Toning your body

This week sees us take a look at toning your body and the processes involved in toning up and creating a more defined you.

What is toned?

Let’s begin with how we describe the process of toning and what we mean when we use that phrase. Toning up your body’s muscles basically means that you have less fat and more muscle definition on your frame. This is evolved through a process of exercises where the aim is to keep the muscles contracted for an extended period of time and to burn off any excess fat. Some people can mistake the term ‘toned’ for something other than its intended results. The aim is to avoid any really heavy lifting and instead focus on lifting a heavy enough weight to build muscle mass (without becoming overly bulky), keep the muscles in a state of contraction and burn fat at the same time.

Aim to remove many of the isolation exercises (focussing on only one body part) should give your body the adequate time to recover as well as giving you time to do some cardio exercises/full body workouts and really focus on the fat burning process. This can be achieved in many ways and the following guide is for those who are just beginning their journey to a better toned body;


Upper body - between 3 and 4 sets of 8 reps

Bench press

Seated cable row

Shoulder press

Barbell curls

Triceps pushdowns

Lateral raises



Sprint cardio training

This session should involve some form of stretching for a warm up and involve between 20 and 30 minutes of pretty full on cardio work in order to burn body fat.



Lower body - between 3 and 4 sets of 8 reps

Leg press

Hamstring curl

Leg extensions

Calf raise


Weighted lunges



Extended cardio work

This day’s workload should be performed at about medium intensity level for around 30-45 minutes.



Light cardio/Day off



Full body workout

Using the above upper and lower body regime you should aim to hit all areas of the body using the same ¾ sets of 8 reps range



Day off


Using the above guidelines for the upper and lower body split and the adequate rep ranges you should start to see some real toning in your body after 2 or 3 weeks of work. Alongside the increased cardio workouts and the burning of excess body fat your body will react well and you should feel the benefits pretty quickly.


What else can I do to help the process?

Your calorie intake and diet will play a key part in your efforts to gain a toned body and it should be just as important as your exercise regime during the week. You should aim for an intake that is measured as maintenance and not overload your body with excess carbohydrates and protein. Your goal is not add too much muscle mass and so avoiding too many will be key to keep your frame slim whilst remaining toned. When thinking of protein intake the key is to again  not focus on flooding the body with masses of protein but to keep the muscle growth sustained with a ratio of 1-1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight around the ideal ratio for your toning training. So for example if you weigh 80kgs then you should aim for about 96 grams of protein per day in order to sustain your body’s feeding and keep the progress going.

What to look out for

It can sometimes be difficult to keep an eye on your main goal of not overloading the body with excessive weights being lifted or too many grams of protein and avoiding massive muscle mass. It can however be achieved through big changes in your overall dietary outlook and keeping your goal in mind. During training you should be aiming for a consistent weight that challenges your body but does not overwork the muscle groups being trained. You should feel them becoming contracted and firm but using the lower weight range and the lack of isolation exercises should see you remain in a state of contraction throughout without forcing your body to work too hard. Remember you are not trying to add too much muscle mass and you are aiming to work the muscles but stay toned and defined so staying refined in your lifting should see you have some great results with your weekly routine.

The importance of a good cardio workout a couple of times in the week cannot be ignored as this is essential to burning off excess body fat and really start exposing that toned physique of yours. Make sure you are working hard on your cardiovascular days and keep a track of your stretching and warm up/cool down periods in order to avoid injury and prepare your body the best way possible.

Always remember to have fun with your training and to keep a track of your physical progress to keep yourself inspired with the results. Never be too snobby to ask a more experienced head and to learn some new techniques you could add to your training. Most importantly of all, get out there and just ‘Do The Damn Thing!’

For tips on how I train, eat and supplements follow me on:

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