It's no secret that our approach to health and how we view our bodies is a contentious subject at the moment, however, the body positivity movement has done a lot to normalize and improve how we view ourselves and have helped to break down the notion that our self-esteem should rely too much on fitting into a certain size of clothing.
That being said, many people still set themselves goals to become thinner or to tone up purely because this is a body type or lifestyle choice that suits them.
While toning up can provide you with a lot of positives for both body and mind, it's something that has been exploited by businesses in various industries to push fads of all kinds, from diet pills to diet shakes and all sorts of dubious programs which promise amazing results, but often only results in you spending a lot of money on products that don’t actually provide that much of a benefit.
Many people overcomplicate the process of toning up or getting into slightly better shape when it's actually very simple, even if you’re someone with no background in sports and very little interest in health and fitness.
The truth is, toning up involves both losing fat and building muscle.
For women in particular, however, toning up is a process surrounded by unhealthy myths and pseudoscience that can often do more harm than good.
In this guide we’re going to look at how to tone your body in a healthy and constructive manner, providing you with tips to lose a little weight and improve your lifestyle without making yourself miserable or living on a diet of green tea and lettuce.
What Is Toning?
Toning is something that can mean a lot of different things depending on who you ask, but broadly speaking it refers to the process of losing body fat and exposing/building muscle.
The process of toning is really just getting in shape, and the process of getting in shape is often treated differently for women than men, but the actual processes are almost the exact same.
We’re all flesh and blood, as it happens!
If you want to get a toned physique, you need to combine a few key things, which we’re going to look at in the next section, and doing so will yield much more positive and long-lasting results than simply dieting, cutting calories, or living off shakes.
How To Tone Your Body - The Best Tips
Start Working Out!
Yes, whether you like it or not, toning up will mean working out.
The good thing is, there’s no end to the different types of working out you can do to support you in toning up, and while you may want to focus on certain exercises or sports if you have particular goals in mind, almost any form of exercise will go a long way to helping you tone your body.
You could try anything from ice skating to dancing or tennis, and all of these will have huge benefits for your body and mind.
However, if you’re seeking fast results and a more structured and dramatic transformation, the number one most effective exercise you can do for toning is weight lifting.
Unfortunately, many women have the wrong idea about weight lifting and have been sold the lie that weight lifting is a masculine activity and will cause you to take on a more masculine shape.
This falsehood is something that prevents many women from discovering the huge health benefits of weight lifting, particularly for getting in shape.
Women that do become very muscular and built are often on a specific routine and diet that promotes muscle growth and building mass, and it takes years to develop anything close to what may be considered ‘masculine’, although that idea itself is problematic.
The truth is, 6 to 12 months of weight training 3 or 4 times a week, focusing on a push, pull legs routine or other basic weight training workouts will yield amazing results in terms of fat loss and muscle definition, exposing your abs, toning your arms as well as building stronger muscles and bones.
Reevaluate Your Diet
While toning up does require a reevaluation of your diet, it doesn’t mean totally throwing away all the food you love and living off slimming shakes and salad.
Getting toned is all about balance and sticking to a plan, as well as identifying key aspects of your plan such as how quickly you want to see results, and how long-lasting you want your results to be.
The best way to complete a transformation and get toned is to combine a healthy, balanced diet filled with the right nutrition, alongside a structured and enjoyable workout plan that will help you to burn off fat in the areas you don’t want it, exposing the muscles you’ll be developing alongside this process.
Focusing on being in a calorie deficit is key to losing weight, and it's a simple maths problem that with some discipline, will allow you to start burning off body fat and exposing a little more muscle that’s lurking underneath.
Being in a calorie deficit doesn’t mean you need to stop eating however.
Being only a few hundred calories under your daily recommended calorie intake can make a huge difference, especially while working out alongside this.
Eating well during this process will also speed up your muscular development and keep you motivated and working hard.
Focus on eating filling foods such as wholemeal carbohydrates as well as good non-saturated fats and of course a lot of protein to support muscle growth and recovery.
The great thing about a protein-heavy diet is that it’s much more filling than processed foods and carbohydrates, and this will help kill cravings.
You can also get a lot of protein from healthy low fat and nonmeat sources such as beans and nuts, meaning vegetarians and vegans can also see great benefits.
While weight lifting or even simple callisthenics (bodyweight exercises such as squats, press-ups, and sit-ups) should be one of your core workouts for getting toned, incorporating cardiovascular exercise is also really important to improve your health and support overall even weight loss.
Even just walking a little more can be a huge help and has a low impact on your body, but swimming is also a good alternative also if you’d like to do something different.
The number one thing stopping people from getting toned is a lack of discipline and commitment.
It isn’t easy to get toned, and requires a lot of effort, even when you’ve hit your goals, and half measures will often leave you frustrated with your progress.
Make a plan, and stick to it!