How to improve muscle tone and strength

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Lots of people struggle with muscle tone and strength, especially as they get older and muscles lose that elasticity to stay in shape.

If we look at firstly strengthening a muscle it is important to know that muscles are made of millions of fibres that slide and work together to contract. How many fibres are actually engaged and working in a muscle determines how well it contracts, lifts, pushes, pulls etc.. To strengthen a muscle we must make it work beyond it’s current level so that it engages more muscle fibres, becomes more dense and works more effectively.

I have a saying that when you do strength work, you must complete 5 more repetitions after the burn. If you do this you’ll be recruiting more fibres and thus strengthening the muscle.

Where a lot of people go wrong is that they don’t lift enough weight and they are inconsistent with hitting that muscle regularly to keep it working.

Let’s take a common exercise such as the squat.
If you can do more than 30 bodyweight squats then you have got a good base leg strength. To improve your leg strength further, you need to supercharge it up and make it a weighted squat. When you add more weight, you will need to decrease the repetitions as the burn factor will happen sooner. So your 30 bodyweight squats may turn into 15 weighted squats.

Consistency counts when it comes to developing strength.
As an example, your weekly program using the squat for leg strength should look something like this.
Day 1: 3 x 15 weighted squats
Day 2: 3 x 30 bodyweight squats
Day 3: Rest & stretch
Day 4: 3 x 10 weighted squats, 10 bodyweight squats
Day 5: 3 x 15 weighted squats
Day 6: Rest & stretch
Day 7: 50 x bodyweight squats

Want to see a weighted squat demo.

See how we are doing a combination of weighted and body weight squats which works strength and muscular endurance. We also make sure to hit that muscle group within 48hrs after we work it.

Toning a muscle, which basically relates to how it is revealed on your body and whether you can see the muscle, is a combination of strength, diet and body fat. The less fat you have over the muscle the more it will appear defined. To burn fat to a healthy body weight you need strength, cardio and a great diet.

Cardio is any type of exercise that elevates the heart rate. It can be things like running, walking, cycling, swimming, step ups, burpees, rowing or any other type of cardio gym machine. Your diet is absolutely critical when it comes to making sure your body is a healthy, fat burning machine. I highly recommend both the paleo and ketogenic diet as healthy, nutritious and effective ways to kick your body into fat burning mode.

If you’d like to hear more about the ketogenic diet then click the link below to listen to my Power Chat with Stacey Curcio, our wiz bang foodie chick from Cultivating Wellness.

Take a squiz at the ketogenic meal plan created by Stacey as a guide to get you started. It’s easier than you think and focuses on real food that satisfies you. Nothing extreme!

Ketogenic Meal Plan – Download PDF Here

If you’d like more guidance and support with your fitness program, overall health and diet then check out our virtual health and fitness program designed for anyone, living anywhere at any fitness level.
Joy’s Fitness Hub is not just another overcomplicated online program. It’s simple, effective, fun and supportive.
Yes you get to speak to a real person every step of the way.
Everyone needs a coach to get humming and I’d love to be yours.

Catch you soon