Acquiring muscle tone requires weight lifting or other strength training. Muscle weighs more than fat, so toning without weight loss may seem paradoxical at first. However, if you also manage your diet, it is possible to tone your muscles without losing weight. By eating a nutritious diet with plenty of protein-containing foods and making sure you don’t create a calorie deficit in your diet, you can achieve your goal.
Tone your muscles and build strength with exercises that don’t require equipment. Such exercises include push-ups, pull-ups, crunches, reverse crunches, planks, side planks, chest expanders, lunges and squats. These use your body weight to target your arms, legs, chest and core.
Use free weights or everyday items that can substitute as free weights, such as water bottles or canned goods. Perform biceps curls, rows, flies, triceps kickbacks and extensions. Use ankle weights to perform leg lifts.
Build endurance and tone by using lighter weights with more repetitions, the American Council on Exercise suggests. Build strength by using heavier weights with fewer repetitions, though this may add to your body weight if you don’t manage your diet.
Perform enough repetitions of non-weight exercises or use weights heavy enough to cause minor muscle fatigue at the end of each exercise, the Nutrition Information and Resource Center at Penn State University recommends. Give your muscles time to recover by waiting at least 24 hours before exercising them again.
Manage your diet. Multiply your weight by 15 to determine the approximate number of calories needed to maintain your current weight, according to Harvard Health. Add more healthy calories to your diet to make up for the calories you burn during exercise. Eat a healthy diet and include plenty of protein for your muscles.
Items you will need
- ✓ Free weights or household items
- Exercise, including muscle strengthening, can help rid you of abdominal fat that might lead to heart disease, diabetes and other unhealthy conditions. Even if you are lean, you may harbor invisible, dangerous belly fat between your abdominal organs, especially if you have maintained your weight through diet rather than exercise.
- Though you should exercise your muscles to the point of minor fatigue, weights that are too heavy can cause bad form and injury. Consult a medical professional before beginning an exercise program, and stop exercising immediately if you feel nauseated or faint, or if you feel pain.
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.