18 Ways to Change Your Body to Get Stronger, Leaner, and More Toned
If your goal is to strengthen and sculpt your muscles, lean down body fat, and just look overall toned and amazing, then follow these tips that will change how your body looks and feels.
Cardio 5 Times a Week
Do 60-minute heart-pumping cardio workouts five times a week if your goal is to lose weight.
Don't Just Target Trouble Zones
Maybe you're itching to get a six-pack or a lifted booty, but working one area will cause muscle imbalances, which can lead to injury. Also, the more muscle mass you create overall, the more calories you'll burn, which decreases your total body-fat percentage to reveal your sculpted muscles. Work your legs, butt, abs, back, and arms equally, and try these multitasking moves that work more than one part of the body at once.
Mix Up Your Interval Training
Don't just stand there doing biceps curls when you could be doing squats to tone your lower body at the same time. Make your workout time more efficient by doing exercises that work more than one part of the body.
Mix Up Your Routine
Doing the same old workouts not only gets boring, but your muscles will adapt and you'll hit a plateau. Try mixing up your routine by using different pieces of equipment, checking out new fitness classes or activities, working out in different places like in the woods or at a rock climbing gym, or even just mixing up the exercises you do or the order in which you do them. A little change will fire up your mind and also challenge your muscles in different ways, making them stronger.
Grab a Kettlebell
Short on time? The average person burns 400 calories in 20 minutes when doing kettlebell exercises. Try these seven kettlebell moves.
Don't Just Lift Dumbbells
Don't just lift dumbbells. Explore all types of equipment including resistance bands, kettlebells, stability balls, medicine balls, and barbells, as well as moves that require no equipment.
Save time and burn more calories by doing supersets, working opposing muscle groups back-to-back, and moving quickly from one exercise to the next without resting.
Combine Strength Training and Cardio
Get more out of your workout time by combining strength training and cardio into one workout for serious metabolic conditioning. Try this 30-minute workout that mixes jumping rope with bodyweight exercises.
Mix Up Your Cardio
Running is easy and popular, but if you only run, you're working the same muscles. Do different types of cardio throughout the week, or you can even mix up cardio machines within a workout to target different muscles and keep your workout exciting. This workout combines the rowing machine, elliptical, and treadmill.
No Equipment Is No Problem!
Bodyweight exercises are shown to burn more calories than moves that use dumbbells — think full-body exercises like push-ups vs. bench presses.
Go For Instability
Work harder by creating instability. Stand on one leg, or balance on a BOSU ball or stability ball while doing strength-training moves.
Don't just stick to five-pound dumbbells. Lifting heavier weights, whether it's dumbbells, medicine balls, or barbells, will tone your muscles faster without adding bulk.
If your goal is to have long and lean, toned, and flexible muscles, commit to doing yoga at least twice a week. Practicing in a heated room will allow your muscles to open even deeper, but if you can't get to a studio, do this yoga sequence at home. Staying supple will also prevent injury, so you'll be able to keep up with your weekly workouts.