Muscle mass is essential to creating a strong and toned body, especially since muscle burns 15 times as many calories as fat. But, if you are hesitant to pump iron because you are afraid of looking bulking, don’t worry. It's possible to tighten up your body without looking like the Incredible Hulk. You will have to add some weight to your workout to tone your muscles, but you can do so by building lean muscle mass, which will help you keep your womanly shape. For best results, train two to three days per week with a day of rest in between sessions.
Strength training requires the use of your own body weight to build muscles. Since you don’t need any special equipment to strength train, you can easily do your exercises in the comfort of your own home. Pushups, squats, chair dips and leg lunges are some simple, yet effective strength-training exercises to start with.
Lifting weights is effective for toning muscles. Since you are aiming for a lean look, lift lighter weights. Start with weights that provide some resistance but don't feel too heavy while lifting. Also, incorporate more repetitions. Ten to 15 repetitions per lifting exercise is a good starting point. Once that number of repetitions becomes comfortable, add five more to your routine. Some simple exercises you can do with free weights are biceps curls, chest presses and dead lifts.
Yoga not only relaxes your body, but it also strengthens and defines your muscles. Yoga is considered a low-impact exercise, which means you are fully working your muscles without stressing your joints. In addition to strengthening and toning your muscles, yoga also increases flexibility and gives your muscles that long, lean look. Crescent Lunges, Plank, Boat and Warrior poses are effective strength-building exercises that engage your core and require balance.
What’s the point of toning your muscles if you can't show them off. Make sure to incorporate some cardio into your workout routine throughout the week to burn excess fat and strengthen your heart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adults need at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity. For added health benefits, increase the time to 300 minutes per week. Some effective cardio exercises include walking, jogging, stair climbing, bike riding, rope jumping and swimming.
Diet also plays an important part when it comes showing off your toned body. Make sure to watch your calorie intake and eat more healthful foods such as vegetables, fruit, lean meats, whole grains and nuts. Avoid excess sugars and simple carbohydrates.
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