If you want to tone your muscles quickly and have more explosive strength, follow a diet and exercise program that will help you gain strength and muscle mass.
Part 1 of 4: Creating an Effective Exercise Program
Step 1. Set a realistic exercise routine
Set goals that you can achieve and find out what you want to achieve through bodybuilding. This goal should be very concrete: getting your body mass index (BMI) down to a certain number, losing a certain amount of pounds, having a defined abdomen, and so on.
- If you've never exercised or are returning to the gym after a long time, take it easy at first. You won't tone up quickly if you work out to exhaustion or if you develop injuries.
- Without a consistent exercise routine, results can take even longer to show up. So be patient and exercise regularly.
- Focus on your strength, not how much muscle you want to gain. Increasing your strength allows your body to make better use of muscle fibers, which in turn allows for a faster change in your physique.
- It's important to set a realistic exercise schedule as it's the fastest way to toning your body. Men can gain up to 900 g of muscle mass per month; women, 450 g. However, these numbers can only be reached by exercising consistently, five or six days a week.
Step 2. Determine your current situation and set your goals
When designing your exercise schedule, be realistic and consider how much free time you have. Some people can only train for 30 minutes a day; others have more time but fewer days available. Find a formula that meets your needs.
- Knowing how much time you can devote to training will help you design an exercise program that prioritizes muscle gain. Training regularly causes your body to stay longer in an anabolic state, during which muscle growth is accelerated.
- Try to train three to five times a week. If you have a few days off, try doing longer workouts, about 75 minutes.
- Assess your current fitness and experience. If you've never done weight training, avoid injuries by devoting more of your schedule to light exercise at first.
- People who have never done weight training will notice results more quickly at first, as their bodies are not used to physical exertion and muscle regeneration. After this initial period, however, the pace of muscle gain stabilizes. But don't abandon your exercise program just to get quick results again in the future.
Step 3. Exercise your whole body
The fastest way to get a toned body is to train multiple muscle groups at once. Remember to create a weekly exercise routine that involves all parts of the body. Alternating the type of workout is also important: always lifting the same weights or running the same 2 miles every other day will not provide quick results. On the other hand, training several muscle groups at the same time is a way to stimulate them more often, resulting in faster growth.
- This doesn't mean that you should always work out your whole body, but that your weekly exercise program should involve all muscle groups.
- Define a weekly exercise program that includes all muscle groups. Someone who can only exercise three days a week, for example, must follow a training routine similar to this:
- On the first day, work your chest, shoulders and triceps.
- On the second day, work your back and biceps.
- On the third day, work your legs or do some aerobic exercise (running, going up and down stairs, etc.).
- Get enough rest. The key to success is to work each region of the body on the right days and get plenty of sleep. The building of lean mass takes place at the cellular level: in periods of rest, muscles regenerate from the tension they were subjected to during exercise by fusing muscle fibers together.
Part 2 of 4: Doing the Proper Exercises
Step 1. Exercise correctly
Do not lift weights more than five times a week. This habit can lead to a condition of overtraining (in which the individual's performance decreases as a result of excessive training) and to develop injuries, which would impede his progress.
- For the first two weeks, focus on gaining strength. This means that you should lift heavier weights, do fewer reps, and rest for two minutes between each set to avoid muscle fatigue. When you start to gain muscle mass, start exercising more intensely (with lighter weights and doing more reps) in order to tone and hypertrophy your muscles at the same time. When using smaller weights, rest time should be 1 minute.
- Do not overtrain as this slows down your muscle growth. Trying to speed up the process will only make you too exhausted to work out properly. In men, a diligent exercise plan can promote a gain of 225 g of lean mass per week; in women, 225 g every two weeks.
- You can do aerobic exercise every day if you like - and they're especially important for anyone who wants to lose fat quickly. Since the practice of aerobic exercise is exhausting, do it only after weight training - never before - to get the best possible performance.
Step 2. Follow your exercise plan to the letter to continue losing fat and gaining muscle efficiently
Remember that all muscle groups should be worked throughout the week, with specific days for each. As you progress, incorporate different and advanced exercises into your training. If you want quick results, you should make your exercise routine challenging.
- In the beginning, add 2.5 kg to the load you lift once a week. To get used to the increased load, do an extra set of exercises on the last day of the week.
- If you work out chest, triceps, and shoulders on Monday and Thursday, work out your back and biceps on Tuesday and Friday. Set aside Wednesday for leg workouts and aerobic exercise.
