When we say "I want to tone up", most of us are visualising a sleeker, leaner body. We all have the muscles that we want to see but those muscles are hidden by the varying layers of fat over the top of them. So, in order to achieve that "toned" look what we really need is fat loss.
Many times people have said to me, "I want a six-pack, can you show me some abdominal exercises?" Stomach exercises aren't going to reveal your six-pack, they will just work the underlying abdominal muscles. You then need to actually lose the fat that is covering them up to be able to see the six-pack.
To lose fat, a combination of cardiovascular and resistance (weights) exercise is needed in conjunction with a healthy low calorie diet. By creating a calorie deficit your body will then use the fat stores from around your body leaving a sleeker, leaner you.
Cardiovascular exercise, or aerobic exercise is defined as sustained, rhythmic activity that works the large muscle groups. Examples might be rowing, running, walking, cross-training, cycling, dancing or step exercise. Cardio uses the aerobic energy system which means that your body uses primarily the fat reserves in your body to fuel the activity. As fat loss is essential to reveal your lean body underneath, cardio makes up a good portion of the programme.
Weights will build muscle, which helps with fat loss in the long-term. At rest, one pound of muscle burns more calories than one pound of fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn all day. Resistance training also helps strengthen the bones which is especially important as we grow older - you'll preserve muscle mass. As we get older muscle starts to waste away and usually gets replaced by fat. If we do not perform weight bearing exercise, we'll lose muscle mass. Stronger muscles, ligaments and connective tissue will help prevent injuries and will help you perform better You'll feel better about yourself.
Won't I get bulky? I don't want to look like a body builder!
Don't worry, that won't happen. First of all it takes a LOT of hard work to bulk up in conjunction with a specialised diet. Women also don't have the testosterone that men do so unless bulking up is what you want to achieve, it won't happen.
Low Calorie Diet
To lose weight, you must eat fewer calories than you expend. By selecting healthy, low-calorie foods we can ensure that you create a small calorific deficit each day that will result in gradual, safe and healthy weight loss of around one to two pounds per week.