Photo credit: Nicole De Khors
Toning and exercising and especially starting out can be quite intimidating mainly due to the thought of the work, pain, and sacrifices involved.
Getting in great shape doesn’t have to be scary and completely out of reach. If you put your mind and hard work into it, you too can get the toned bikini look that’s found on Instagram and in magazines.
In this article, I am going to be looking at the top 5 toning tips for women to get started towards dominating it in bodybuilding. I cover elements such as how to get started, the value of a coach, nutrition, supplementing, and rest and recovery.
Tip No 1: Start Small
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your body. Getting that ultimate toned look takes time. Muscle is not built up overnight. This is typically referred to as muscle hypertrophy Even if you follow a good program, it takes at least 6 weeks and consistency with your exercise and nutrition (more about that later) to notice first results.
If you are coming from no exercise, start by exercising. Just start and follow the principle of progressive overloading. This can be from 1 day a week until you are feeling comfortable and then increased to 2 days and then increased to 3 etc. Our bodies are smart so they will adapt. What was tough before will become easy. So, we need to consistently challenge our bodies by increasing the workload.
If you are already fit and exercising regularly, increasing in small increments will help prevent injury. Remember a strength or bodybuilding workout is different from regular cardio (LISS or HIIT). It’s a different type of fitness, but both are important and complement each other if you find the right balance.
Increasing in small increments will help build your strength, and muscle and prevent injury. It is helpful to write out a plan that specifies your workouts, number of sets, reps, and frequency. This will help guide you and keep you going forward in small steps and increase the intensity over time.
Tip No 2: Hire a Coach
If you are serious about toning your body and becoming fitter or even have aspirations to compete, hiring a coach may be a good idea.
I know the last thing you want to do is spend money on a coach but think about it. An exercise coach knows what the sport is about, they’ve normally done it all, seen it all, and been through it all.
They know what they are talking about and know how to start, how to get the results you desire and have helped many other individuals reach their goals. Normally they are active themselves and can speak from experience. They can also help you draw up a training plan to help you reach your goals, so less work and especially less guessing for you.
They are the people you want in your corner, they also will help motivate you and support you because in case you didn’t know yet, going to the gym is not for sissies.
If you can’t afford a coach, getting an online training program or finding a workout buddy (preferably one with experience in bodybuilding) may be a more affordable option and will help keep you accountable as well as help you reach your goals.
Tip No 3: Get Your Nutrition Right
Your body is just like a car, it needs fuel. If you put in the wrong fuel it may not work well or even break down. Without the right foods, your body can’t function optimally and give you the results you crave. Nutrition can seem daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be.
Start by understanding what’s your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). This sets your average daily caloric need. Within that limit, you then set the split between the three macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. The macro split looks very different for different people and different goals.
Apart from this rather advanced but effective approach to nutrition, there are some basic recommendations that are truly applicable for almost everyone (there are of course always some exceptions).
Be fed. Have smaller more frequent meals. Try not to skip meals. Having regular meals will support your metabolism and help with the building of muscle and burning of fat.
Have a snack before your workout or drink an electrolyte-rich drink during your workout. This will help fuel your body, help get you through the workout and help prevent the exhaustion of your body.
Have a snack after your workout, preferably one that is rich in protein. This will promote the synthesis of new muscle cells.
Speaking of snacks: skip the junk!
No, really! Skip it. Junk can create so much damage and you can never out-train a bad diet.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Keeping hydrated is important and will help you perform at your best. Having at least 2-3 liter of water during the day will help keep you hydrated. If you are more precise and specific, then 35ml of water per kg of body weight will do the trick.
Tip No 4: Supplement Correctly
When you start ramping up your training and getting fitter and healthier, the right nutrition is the key ingredient, like I described in the previous tip. However, sometimes depending on your goals, consuming the optimal nutrition just from food can be challenging.
Supplements can help us get the required amount of micro- and macronutrients in and can support us in recovery. Supplements that can help support you during your workout and bodybuilding journey include protein shakes, electrolytes, vitamins (like vitamin D), and minerals or amino acids such as NAC for workouts.
If you work with a coach, dietitian, or nutritionist, get their opinion on whether you need a supplement and which one would support you best. They have experience working with different types and brands and will know which one will support you best.
If you don’t have a coach or nutritionist and are unsure whether you are fueling your body correctly with nutrition and supplements, I recommend really doing your research thoroughly because there is a lot of crap out there, a lot of stuff that is ineffective yet expensive all the way to actually being harmful. In fact, if you have doubts I do recommend consulting with an expert. Also, feel free to leave a comment below this article or get in touch with me directly.
Tip No 5: Rest
When you have a specific goal in mind and you are motivated, it may actually be tempting to work out every day of the week and go really hard. Training every day will get you the results faster right?
Well not exactly.
Our body needs rest and for some, that may be hard to hear. Resting helps our bodies recover from whatever strain we put them through. It facilitates the synthesis of new muscle and helps reduce injury which will set us back.
The amount and type of rest you need all depends on the frequency and intensity of your workouts with 1-2 rest days per week being the average amount for strength and fitness athletes.
If you struggle to rest and want to be active opt for stretching or gentle restorative yoga. This will keep you active and gently recover your muscles.
And don’t forget the king of all recovery and rest is simply sleep.
The Top 5 Tips for Women to Get Toned Faster
There you have it: my top 5 toning tips for women to get started.
- Start small.
- Hire a coach.
- Get your nutrition right.
- Supplement correctly.
It may be daunting as a newbie but managing your training program, nutrition, supplementation as well as resting frequently will help you get ripped in no time.
If you are looking for help, take a look at my Build Bullet-Proof Health program. I combined the four essential aspects of fitness: strength, endurance, nutrition, and recovery. I include also these 5 tips and much more.
Or as a good starting point, grab a copy of my Easy 7 Health Habits That Will Change Your Life guide to drastically improve your lifestyle forever.