By Teri Nitsopoulos
1. Clean up your diet. Looking “toned” is simply a function of muscular development and optimized body fat levels. You can’t lose body fat with a crappy diet, so clean up your diet! Focus on lean proteins and vegetables at every meal and watch your carb intake. Don’t eat too much. It isn’t much more complicated than that.
2. Lift weights at least 2x per week, 3-4 days a week of weight training is ideal. Focus on multi-joint movements, preferably with free weights. Lift “heavy” for no more than 10 reps per set. Things like squats and lunges for the lower body and overhead presses, rows and push ups for the upper body. Use single joint/isolation exercises and machines only for parts of your body you want to pay a little extra attention to, and do so AFTER your squats, lunges and presses, etc.
3. Do a bit of cardio, not too much. Keep it to under one hour per workout day. If you’re doing more than this, you need to re-examine your eating. You cannot out-train a poor diet. Personally, I start out clients with 15 – 20 minutes of cardio and I don’t increase it unless we stop getting results. I never prescribe more than 30 minutes a day. If we hit a plateau, we re-examine the diet and change up the cardio protocol. Use cardio as a tool for weight loss wisely. More is not “more.”
These three tips should be the foundation of any training and nutrition plan. Beyond this, your individual goals, preferences, genetics and athletic background need to be considered in order to customize a plan to help get you to your best.