Want to firm up your arms, legs, abs or bum? Then you will need to focus on techniques and exercises which are effective at toning your body.
Being toned basically means being lean. It refers to a noticeable definition of your muscles, rather than having particularly big, bulky muscles. People who have a low body fat percentage, but are still strong, usually look very toned.
Typically associated as a fitness goal for women rather than men, it requires dedication to a healthy lifestyle, involving a balanced diet and regular exercise. Failing to combine the two will make it much harder to 'sculpt' your body.
You cannot change the shape or length of your muscles, you can simply affect their size and the amount of fat covering them.
How to get toned
Essentially, toning means developing your muscles whilst reducing your overall body fat percentage. Therefore you need to train up your muscles and burn as much excess fat as possible, for the best results.
When people exercise, it burns fat from the entire body. It is impossible to burn fat away from specific areas.
Don't fall into the trap of believing that in order to get toned abs, you need to just complete many sit ups and crunches, and it will blast away your abdominal fat. Instead, focus on exercising your whole body, which will eventually lead to you being toned all over.
There is no one 'toning exercise'. You quite simply need to do a lot of physical activity so that you shed fat around your whole body and build up your muscles.
Circuit training is an effective choice of fitness training if you want to get toned, due to it incorporating a mixture of aerobic activity and strength training, at a tough intensity.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is another good method for getting toned, but it is only suitable for people who have a high fitness level.
In terms of weight training, you should look to complete 10 to 12 reps in each set, with a weight you find difficult - but not impossible - to lift, with good form throughout.
There are many aerobic exercises you could choose to do. The focus is mainly for you to be even more physically active so you burn fat. It is recommended to participate in a sport or training type that you enjoy, because this makes it easier to motivate yourself.
Spending around an hour exercising aerobically, two or three days a week, will help you tone your body as well as giving you a mental boost.
Diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it makes a huge difference when it comes to shaping and improving your body.
Eating too much sugar and processed food will make it harder to see the results of your training. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and rich sources of protein, such as fish and chicken, where possible.
If you want to get toned, you need to eat healthily to lose body fat, whilst providing your muscles with the right materials to grow. For more information about diet plans and healthy eating, check out our diet section.