No matter how much you want to lose weight, you also want to look good. Just losing fat isn’t enough to get your body in shape. You need to increase muscle tone as well. The good news is that muscle wants to work -- it wants to be toned. Follow these steps and you'll be well on your way to increasing muscle tone all over your body.
Commit to weight training. In order to build muscle tone, you need to start getting strong. I’m not talking big and bulky muscles but lean, toned ones. Commit to strength training using your own body weight as well as free weights at least twice a week in order to increase your muscle tone.
Work your entire body. One of the simplest mistakes when toning is to focus on problem areas. Spot toning is rarely effective especially if you are also trying to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. You need to work the entire body to build muscle and to create a balanced physique.
Don’t forget the smaller muscles. It’s easy to plan a weight training program that focuses on the muscles people want to tone most – your biceps, abs, glutes and quads. It’s important to also increase the tone of your supporting muscles in your triceps, back, shoulders, hamstrings and calves.
When working with your upper body, you may start with lighter weights for the smaller muscles in your shoulders and arms, but you should focus on building and toning what you have.
Challenge your routine with heavier weights. Muscles easily become used to weight if you never challenge yourself. Don’t defeat your workout routine by being complacent. Set a goal to increase the weight every month or every other week -- you'll make great strides in toning your muscles!
Don’t worry that heavier weights will bulk you up. Go for tone by working up to 3 sets of 12 repetitions per exercise. Once you can do a full series, increase the weight.
Make protein a regular part of your diet. Muscle needs protein to help it repair itself. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet. This doesn’t mean you have to switch to a low-carb, high-protein diet. It just means that you should aim for balance and get protein at all of your three daily meals. If you snack before a workout, consider a bit of protein during that snack as well.
Get help when you hit a plateau. Sometimes, no matter how motivated you are, you'll hit a plateau. You may get stuck and feel like your muscle tone just won’t get any better. When this happens, don’t give up -- get help! Who can you trust in the sea of fitness information? I recommend chief training adviser for Men's Fitness magazine -- check out Jason Ferruggia's Muscle Gaining Secrets.
Consider hiring a trainer to rework your routine or go online for some new exercises. Find someone with muscle tone you admire and ask them what their favorite moves are. Whatever you do, get some help to inspire you to create your own challenges.
Working to increase muscle tone is a constant effort. You will need to push your muscles more every workout in order to challenge them to grow. If you commit to toning, you will see results quickly in both the look of your muscles and the way they make you feel.