Workout smarter, not harder to achieve long lasting results and a body you love.
“I want to get toned” is one of the most popular goals we hear from FITNESS PROJECT members (and certainly an everlasting hot topic in search queries online).
How about getting started right away, in time for Halloween – and beyond?! If you truly stick to the plan you will see results, get a sense of accomplishment and control over how you feel and how you look. It’s a win-win.
For some, what they really want is to lose weight, while others actually want to build muscle and then of course, there are those who want both. As you have probably experienced yourself, “getting toned” can feel confusing because it’s a vague fitness goal — it lacks clarity, which leads you to being inconsistent in your workouts, distracted by diet trends and left with minimal progress.
We need clarity on where we’re going if we want to achieve long lasting results.
So for the sake of specificity (and simplicity), let’s agree that “getting toned” means a mix of both lowering body fat and increasing muscle mass to achieve a more athletic look. It’s not about making drastic overnight changes, but rather, toning is about strengthening and shaping your whole body in a healthy and sustainable way. And it feels and looks different for everybody and every body!
And as fitness professionals who’ve been in the business for so many years, we’ve mastered the methods to do this.
Ready to get toned and have your results last? Here are ten key tips to set you up for success:
1. Create a plan (part one)
We all have different schedules, responsibilities and habits. Before breaking a sweat, carve out 30 minutes or so to add working out, sleep times, grocery shopping and meal prepping to your calendar. If you feel like you don’t have any time, consider auditing your current routines to see how you can improve your time management.
A good place to start is three to four 45-minute sessions per seven-day week with groceries and meal prepping on Sundays. For example:
- Monday: Workout
- Wednesday: Workout
- Friday: Workout
- Sunday: Grocery shopping and meal prepping
- Weekdays: Sleep by 10pm, Wake up by 6am
2. Create a plan (part two)
Now that you know when you’ll be working out, sleeping and preparing meals, you can add in what you’ll be doing for each time slot.
To tone your body, a mix of strength training and cardio exercises work best. An easy way to divide things up is to dedicate each workout to a specific type of exercise or a muscle group. For example, you could do:
- Monday: Strength training (lower body)
- Wednesday: Strength training (full body)
- Friday: Strength training (upper body)
- Weekends: Cardio (i.e. spin class)
From here, you can list out five to seven exercises for each strength training day. You need to go heavy enough that your muscles experience hypertrophy (check out these 10 Tips to Build Muscle), but light enough that you can complete 10-12 reps and 3-4 sets per exercise with proper form. We’re here to help with this: https://fitnessproject.us/personal-trainer
3. Prioritize sleep
While working on your fitness means adding more to your schedule, it should not come at the expense of sleep or other healthy habits. Consistent rest is vital for your body to recover and repair muscle tissue.
If you don’t already, start thinking about sleep as part of your fitness routine. A good night’s rest will support your progress, whereas sleep deprivation stunts it.
Doing activities that relax your mind and body before bed (like reading or stretching) as well as creating a habit of leaving your phone out of sight can significantly help set you up for a good sleep!
4. Eat balanced meals
Food is your fuel. If you want to tone your body, you need to eat well. Focusing on creating balanced meals with sufficient protein, healthy carbohydrates and fats will help you energize your body pre-workout and rebuild post-workout.
5. Ditch processed foods
As you get better at planning your meals, opt for whole foods as much as possible. For example, buy a bag of potatoes instead of frozen fries. You’ll get infinitely more nutritional value that your body can benefit from.
6. Reduce sugar
This one can feel particularly challenging depending on your current sugar intake and any emotions you might have around ‘treats’.
The truth of the matter is: sugar is a roadblock to your body toning success!
7. Stay hydrated
Most people don’t drink enough water. Especially now that you’re adding more sweat time into your routine, you need to replenish your system.
Drinking water is not hard, remembering to drink enough water is the challenge. Creating a habit around hydration is the key to actually doing it. Give yourself a measurable goal of about 2.5 – 3.5 liters per day (11–15 cups) and plan for it (reference: mayoclinic.org). For example, “I will drink X when I first wake up and refill X bottle three times per day.”
8. Focus on form
Following a workout routine, improving your diet and prioritizing your sleep can get you visible results in as little as 2-3 weeks, however… remember you’re in it for the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
To tone your body and be in optimal shape, you need to continue exercising, eating and sleeping well. If you fall out of your routine (as we all do from time to time), remember you haven’t magically erased all of your previous progress. But the sooner you get yourself back on track, the easier it will be to embrace your habits again and to feel your best.
9. Take group fitness classes
Integrating classes into your plan can give you a greater sense of accountability when it comes to working out. Classes like Body Pump, FP50, LM CORE are particularly beneficial for muscle toning because they incorporate both strength and cardio exercises.
Plus, on days where you’re not feeling overly motivated, group classes are an amazing way to revive that drive and hold you accountable.
10. Invest in coaching
Speaking of accountability, investing in a coach is an excellent way to do that (and so much more). From total beginners to seasoned athletes, everyone can reap the rewards of having expert guidance and support. Studio Memberships at FITNESS PROJECT provide members access to trainers regularly in studio or team training classes where you benefit from lots of support and accountability, as well as the opportunity to get support from members of your fitness community.
Book a free consultation and 3D body assessment with a coach or instructor today: https://fitnessproject.us/personal-trainer
You can also benefit by signing up for one of our Fitness Clinics at your club!
While this might seem like an exhaustive list (upon your first look), remember that you don’t have to do everything at once. Start with number one and grow from there. You are capable.