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How To Improve Muscle Tone

A lean, well defined physique, with good muscle tone is sexy. It's a look that most people want to attain. Not to big, not too small. Just enough muscle to look healthy and strong without being stiff and bulky.

Changing your body to look healthy and muscular means changes to your lifestyle and everyday behavior.

There's More To It Than Cardio

When you see someone who's physically fit, with good muscle tone you start thinking of all the cardio they must do to maintain that kind of shape. What most don't consider is the lifestyle behavior other than cardio that contributes to a toned physique.

If all you did was three hours of cardio, you'd no doubt lose a lot of body fat but it may not yield the results you're looking for.

The best way to visualize the body changes is to think of the type of athlete you want to look like. If you did tons and tons of cardio, and not much else, you'd look like a marathon runner.

Sure, they're lean with some muscle tone, but they're often slight with a very low body weight. Athletes that are lean, but with excellent muscle tone are Olympic swimmers and gymnasts.

Exercises That Tone Muscle

Everyone knows to burn fat you do exercises that get your heart pumping like running or bicycling. To add muscle tone you need to add some resistance training.

The amount of resistance, and frequency or reps performed, will determine the amount of muscle you add. Most people trying to get back into shape don't want to look like professional body builders.

If you've never lifted weights you might be avoiding the activity because you don't want that "bulky" look.

It's actually quite hard to build and maintain bulky muscle. Building shapely, well toned muscle, is not hard but getting overdeveloped bulging muscles is very difficult.

So if you've been avoiding weight training to avoid adding bulk, it's time for a change. Adding resistance training that includes 12-15 reps will work your muscles enough to tone and grow, but it isn't going to add bulk.

People interested in adding bulk, will want to lift heavy weights for 6-8 reps.

Changes To Your Diet

When you're trying to reshape your body and look more toned, you need to eat "clean". Starving yourself is not going to be beneficial especially if you're increasing your exercise regimen.

If you're exercising frequently, but not consuming enough calories your body will actually begin to cannibalize muscle tissue for energy which is not what you want.

You want to eat lots of lean chicken, fish, and plenty of vegetables. Carbohydrates have gotten a bad reputation in recent years, being blamed from rising obesity, but it's a primary food source our body absolutely needs.

The problem isn't in carbs, in general. The problem is the type of carbs you're eating. Complex carbs like potatoes and brown rice are needed to fuel your daily exercises without adding excessive body fat.

Simple carbs like ice cream and cookies are digested too quickly spiking your insulin and contributing to additional body fat storage.

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