Achieving a toned look comes from a combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training. While cardio exercise is essential to improve cardiac health as well as burn calories and shed fat, strength training is the best way to shape and tone your body as well as build curves. If you want to achieve a lean and toned looking body, then make sure to have a combination of cardio exercise as well as strength training in your gym routine.
Grab Some Dumbbells
All gyms come stocked with a variety of different weighted dumbbells. Since dumbbells can easily be handled and maneuvered, they allow more variety in your exercises. For example, you can use dumbbells in strength training exercises only or you can incorporate them into circuit training, pairing dumbbells with cardio exercises to boost your overall calorie burn.
Head for the Cables
Cable machines are simple to use and are efficient for almost every muscle -- they're also a good place for beginners to start. The cables keep the weight in the position it needs to be, helping you to learn proper lifting technique of the exercises you perform. Cable machines also allow for a change in resistance, making it simple to go down or up in weight as you need to.
Let Smith Assist
The smith machine is essentially a machine that assists with barbell exercises such as the squat. The machine keeps the barbell in a track, which forces you to use proper form. Since the squat can be a hard exercise to perform properly at first, the smith machine is a perfect place for beginners to learn the correct form and technique.
Cardio Fat Blast
While strength training is a necessity when it comes to toning, so is cardio exercise. Cardio exercise burns a significant amount of calories and can help you shed extra fat. Getting rid of extra body fat is essential to getting a lean and toned body. Cardio machines like the elliptical, treadmill and rowing machines also let you switch up the resistance on the machine, making your muscles work harder and giving you a better overall workout.
Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.