I had been a fitness professional for some time now. In all my years of experience, one thing that everyone wants to know is “How can I get a toned body?” In most cases, only the language changes, the question remains the same.
- How can I get cuts?
- How can I trim up?
- How can I get lean?
The client usually wants to tone some specific area of her body.
One thing that you should understand is that if you want to get lean, then you will have to lower the fat percentage in your body. If you have a lower amount of fat in your body, this will allow you to achieve better muscle definition.
Most people think that they cannot get that toned body as in popular magazines. I assure you with all my experience that it is very possible for you as well! Let us first talk about the science of body fat and then we will move towards exercise.
The Science Behind Body Fat
Unfortunately, fat burning is a bit difficult for women as compared to men. One scientific reason behind this is that estrogen, a hormone found in a woman’s body has a negative effect on lipolysis.
Your body is made up of millions and billions of cells. These cells contain fat, alpha receptors and beta receptors.
Beta receptors help to release fat from your body, which is then used as energy. On the other hand, alpha receptors slow this process. So both these receptors do opposite work.
In order to burn fat, your task should be to increase the content of the beta receptor in your body. Adrenaline and noradrenaline can help in this process.
When you exercise in the gym, these hormones bind to beta receptors and help to burn fat. The problem with women’s bodies is that estrogen can increase the influence of alpha receptors.
Moreover, your genetics can also play a significant role in the fat-burning process. Some women are predominantly inclined to accumulate subcutaneous fat.
How can you get rid of subcutaneous fat?
Your body contains three kinds of fat – visceral fat, subcutaneous fat, and intramuscular fat. Out of these three, it is subcutaneous fat which is most difficult to burn.
Why is it so? The obvious reason is that these fats are not very effective in burning fatty acids. Moreover, they are not metabolically active. One more reason can be that they have a higher content of alpha receptors that significantly slows down the process.
So what should you do? I would recommend that you should target specific areas. You should first focus on burning fat from one particular area and when you have accomplished it, and then you can move to other parts. This way you can tone your entire body.
However, one thing should be kept in mind, before you use this method of fat burning, your body must reach a normal fat percentage for your age and weight.
A healthy fat percentage for women of different age is as follows:
- 20 – 39 33%
- 40 – 59 24 – 34%
- 60 – 79 36%
Lower your fat percentage, better are the chances of getting a toned body.
Why you should try explosive workout?
Explosive exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of fat from your body. This exercise is good for growth hormone (HGH) in your body. Moreover, HGH helps to increase muscle fiber in your body. It is very good for adipose tissue in your body. According to a study, this type of exercise can increase growth hormone in your body by at least 45%.
One more reason why I am stressing on explosive exercise is that it can increase insulin sensitivity in your body. You may know that insulin resistance is the cause of diabetes, at the same time; insulin sensitivity is a very good thing. If you are insulin sensitive your body will not convert glucose to fat. This again helps in toning.
Examples of some explosive exercise
You can perform these explosive exercises at high velocity using weight.
- To perform this exercise, first, stand with your feet wide apart. Take a kettlebell and lean down to place it a bit farther from your body. Make sure your chest is out and the back straight.
- Keep your back straight, and lift this bell from the ground and swing it towards your back. Now thrust the hips a bit forward and extend your body while swinging the kettlebell in the front.
- Raise this bell to your shoulder height. From there, again lower this bell towards your back.
- Make sure your arms are extended throughout this exercise. Repeat this exercise 5 to 8 times. You can perform 3 to 4 sets.
- When you are at your last rep, just pull the momentum out of the swing and keep this kettlebell on the ground.
- Stand at ease with your feet at shoulder-width. Stand at a comfortable distance from the box.
- Push your legs to propel yourself towards the box.
- Try to land “softly”. You can bend your knees to get that spring action when you land on the box.
- Pause there. Momentarily hold this position to decrease risks of injuries.
- Now you can step off from the box. Perform this exercise for 5 to 8 reps. You can perform 3 to 4 sets.
- Stand at ease with your feet at shoulder-width. Face a wall and hold a medicine ball close to your chest using your hands. Keep your chest out and shoulder back. Stand at a distance of about five feet from the wall. This is the starting position.
- Push your butt and hips backward. Continue till your legs are parallel to the floor. You should inhale as you perform this movement.
- You can push through the heels. This will help in ascending. Now try to push upwards. Eject the ball in your hand towards the wall and upward direction. You need a full movement of your arms in this part. Your aim should be to throw the ball 10 to 12 feet high.
- Again catch the medicine ball and repeat from step 1. You should not take any rest between reps.
- Perform 5 to 8 reps. You can go for 3 to 4 sets.
- Stand at ease with your chest out and shoulders back. Your body should be fully stretched.
- Move the hands towards the floor and at the same time, pull your legs backward. You should perform a full pull of the legs. You need to pull your body (as during a press-up).
- Now bounce forward using your leg and push forward with your arm. Jump very fast and very high at the same moment.
- Keep your head in a neutral position during this exercise.
- Repeat this exercise for 5 to 8 reps and perform 3 to 4 sets.
While focusing on these exercises you should not forget strength exercise. They are also very good for a toned body. They can improve your strength and physique.
- Stand at ease with your feet some distance apart. Make sure the weight of your body is evenly distributed between both your legs.
- You will need to add resistance to this exercise. You can hold a dumbbell for this purpose. Hold it in front of the body.
- Try to keep your chest out, knees bent and then go downwards.
- Take your body as low as you can. It is preferred if you can take your hips below the knees.
- Now you can push up into the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise for 3 to 8 reps and perform 4 to 5 sets.
Sumo Stance Deadlift
- Stand keeping your feet at a considerable distance. They should make an angle of 45 degrees. Make sure the weight of your body is evenly distributed between both your legs.
- Keep your chest out and then bend your knees. Now you can hold a dumbbell.
- Press your legs to push back to the starting position. Lift this dumbbell towards the hips.
- You should keep your knees, chest, and hips fully extended throughout this movement.
- You should leave the dumbbell on the ground for a few seconds before starting the next rep.
- For this exercise, you would need two dumbbells one in each hand. Hold them at shoulder-width.
- Keep your elbows close to your body and hold these dumbbells a bit above your shoulder.
- Now bend your body into a squat position.
- Press this weight over the head. Push your legs and try to stand tall and straight.
- Pause for a few seconds and pull the dumbbells down to the starting position.
- Repeat this exercise for 3 to 8 reps and go for 3 to 4 sets.
I would suggest that you should perform a mix of strength and explosive exercise. This will help your body get that dream physique.