I would like to tone my body, but I do not want to join a gym. Which exercises can I do in my home? Manuel

Answer

Hi Manuel, Of course can you get fit and healthy without joining a gym. I guess most people choose the gym because it is rather convienient and easy to stick to. Especially if you exercise together with either a personal trainer or a friend. Accountability can be an amazing thing.

First I would like to go through the word "tone". The word "tone" is used more or less in every exercise and diet program in media. The reason being that most people perceive it as "a firm and slender body without the excess bulk". Who wouldn't want a body like that? The truth is that myths like "creating long and dense muscles" or  "toned muscles that makes you loose centimeters of you waist, hips or bum" is just that.... MYTHS.

From a physiological point of view you can only do two things to improve your body composition or appearance. You can loose body fat or gain muscle. Changing the length of the muscle or shape is not possible.

So why am I telling you this?

Because if I assume that when you say you want a toned body, you want a firmer and more defined body, that will say to loose some body fat and possibly gain some muscle depending on what size you want on your muscles.

So, where should you start? And could you do this outside the gym? Of course you can. First I would take a closer look at your diet as loosing body fat is heavily depending on diet. I won't get into that in detail as this would be a whole essay.

When it comes to training there are two major factors you need to take into account. How much time you have (volume) and how hard you can push yourself (intensity). I am of the belief that intensity plays a larger roll than volume over time. Saying that does not mean that you should force yourself in shape neither does it mean you can train 5 minutes a day and make wonders. It does mean that you should find a good start level then slowly progress by increasing your intensity and adapting your volume.

Make sure to exercise 3-4 days a week starting with as little as 30 minutes and building up to 45-60 minutes depending on how much time you have. Your body works like a car, it runs better when warm so make sure to do a decent warm up for about 10 minutes, running or jogging will do.

After you warm up I would recommend you to do some high intense resistance training. You can do this using some home equipment such as Nautilus Bowflex dumbells or with your own body weight as resistance. Aim to do 9-15 sets for your whole body focusing on large muscle groups such as your legs, back or chest. Choose exercises that allows you to do no more than 15 repetition. High repetition workouts does NOT promote longer and sleeker no matter what you read. It just decrease the intensity of your workout hence lowers the results. Exercises that use more than one joint gives better results than isolation exercises where only one joint works. Rest about 30 seconds between sets.

To further boost your calorie expenditure I would add 5-20 minutes of high intense inteval training. Start at the lower figure at maximum intensity then add one minute per week until you can maintain 20 minutes. You can do this by using most equipments that allows your heart rate to raise quickly. My favorite is running. Try to run at 85-90% for 30 seconds then walk for another 30-60 seconds. Build up until you can do 20 sprints with only 30 seconds in between sets.

If you following this program 3-4 days per week, have a clean healthy diet and make sure to push yourself I am sure you can get the "toned" look you are after. Remember that effort and reward goes hand in hand.

Good luck Manuel and let me know how you are doing.

 

Andreas 

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