Fitness is like gardening. If you sow a seed, you don’t come back the next day and don’t start digging in the soil to see if the plant has already begun to grow. The same applies to working out. You can’t do a work out and stand in front of the mirror the next day expecting to see your muscles already growing and fat melting. Trust the process. It is a slow one but it is happening. The change is already happening deep within but you have to wait a few weeks or months to finally see it. But once you do, you will feel proud and accomplished.
Getting toned is something almost everyone aims for. The problem is many people have misconceptions about how this is done. Let me tell you exactly how to go about getting toned.
DIET - I’ll just cover diet quickly. Basically you have to make sure you are eating healthy foods, and counting your calories and macros. When you are trying to gain muscle you need to be in a caloric surplus (eating more than you burn off), and when you are trying to lose fat you need to be in a caloric deficit (eating less than you burn off). As far as macros go, find out what works best for you and stick to that. For some people it’s high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate fat. For others it’s high fat, low carbs, and moderate protein. For some it’s 0 carb, high fat, and moderate protein. Do what works for you. For protein, try to base your diet around lean meats (chicken, fish, turkey, etc.). For carbohydrates, eat mostly complex carbs (whole grains, brown rice, sweet potato, etc.) with some simple carbs only in the morning and after workouts. For fat, keep the saturated fats to a limited amount, and eliminate trans fat altogether. Focus on unsaturated fats (almonds, olive oil, peanut oil, avocados, etc.)
RESISTANCE TRAINING - When it comes to your workouts, you MUST include resistance training. Do something that breaks down muscle in order to build more muscle. The reason for this is simple: if you do not build muscle or at least maintain muscle when trying to lose weight, you will simply lose fat and muscle and become a smaller version of yourself. Aside from resistance training burning calories and giving you the afterburn effect (burns calories after you have done it), it also gives you muscle and definition. There are people who do not want to work out in fear that they will look “bulky” or “big”. The reality is that it takes a lot of hard work to get big, and it does not happen accidently. What gaining muscle will do is give you a toned, shaped look, and will allow you to burn more calories at rest.
CARDIO - Cardio is not just important for strengthening the heart and making you a healthier person. It is also very important for burning calories. Typically it is much easier to burn more calories doing cardio than with just lifting alone. Obviously burning calories will allow you to eat more and will help you get to a caloric deficit. Cardio is best done in the morning on an empty stomach or after a workout, with low to moderate intensity. When doing high intensity cardio such as high intensity interval training, do it after getting a few meals in so that you can put forth your full effort and not make yourself light headed or sick.
This post was a little bit about both losing weight and getting toned, but the point I am trying to make is that you must do all three of the things I highlighted if you want to look good. Do not neglect resistance training as it is your ticket to getting toned. Likewise, do not skip cardio or let your diet go, as you just won’t lose weight that way, and it will have detrimental effects on your overall health. Do all three of these things and you will reach your fitness goals in no time. Hope this helps!