If we had a pound for every time we heard one of our girlfriends say ‘I want to tone up’ then we would be mega rich. We’ve even said it ourselves, but then fail to do anything about it. Enough. To help make the dream of toning up become a reality, with the help of Sian Toal, a Ilu Fitwear Ambassador and personal trainer specialising in body transformations, we’ve put together 10 ideal secrets for toning up. Thank us later!
You can’t ‘tone’ fat, only muscle will get firmer and more shapely if you resistance train. This one is not just for the boys or your resident bodybuilders. Weight training is how we build the shape we want. Work at your own level but with challenging weights, don’t be scared of the dumbbells, they won’t bite but they will help you on the road to a hot firm body. There are also many other benefits such as, boosted metabolism, reduced body fat, increased bone density and strength, improved posture, improved mobility and balance, improved sleep, increased self esteem, do I need to go on…..?
Address your nutrition
To look ‘toned’ and see nice muscle definition, body fat needs to be at a healthy level to be able to see your hard work. Building muscles and then eating too much and gaining body fat will make you grow in a way you probably don’t want. This is a three pronged attack, weight training, a cardio plan and the right nutrition.
EAT! Fuel your muscles with protein
Again, not just for the bodybuilders. Aim to consume protein at each meal from sources such as lean meats, red meat, eggs and egg whites, whey protein, fish, legumes, nuts and dairy. The Internet has hundreds of recipes and there are some fantastic health cooking books out there for inspiration. Carbs are not the devil either….too much of anything can cause weight gain. Look at balancing out your meals and you know the drill: cut back on sugary foods, processed foods, alcohol, fizzy drinks and go for wholesome, fresh natural foods.
NO FAD DIETS
I repeat NO FAD DIETS. You cannot shortcut your way to your results without consequences. Which is usually a few weeks of feeling miserable, with no energy and biting off peoples heads if they get near you with anything containing sugar…then putting all the weight back on after (and then some more on top). Be consistent, protein, fats and carbohydrates spread out over 3 meals and two snacks is a great place to start.
Follow a plan
It helps you to not waste your workout time and enables you to see your progress over time. Think shorter more intense sessions and build up to 3-4 sessions per week. Don’t chain yourself to the treadmill or move home into the gym.
Join a Weight based resistance class
Taking part in a class will help you to learn something new and also boosts motivation. Try Body Pump, Boxing, Circuit Training or perhaps a Crossfit class.
Learn how to lift properly
If you are unsure enlist the help of a Personal Trainer or Fitness Professional to help your learn good technique and intensity. Some trainers run Buddy sessions where you can share the time with a friend, which can help in the long run if you decide to train together.
Track your progress!
Use photographs, selfies, check how your clothing fits and perhaps look at having your Body Fat levels measured. This will again help you keep motivated and see your hard work paying off. Sometimes you can’t see the progress yourself. You see your body everyday. So approach this intelligently. For example, you can drop inches in measurements, start to see and feel the body toning up but the scales can stay the same! This happens a lot when body fat comes down and muscle mass increases.
Supplements are a big business and it’s quite easy to end up buying everything in the shop on the advice of a shop assistant trying to hit their commission that day. I believe in sticking to the basics. A good multivitamin with magnesium and whey protein shakes for after training and those on the go snacks. The rest I’d spend on good food to get your nutrients from.
Setting yourself an unrealistic target of training twice a day, everyday will usually leave you exhausted, grumpy and not getting very far. Often you can end up going backwards if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Leave that to the professionals (even they have scheduled rest). Your body needs rest to allow the muscles to recover and grow. Maybe book yourself a rewarding massage, have a healthy social life, see friends and family, tell them about your healthy lifestyle mission and get them on board. Maybe try an outdoor activity instead of the usual pub trip. If you are happy and enjoying life you are more likely to achieve the goals you set.
Brought to you by ILU FITWEAR