- Define a training plan that suits your fitness and goals. Those who want to hypertrophy and strengthen their muscles, should vary the number of repetitions according to the type of exercise. As a beginner, do a low number of reps (5~8) with heavy weights on the first day, and a higher number of reps (12~15) with lighter weights on the second. Repeat the process for each muscle group.
- By diversifying the weight and number of repetitions, you prevent your muscles from performing the movements "on instinct" and force them to adapt to each variation of the exercise, promoting an accelerated strength gain.
- Remember that you can and should increase your load once each week. This is also true for the days of the week when you lift the least weight.
Step 3. In order for your program to have a good proportion of aerobic exercise, spend the weekend on them
They will help you feel more up to date in the beginning of the week.
- For more energy, reserve weekends for swimming, bodyweight exercises, yoga or a few miles of jogging.
- Many people believe that aerobic training, by driving the body into a catabolic state, burns fat and muscle. On the contrary: between 30 and 45 minutes per week provide muscle mass gain. This is because it increases the number of capillaries inside the muscles, facilitating the circulation of oxygen and nutrients and allowing for faster recovery. All these factors are conducive to muscle mass gain.
Step 4. Don't be afraid to ask for help
Most gyms have trainers who can help you design a diet and exercise plan that suits your needs. Coaches also teach the correct way to perform each move and help their students stay focused.
Step 5. Exercising under the supervision of an instructor increases your workout performance and efficiency
- In addition, your trainer should monitor your progress, help you stick to a balanced diet, and advise you to get adequate hydration and rest time.
- When we reach a goal, we feel physically and mentally rewarded. With hard work, a healthy diet and the rest you need, you'll get the body you've always wanted.
Part 3 of 4: Getting Started with an Intensive Four-Week Plan
Step 1. To tone up your body quickly, try following a four-week plan
The exercises should be challenging and involve all muscle groups. During this period, do not exercise sessions longer than 45 minutes to avoid excessive production of cortisol - which, when abundant in the body, poses health risks, affects sleep, digestion and mood.
- In this exercise program, you should rest between 60 and 90 seconds between each set.
- To get the best out of this program, you should exercise for two days and rest for one. This frequency makes the body unable to "guess" the days you train and forces you to adapt.
- The weight you use depends on your fitness and what exercises you plan to do. Choose a weight that makes the exercise challenging but not completely exhausting.
- Such an exercise routine is suitable for beginners. Once you've completed it, start practicing a different routine so you don't slow down your progress.
Step 2. Exercise arms and abdomen on the first day
The first day involves from simple sit-ups to unilateral curls with an elastic band. Do a maximum of two sets of each exercise listed below.
- Sit-ups. a set of 20 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Sit-ups on Pilates Ball. 1 set of 15~20 repetitions. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Elevation of legs. 1 set of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Simultaneous elevation of legs and trunk. Perform at least 10 moves and keep going until you don't get any more. Do just one set and rest for 60 seconds.
- Hammer thread. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- French triceps sitting. 2 sets of 8 to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Scott thread with bar. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- French triceps with rubber band. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Inverted thread. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- One-sided thread with elastic. Perform at least 10 moves and keep going until you don't get any more. Do just one set and rest for 60 seconds.
- Unilateral triceps on pulley. Perform at least 10 moves and keep going until you don't get any more. Do just one set and rest for 60 seconds.
Step 3. Exercise legs and forearms on the second day
This involves squats, curls and flexors. Do at least 2 sets of each exercise below.
- Squat. For more freedom of movement and to minimize the risk of injury, do the barbell exercise instead of using the machine. Do two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Leg press. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Advance with bar. Perform the common advance movement and use the bars to increase the difficulty of the exercise. Do two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- Extender. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Flexor. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Leg curls lying down. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Inclined squats. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Plantar flexion. Perform at least 10 moves and keep going until you don't get any more. Do just one set and rest for 60 seconds.
- Reversed wrist thread. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Handle thread. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
Step 4. Exercise the chest and shoulders on the fourth day
After resting on the third day, work your chest and shoulders with bench press and deltoid exercises.
- Inclined bench press with open grip. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Straight bench press with open grip. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Parallel bars. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Triceps bench press. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Upright crucifix with elastic. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Frontal development with dumbbells. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- High row with barbell. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Front lift with dumbbells. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Front lift with bar. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Side elevation with torso leaning forward. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Front lift with elastic. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Side elevation. Perform at least 10 moves and keep going until you don't get any more. Just do one set.
