There are many ways to get fit and tone up, but what is the best way to target these three areas – the butt, thighs and stomach? First, let’s talk briefly about what is really meant by toning and what is really required to look fitter and slimmer.
Toning is the act of improving the muscles – their size and strength. A well toned physique is one which is muscular. However, this does not mean one that consists of large, bulky muscles that may be found on bodybuilders and weight lifters, but slender and attractive muscles that accentuate a woman’s natural curves and provide physical balance and beauty combined. What toning does not deal with is the reduction of fat. So, lets start here!
If you wish to look fit you ultimately have to be fit. To look toned and lean you need to burn off excess fat. Weight training is required to tone your muscles, but to lose fat you really need to focus on healthy diet and cardio exercise.
So the first step in toning your butt, thighs and stomach is to change your diet. Cut out all junk food, processed foods, added sugar and especially candy and soda. Ensure that each meal is well-balanced and that you always control your portion size. Never go back for a second helping of any meal.
With holiday season fast approaching this is especially important. If you are at a buffet meal only go once to the buffet to fill your plate. Do not keep picking at the food as you will have no way of knowing how much you have eaten.
To lose fat you really just need to reduce total calories. A well-balanced diet helps you to do this because low GI carbohydrates (which should make up around 80% of all carb intake) and protein actually help to manage your appetite.
Now to the actual toning. There are really just five key exercises that you need. What is most important is that you exercise often and for a reasonably long time. Many people fail to get in shape simply because they do not exercise enough.
The first challenge, and possibly the biggest, is to do daily cardio workouts. Whether it is a daily jog, run, swim or cycle, it really does not matter. What is important is that you work towards doing 45 minutes of exercise each day. This has been shown to significantly increase fat burning.
Squats are the cornerstone of any strength workout. Squats tone the glutes which are your butt muscles. Bodyweight squats are extremely effective too, you do not need to go out and buy a set of dumbbells just yet. Aim to perform at least 100 squats in each session. This can be 4 sets of 25 squats with a short rest in between, or you can just do them all at once to help build up muscular endurance.
Lunges help to tone the thighs. When performing lunges keep your back up straight and take a long step. Avoid allowing your knee to extend beyond the tip of your toes. Perform 10 on one leg before changing. Aim top do between 40 and 60 lunges to start with. After the squats they will be hard to do.
Leg raises actually work the hips more than the stomach, but they are great for toning the core. Lie on your back and grasp a solid structure, such as a sofa, behind your head and then lift your legs up to the vertical position and lower. Do not touch the floor in between each lift. Perform 20-50 of these, take breaks if need be or do sets of 10.
Bicycle crunches have been found to be the best exercise for the abs. Rather than the standard straight crunch on each crunch twist to one side and then the other. This works the whole stomach much better and helps to tone and develop the abdominal muscles.
You should perform these exercises as a circuit and as you become fitter you should be able to do them 3 to 6 days a week. Combined with regular cardio, such as running, and a healthier and calorie reduced diet, you will soon be toning your butt, thighs and stomach.
Jon Wade writes for MotleyHealth.com which is dedicated to helping people get fit and lose weight. One of his most popular articles is the article on losing stomach fat with diet and exercise. If you have any questions ask here or over at MotleyHealth.