Toning up without losing weight

Here's your guide to boosting your muscle tone without losing the weight you're trying to firm up

It can be frustrating when you want to tone up but find that the exercises you’re doing are also causing you to lose wight. This has to do with the kinds of workouts you’re focusing on and with your diet.

It’s important to first understand how weight loss works. You begin losing weight when the number of calories you burn exceed those you consume over time. So if your aim is to work on toning up rather than dropping kilos, limit high-calorie burning workouts (cardiovascular and aerobic exercising), such as running and swimming, in frequency, intensity and length.

With the appropriate adjustments to your dietary and workout regimes, you can successfully tone your body and avoid dropping weight.

READ MORE: Four obstacles crippling your fitness goals

Diet alteration
The food you eat has a direct impact on whether or not you lose weight. To tone up without losing weight, focus on eating high-protein foods that are low in calories and in saturated fats.

Incorporate weight training
A large part of your training programme should include weight training. This includes using a weight bench set, dumb-bells, and an exercise ball for working your core. When it comes to weight training, don’t look for quick results by doing something you can’t handle, as you’re likely to injure your muscles, which will only slow you down. Rather start off with light weights and work out for about 30 to 40 minutes at a time.

With this in mind, you need to be deliberate about increasing the weight you’re lifting. A general rule of thumb is to increase the weight you’re lifting every week – but the increase should never be more than 100% of what you were lifting in the previous week.

READ MORE: The skinny guy’s guide to bulking up

Give your muscles time to recover
Recovery time is an integral part of your workout routine. Contrary to what you may think, going to the gym every day of the week won’t produce results quickly. You should work out about three to four times a week to give your muscles time to recover. Make sure you focus on at least two to three muscle groups during each workout.

For example, if you’re decide to exercise thrice a week, focus on your legs and abdominal muscles on the first day; your back and arms on the second; and your chest and shoulder muscles on the third day.

Protein shakes
Have a soy or whey shake every morning and immediately after every workout to reinforce your protein intake.