Tone & Shape
Not everyone wants to pack on slabs of muscle, some people simply want to shape and tone what they already have.
To do this you need to address two things. Nutrition that will reduce unwanted fat and prevent excess fat storage, along with exercise to firm up existing muscle and add new muscle.
When we talk about adding new muscle, we do not mean 'bodybuilding' necessarily, but adding small amounts of muscle where needed, to enhance your shape.
For instance, maybe you would like larger leg muscles and a little extra on your arms and shoulders to balance out your physique and this is achievable by using selective exercises, along with the right diet.
The secret to a firm, toned body, is to eat enough calories from the right foods to fuel muscle growth, without consuming too many and accumulating unwanted body fat.
The right balance of quality protein, complex-carbohydrates and the good fats, is essential to ensure that your body tones existing muscle along with adding new muscle where needed, while at the same time burning off unwanted fat. Read our Build Lean Muscle guide by clicking here
A protein rich diet will feed existing muscle and help to form new muscle as it's made up of Amino Acids, which are the building blocks of muscle.
Protein also helps prevent fat storage, keeping you looking toned, as it makes you feel fuller for longer due to it taking your body longer to digest. This longer digestion time also creates "thermogenesis", an increase in body temperature and metabolic rate, due to using more calories. This also helps to keep you toned by helping to increase fat burning and prevent fat storage.
This longer digestion time also uses more calories and raises your core body temperature and metabolic rate, known as "thermogenesis", helping to increase fat burning and prevent fat storage.
Complex carbohydrates are also needed as they burn slowly keeping your blood sugar levels constant, reducing both fat storage and fatigue, while supplying quality fuel for your muscles.
The 'good' fats such as Omega 3 EFAs are essential as they help to trigger the genes responsible for fat burning.
Aim for around 8 glasses of water a day, as it's very important to keep your body hydrated at all times if you you want to build lean muscle. Not only that but if you are dehydrated your workouts will suffer. You'll also need more water for your liver and kidneys to process the extra protein you'll be consuming.
To tone and shape your body the above dietary guide will offer serious help. To speed up your progress you may also wish to consider some of the latest supplements designed to help you reach your goals.
If you consider yourself overweight, you may want to try a fat burner or a fat blocker. Fat burners do exactly that, burn extra fat, usually by raising your metabolism. Fat blockers bind with a certain percentage of the fat you eat and remove it from your system before it has a chance to be digested and stored as body fat.
To build extra muscle, even small amounts, you need quality protein. If you can't get enough from your normal diet, or find it difficult to eat more protein rich meals, a Whey protein supplement can be very useful.
Whey protein is very easily absorbed by your body and can be added to your diet in the form of easy to drink shakes.
Below we've listed various other supplements to help your goal of building lean muscle.
A mixture of resistance training (weights), along with aerobic activity is needed to tone and shape your body.
With any exercise, build up gently and workout twice per week, for the first few weeks, building up to 3 times per week. Always have at least one day between workouts to ensure your muscles and nervous system recuperates.
You do not have to lift extremely heavy weights to tone and shape. Unless of course you want to 'shape' into someone with much larger muscles. However, adding a little muscle to your frame is a great idea, as it will make you look much fitter and improve your posture as well as your strength obviously.
Cardiovascular exercise is important to help burn off stored fat, along with preventing your body from storing extra unwanted fat. Running, cycling and swimming are great cardio activities, but variety is the spice of life and by changing and trying different exercises, you're less likely to get bored and much more likely to continue to reach your goals.
Everyone is different and you'll need to find out what's right for you.
Remember to always warm-up before you begin your actual workout. Warm-ups should be just enough to get the blood flowing through your muscles. Don't over do it or you'll lose the energy needed to complete your workout.
Only lift weights that match your current level of fitness, the last thing you want is an injury that will prevent you reaching your goals.
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