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Best Total Body Exercise Routine

By Jenna Morris ; Updated July 18, 2017

The best way to tone your body includes variety through cardio exercise, weightlifting, and a proper diet. A toned body requires losing the fat that sits over your muscles, strength training to pump up the muscle you do have, and eating properly so your body is fueled with the best nutrients to help your body recover and run efficiently. Lace up your sneakers and begin to make the most of your time spent at the gym.


Many exercise enthusiasts get stuck in a rut from time to time. The same program on the elliptical machine, the same arm moves with the same weight and reps on the same days of the week are a recipe for stagnation. Your body adapts to stress relatively quickly, and according to the American Council on Exercise, you should change your exercise routine every six to eight weeks. Not only will your body avoid plateaus, but it also will prevent boredom within your workouts and keep you physically challenged. The next time you go for a three-mile jog, mix it up by sprinting every quarter mile, or even taking a new route to encounter new terrain.

Cardiovascular Training

One of the first steps in finding muscle tone in your body is to get rid of excess body fat that's covering your muscles. Cardio is one of the best ways to reduce body fat. For the best results, try keeping your cardio workouts at a high intensity for 20 to 30 minutes. That includes intervals such as sprinting for one minute, then walking moderately for one minute. Spikes in your heart rate will help boost metabolism and torch a ton of calories. But of course, remember to keep your cardio sessions varied. If you do sprints one day on the treadmill, try an group indoor cycling class or jumping rope the next day.

Strength Training

Strength training often gets a bad rap for toning because most people who want to tone want to avoid bulking up. However, your muscles need to be stressed for them to produce any sort of results. The myth of high repetitions, low resistance and long rest periods is not going to get the job done. Your muscles are either going to shrink or grow. It is impossible for them to firm or tone. Therefore, you should perform exercises with weight that challenges you between 8 to 12 repetitions. If you can make it to 13, then you should increase your weight. Keep your rest periods short to maintain a cardiovascular benefit as well. Circuit training and performing compound exercises that include several muscle groups in one exercise will be the most effective way of strength training. Doing this will not only build your muscle, but also increase your metabolism so that you burn more calories after your workout.


Eating properly accounts for more than half of your toning efforts. To tone your body, you should be consuming enough to maintain your weight, or slightly under that. Consuming a low-calorie diet will not provide enough energy for your workouts and will not support the muscle growth you should be encouraging. Your protein intake should account for one gram per pound of body weight, which will also rev up your metabolism. The rest of your calories should be a mix of healthy fats and carbohydrates.

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