options include running, swimming, tennis, squash, fast-paced walking, dance classes, kick-boxing, cycling, indoor cycling, step machine, elliptical machine, rowing machine, ski machine, etc.
Combining exercise, healthy eating and supplements is the smart way to lose fat and tone your body. Aiming to tone up using these three aspects will help you to achieve better results than one alone.