How to Tone Up in a Week

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A dramatic body makeover in one week is a bit unrealistic, but you can make a good start toward a toned-up body and see results in just seven days. Regardless of whether you need to lose actual pounds, the key to a more toned body is developing lean muscle mass while decreasing body fat. Extreme diets and exercise regimens, however, can deplete your body of energy and nutrients it needs to build muscle, and you won't end up being more toned. To achieve attractive and lasting results, approach your goal of having a more toned body sensibly.

Things You'll Need

  • Workout equipment
  • Eat nutritious foods. Don't consume more calories than you need, and make sure the nutritional content of your food is high. The idea is to provide your body with all the building blocks it needs to build more muscle tissue, which means greater muscle tone, and to also encourage your body to shed fat, so that your toned muscles will show. Make sure you get enough protein, plenty of vegetables and fruits, and whole grains for energy.

  • Lift weights. The greatest and fastest increase in muscle mass comes from strength-training your large muscle groups: legs, arms and core (torso). If you have a gym membership, seek out the trainers who work there. Explain your goals, and ask for help planning a program that will give you maximum results but also help you avoid injury. Many trainers will have you work different muscle groups on alternate days, making certain you don't work the same muscle group two days in a row. During your first week, allow one full rest day.

  • Use home workout equipment if you cannot go to a gym. Dumbbells, an elastic band, a balance ball and a medicine ball are sufficient for most people to do adequate muscle-toning exercises at home. These are not expensive and are available at most sporting good stores. Basic curls and push-ups will tone your arms. Squats and calf raises are excellent for toning your legs. Instructions on how to perform various exercises are readily available online.

  • Work your core, even if you don't feel like it. Legs and arms are more fun to work because they tone up quickly. But while your eyes may not see dramatically toned-up abs in just one week, you'll be able to feel that your core muscles are more toned, and you'll see results in your posture. As you become leaner, your hard work in toning up your core muscles will be much more visible. Abdominal crunches and variations on crunches are effective and easy for most people to do.

  • Perform cardiovascular exercise. Walking, running, swimming and biking, or participating in exercise classes, will develop your muscles in different ways than strength training. All these exercises will strengthen your cardiovascular system, burn calories and boost your metabolism. Aerobic exercise is essential to achieving a lean look.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you want to shed pounds while you tone up, your calorie intake should be only slightly less than your daily needs. Reducing calories too sharply may cause your body to metabolize its own muscle tissue, which is exactly what you don't want.
  • Excess water weight on your body can hide your nicely toned muscles. To help keep extra water weight off, avoid excessive salt in your diet.
  • Don't over-train. A week is a very short period of time. If you overdo it, you risk injury.
  • Don't consume too much protein. While athletic activity does slightly increase your daily protein requirements, consuming excessive amounts of protein will not result in more muscle mass, and can possibly harm your kidneys and liver.
  • Don't use diuretics or extreme sweating (as in saunas or steam rooms) to reduce water weight. These can be dangerous practices, and they do not result in any additional fat loss.

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  • Photo Credit sexy female body image by Leticia Wilson from Fotolia.com
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