The days are heating up, and the number one new client request we get at the moment is to “tone up”.
So today I’m sharing my top tips for toning up and feeling confident in your swimmers this Summer.
First of all, what do we mean when we talk about a toned body?
Mostly we’re referring to a lean body, with a relatively low body fat percentage, where there is visible muscle definition.
When women cite a toned body as one of their goals, this usually means they want to “tighten up” by reducing their body fat and increasing some muscle mass without the bulk. This is really the difference between losing weight with diet alone and losing weight with diet and exercise.
Men want to build muscle and reduce their body fat so that they have visible chest, arm and ab definition.
You can achieve the skinny look and lose weight by dieting, but you cannot achieve a toned look with diet alone. So our goals in being toned are twofold: build muscle, and reduce body fat so you can actually see the definition of those muscles.
Here are my top tips for achieving that look that we all want this Summer. And the added benefit of a toned body is a stronger, fitter, healthier body with less aches and pains.
- Eat enough of the right foods. That’s three balanced meals a day using our plate formula: half a plate of plants, fist size portion of whole food carbs, palm size portion of protein and a sprinkling of healthy fats. When planning your meals, prioritise your nutrients in this order: first plant foods, then protein, healthy fats and finally carbohydrates.
- Eat the right kind of carbs. When you’re in fat loss mode, the right carbohydrates are key. Stick to sweet potato, butternut pumpkin, brown rice and quinoa.
- Hit the HIIT. High intensity interval training is the ultimate fat burning cardio workout. While you’re actively working on decreasing your body fat percentage I would aim for 2 sessions of at least 20 minutes of HIIT a week and complete up to 4 aerobic sessions, such as brisk walking, jogging, cycling, cross trainer, rowing or airdyne bike.
- Forget spot targeting. Stick to strength exercises that use major muscle groups and keep your body moving. Endless ab crunches won’t give you abs if you don’t deal with the fat that is covering them.
- Increase your metabolism in the gym. We use a technique called metabolic conditioning to ensure you’re getting the most bang for back out of your time in the gym. We program our semi-private and 1-on-1 personal training sessions to optimise caloric burn and strengthening. Be mindful, like HIIT, metabolic conditioning requires you to work at high intensities for prolonged periods. If you’re feeling burnt out by life, work and stress, then combine your hypertrophy and strength workouts with lower intensity work to avoid adrenal fatigue caused by continuous cortisol stimulation.
- Watch your stress. Stress in itself isn’t bad. Our bodies are designed for stress levels to rise and fall so that we can perform at our best when we need to without being in a constantly heightened state. But when your body is constantly stressed and your cortisol levels are going crazy, your body holds onto fat, particularly around your midsection. Not great if you’re trying to feel good in your swimmers. Prioritise periods of relaxation in your day and opt out of the go-go-go lifestyle.
- Strength train properly. Women often think that because they want to tone up they should just do high repetitions of a light weight, fearing heavier weights as they don’t want to bulky. Growing a muscle is growing a muscle is growing a muscle! In order to build muscle you need to lift weights and push yourself to your limits while still maintaining form. Another reason why it’s important to strength train under the guidance of a trainer to do it safety.
- Cut the crap. This is where a food diary comes in handy. Lots of us are eating little bits of junk here and there without even noticing. If you want to tone up this Summer, you need to stick to whole real foods. Plenty of leafy greens and protein should form the basis of your meals. No processed stuff while you’re in fat loss mode. Our 3 day Spring Reset is a great place to start if you haven’t tried it.
- Sleep. I know, so boring, but get enough of it. My top tip here is to turn off all screens in your bedroom.