Many women worry that toning their muscles will cause them to lose weight. If a woman is slim, she may wish to create muscle definition but not at the cost of weight-loss. The key is to eat and exercise right.
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Before you begin your muscle-building training program, look at your diet and make sure you are including the right nutrients and right number of calories. Check that your diet includes plenty of high protein foods and foods low in saturated fat, along with a healthy amount of fresh fruit and vegetables every day. It is a good idea to eat regularly to keep your metabolism working at a high level, as this also nourishes your muscles. If you eat right, you will be able to maintain your weight as you tone your muscles. Remember that as you build muscle you lose fat and build muscle definition. If you lose muscle, you lose weight.
The most effective way to tone your muscles is through a program of weight training. This will help you to build definition and improve the shape of your muscles, resulting in a better muscle tone. Consult a fitness professional at your local gym to help you put together a weight training program specific to your needs and goals. Ideally, your program should include three to four sessions of 30 to 45 minutes a week. Work with weights that you can lift with some effort, but not ones that are so difficult that they cause any pain or discomfort. Do 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise, and three sets of each. For your arms, upper back and shoulders, do sets of lifts for your triceps, bicep curls and shoulder press exercises. For legs, bottom and hips, do sets of squats and lunges, with the weights in your hands.
Balance your good diet and weight training program with cardiovascular exercise. For best results, do a half-hour session of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise after each weight training session. The theory is that after working with weights, your body is ready to burn fat, which is vital in the process of building muscle. Run or jog on the treadmill, cycle on the stationary bicycles, go on the elliptical trainer or stair-climber machine, or skip rope for half an hour. Choose what you like to do best, and make sure that your heart rate increases while you work out. Add to this a few sets of sit-ups, press-ups, crunches and planks to build abdominal muscle.
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