Ways to Tone Up

1. Don’t stop eating!

“One of the worst ways to get to your tone-goal is to stop getting the necessary calories into your body. Your body needs fuel to keep your metabolism metabolizing. Get as much high quality food (i.e. high in nutrients and low in artifice) into your system throughout the day as you can. Five to six meals is a great way to go.”

2. Swap your carbs for…better carbs.

“Instead of starches (potatoes, breads, pastas, etc.) switch your carbohydrate intake to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and make sure you are getting enough healthy fats like seeds and nuts and avocados. This will give you the necessary calories to build the muscle you need while kicking your metabolism into gear to lose the fat you want.”

3. Don’t scrimp on protein, even if you’re scrimping on other things.

“Increase your protein intake to help sustain muscle during weight loss. Especially when losing weight quickly, your body can lose muscle mass which will affect the toned look you’re seeking. The protein leucine (in whey, animal proteins, and dairy) has a direct effect on muscle to prevent this muscle loss.”

4. Stay hydrated—your muscles depend on it.

“Muscles are 70-80 percent water and dehydration leads to muscle breakdown. In order to increase the production of new muscle tissue it’s imperative to keep yourself properly hydrated with water and the right electrolyte balance (sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium).”

5. Try interval training.

“If you’re someone who gravitates toward doing lots of cardio you’ll do better to lose fat without sacrificing muscle if you switch to intervals, i.e. sprinting all-out for one minute and then slowing way down for two. (Do this for thirty minutes, three times weekly.) In an hour-long Pilates workout, you speed up and slow down, and alter resistance on each exercise to create the ultimate interval workout.”

6. Make your muscles multitask for a longer calorie burn.

“Choosing exercises that target different muscle groups (i.e. a lunge with a bicep curl, a Pilates push-up with a leg lift) allows you to employ more muscles at once without exhausting any individual muscle too quickly. This way, not only will you have more energy for your workout, but by working more muscles at once, more hormones are released, stimulating more calories to be burned throughout the day.”

7. No, you won’t bulk up from lifting weights.

“To actually bulk up like a bodybuilder is really difficult, and requires changing the foods you eat, when you eat them, and lifting very, very heavy weights, among other things. So while your mind may tell you that you’ll ‘bulk up’ from working with light to moderate weights, you won’t. Instead, while strength training builds muscle, it also boosts your metabolism, burns calories, and accelerates weight loss, leaning you out in the process.”

8. Chill out.

“Stress elevates the cortisol hormone, which is responsible for your body storing fat and diminishing muscle. Get enough quality sleep, laugh more, breathe, stretch, get a massage…whatever works!”

9. Bring a trainer to your living room—or hotel room.

“Take advantage of great mobile workout sites like Pilatesology and PilatesAnytime to get your Pilates workout in with great teachers and a great variety of workouts wherever you go!”

10. Know that it won’t be easy.

“In order for improvement to occur, you must continue to push your body to adapt to increasing levels of weight, tension, endurance, reps, speed, etc. Vary your movements and workout elements mentioned, and always move with awareness and control. Your body will not change until you are determined to push it to change.”

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