How much exercise do you really need to tone up?
So your main goal is not necessarily to lose weight, but to tone up. Anyone can Google “How do I tone up?” and find 100 different answers. This is just going confuse most people because now you’ve heard so many opinions on the matter. The main purpose of this article is to answer that question to the best of my capability.
On my opinion, in order to tone or gain muscle, you need to have a combination of strength training, cardio training, and HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training). A lot of people may be doing 1 or 2 of these styles already, but not seeing the results they want. Many times, you will hear why certain people don’t already work in one of these styles of training. “I don’t do weights because I don’t want to be bulky” is a very common reason. Another one might be that “Cardio will make me lose muscle.” Or simply “It’s hard!” the different styles of training are very segregated amongst men and women. But the truth is men need cardio and women need weights.
Our recommendation is 2-3x a week of strength training. The reason is that a healthy recovery period is going to be 2-3 days for a muscle to recover from a workout, depending on how hard you work that particular muscle group. You don’t want to shortchange your muscles and work the same muscle groups to exhaustion back-to-back days. At that point you’re risking strain or tear. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you don’t want to wait too long between training muscles groups. A lot of men may only do legs once a week, or chest once a week. The problem with this style of training is you are reversing the progress while you wait until next week to train those muscles again. Hitting each muscle group 2-3x a week is constantly progressing, while giving yourself time to recover in between workouts.
Cardio training is the key to burning the fat that is hiding your muscles. That is why everyone should be working it in 3-5x a week. Your cardio days could be mixed in to your routine in between your strength training days while you are still recovering. If you think that cardio is going to cause you to lose your muscle mass, you might need to tune it to the Summer Olympics Track & Field. Last time I checked, the guys out there running a 100 meter dash aren’t what you would call Skinny. They are usually quite muscular.
HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training recruits Type 1 and Type 2 muscle fibers. Slow-twitch muscles help enable long-endurance feats such as distance running, while fast-twitch muscles fatigue faster but are used in powerful bursts of movements like sprinting. Interval training is also good for making sure you never get too good at an exercise. If all you do is run at a 10 minute mile pace, your body will quickly get more efficient, so instead of burning 100 calories a mile, you might only burn 80. HIIT’s can be thrown in to your cardio or strength training days.