1) If you are trying to achieve a toned looking back, it really depends mostly on your diet and your overall body fat percentage. Make sure you focus your diet around lean protein, vegetables, complex carbohydrates and good fats. I aim for 120g protein per day as I weigh about 120 pounds, and you should eat one gram of protein for every pound you weigh. If you are trying to gain lean muscle mass, you can't be in a calorie deficit and you really do have to be eating this much of the right sources. When you don't eat enough you're just screwing up your metabolism and losing only water weight and lean muscle. I'm definitely paying the price now for all the low-calorie diets I used to follow. Trust me, it just isn't worth it in the long run!
2) Make sure you load up on quality protein regularly throughout the day. I would recommend high-quality fish, chicken, eggs, quinoa and spirulina. I like to incorporate both plant-based, vegetarian sources of protein and animal sources. It is particularly important for us women to get enough protein as we don't produce as much testosterone as men, and it's about 74% harder for us to build muscle. Diet is everything when it comes to what you get out of this type of training!
3) Do HIIT (High Intensity Interview Training) 3-4 times a week. The single most effective way to reduce body fat and reveal your hard-earned muscles is through this fat-burning method. Nothing gets your heart rate up like HIIT, and heart rate is key when it comes to your workouts. That’s the speedometer of the body. If we speed the body up, it will burn more calories, just as a car will burn more fuel if it speeds up. HIIT not only improves your cardiovascular health, but it also builds lean muscle in your body. It boosts your metabolism for the rest of the day instead of just whilst you're working out, like a moderate intensity run would.
4) Do lots of all over body conditioning. For the back, focus on moves which begin in the plank position, such as dumbbell rows and push ups. I've found these to be particularly effective as working many muscles at once instead of just one muscle group really tones your body.
5) RANT - Make sure you include all food groups in your diet - complex carbohydrates, fats and protein. I'm sick and tired of seeing these awful fad diets everywhere which favour one macro-nutrient over the others. You NEED a balanced amount of all food groups in order to function optimally and achieve/maintain a healthy body. You simple cannot be healthy if you are living predominantly off of one group alone as your body won't be getting the nutrients it needs. For example, you need good fats as without fats, your body cannot absorb the vitamins and minerals from the other food you are eating. Please don't listen to anyone who promises you that you will miraculously achieve your dream body by cutting out one macro-nutrient entirely, such as 'experts' who favour a high carbohydrate diet, a high fat one or a high protein one. Anything in excess is not good for you. You can't cheat your way to a toned body by cutting out one macro as you simply won't sustain it in the long term because you're eliminating too many foods from your diet. The same goes for either a low calorie or high calorie diet. Balance is the key! Achieve a balanced approach to your nutrition and then you won't need to go desperately seeking these fad diets. The root cause of the obesity epidemic and the struggles so many people have with their bodies is these fad diets. The worst thing is that people will believe literally anything they read online when it comes to nutrition, without knowing the source of the information, if there even if a source to this information. Anyone can make up random facts and figures, and people will just believe them. That's the danger of the internet not being regulated. Do your own research, watch documentaries, read books, EDUCATE YOURSELF. Don't just listen to what someone online tells you. At the end of the day they're just marketing themselves! People are constantly inventing these new weight-loss strategies in order to be unique and stand out from the crowd in the competitive market of nutrition. So no, don't just take what I say as fact. Research it for yourself from reliable sources. Use your common sense. ******RANT OVER******
Sorry to end on a negative note, but I haven't blogged in a while as I have been so busy with Uni work, and I had been meaning to discuss that, particularly with summer coming up when the fad diet industry is currently booming. At the end of the day, you just need to be sensible and do your research. Don't do anything dramatic like eliminating tons of different foods from your diet. Every body is unique and highly complex, and no one method of eating is going to work for every single person. Just remember that when someone is trying to convince you to follow their method of dieting. You have to resist the temptation to be sucked into these different diets, particularly at this time of year.
Thank you for reading!