How do I become more toned?

Becoming more toned involves strengthening the muscles and decreasing the amount of body fat that may be hiding them. Perform resistance exercises that are moderately intense, and include cardiovascular exercise to burn calories and fat.

Robert DeVito
Fitness Specialist

Toning translates to maintain or increase muscle tissue while shedding unwanted body fat (BF). You will need to control your types and amounts of exercises and just as important is to control your food intake and recovery. When individuals are larger than they would like to be it is due to an increase in (BF), not the amount of muscle tissue you carry.  Muscle is tight and compact. BF is larger and spread out more. So, your primary concern should be controlling unneeded energy intake while working out as intensely as you can. Maximizing your workouts by increasing your intensity will maximize calorie burning and "toning". Controlling your food intake will allow you to become "tone" while you drop BF.

Utilize high intensity training (HIT) while performing strength training to maximize your calorie burning and "toning."

  • An example of HIT would be to perform a split stance dumbbell row while choosing a weight that is challenging (8-12 repetitions), follow that by performing 1-minute of step-ups. Rest for 45 seconds and then repeat 3 times.

Utilize high intensity interval training (HIIT) during cardio to maximize fat usage and total calorie burn.

  • An example of HIIT would be to walk on a treadmill for 90 seconds followed by jogging or running on a treadmill for 90 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times.
  • This type of exercise brings you through multiple heart rates but allows for recovery. This would be superior to steady state cardio training (a consistent intensity such as walking at 3.5 MPH for 25 minutes) to maximize calorie burning.


  • Be sure to eat a healthy and energizing breakfast (An example may be some oatmeal and an egg) to maximize workout performance.
  • Eat at least 4 times per day to maximize your metabolism.
  • Drink at least 64 oz. - 96 oz. of water daily to maintain strength and aid in recovery.
  • Eat for fat loss. This means you should choose lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains while minimizing empty and wasted calories from junk food (cookies, cakes, white flours, sugary drinks etc.)

While training to "tone" many people will choose over-exercising. Exercise is a great tool to "tone", however, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Be sure to get enough sleep to fight fatigue and prepare your body to maximize your workouts. Be sure to rest at least 2 days per week.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.