Step 5. Exercise your back and calves on the fifth day
Now you should work your back with rows and pulls. It is possible to exercise the calves with a series of plantar push-ups.
- Inclined row with dumbbells. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- Pronated front pull with open grip. 2 sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- Pull over. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- Front pull supinated with open grip. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- Padded with rubber band. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 90 seconds.
- One-way dumbbell row. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Seated plantar flexion. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
- Standing plantar flexion. Two sets of eight to 12 reps. Rest for 60 seconds.
Part 4 of 4: Following the Proper Diet
Step 1. Evaluate your diet.
Before you can grow your muscles, you need to be sure that your diet will give you the energy you need to get through your exercise routine. Your body needs a healthy, planned diet to amplify lean mass gain.
- Supplements, as their name suggests, should play a secondary role in your diet. Whether you use them or not is up to you, but they will only offer benefits if you eat properly, stick to your exercise plan, and get enough sleep and rest.
- Prefer natural foods that provide a lot of energy and minimize the time for muscle regeneration. Onions, blueberries and pepper are excellent for the brain. Quinoa, turkey and asparagus contain nutrients such as folic acid and manganese, which regulate mood. Tofu, broccoli and chicory burn fat and have essential protein and vitamins. Fish, meat and avocados help to gain muscle mass, have an antioxidant effect and provide the fat you need.
- The foods mentioned above help to tone the body because their components speed up post-workout recovery, in addition to providing the necessary proteins for strength gain.
Step 2. Consume satisfying servings of protein, fat and calories
Cutting calories is useful for those interested in losing weight, but not for those who want to tone up quickly - after all, it's carbohydrates that get you energy for exercise. If you try to exercise without being "fueled", the results will take some time to come. And the adequate consumption of proteins amplifies the gain in muscle mass, since they are the material used by muscles to build new tissue.
- The high consumption of calories leads the body to an anabolic state, in which the tissues direct their energy to the synthesis of new cells and the maintenance of existing ones. Without the proper amount of calories, your body will not go into an anabolic state, crippling your progress. To calculate how many calories you should be consuming per day, multiply your body weight by a number between 22 and 26 (depending on your fitness) and add between 1000 and 1500 to the result.
- Carbohydrates play the same role in the body that gasoline plays in a car. Exercising "unfueled" makes your bodybuilding results more discreet (and maybe null). The more carbohydrates you consume, the higher your levels of glycogen (a substance that prevents your body from extracting energy from protein). What's more, they produce insulin, a hormone that doubles muscle synthesis: first, because it reduces muscle cell breakdown; second, because it increases blood circulation, essential for lean mass gain.
- If implemented correctly in your diet, protein can be the determining factor in the success of your exercise program. The golden rule is to ingest daily 4.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight. Red meat, chicken, fish, whey and egg whites are excellent sources of protein.
- Eating the right fats is also important for gaining lean mass. Beneficial fats such as omega 3 stimulate the production of testosterone - another important muscle-building substance. Without the right nutrients, weight training or any type of exercise will be inefficient for lean mass gain, since the body will not have material to synthesize new tissues.
Step 3. Eat several small meals throughout the day
For someone who lifts 90 kg and who wants to tone their body quickly, a daily intake of 4000 calories is recommended. If this amount were distributed over three meals, each meal would have 1300 calories. More meals, therefore, equate to less caloric servings and more energy throughout the day.
- 4000 calories a day divided into six meals equals 660 calories per meal, which is not a lot. You can reach this value with 1 chicken breast, ½ cup of brown rice tea, 2 cups of assorted vegetable tea and, for dessert, some almonds.
- Smaller, more frequent meals force the body to spend more time producing insulin, the most anabolic hormone in the human body. The more insulin, the faster you'll reach your goals (provided you stick to your diet and exercise program).
- Eating slow-absorbing carbohydrates (such as rice and noodles) before working out keeps blood glucose levels stable. Thus, you will be able to train longer and with more intensity without getting exhausted.
- In order for your body to recover and build muscle, eat a meal high in protein and fast-absorbing carbohydrates after exercise.
Step 4. Refrain from fast food and any food with a lot of sugar or sodium
Excessive intake of carbohydrates is very bad, as the body uses them as an energy source before fats.
- When the body does not burn the energy obtained from carbohydrates, they are converted to fat soon after consumption. Prefer foods with beneficial fats (such as fish), protein and fiber.
- Multivitamins also help keep you fit and are beneficial to your overall health.
Step 5. Eat proper meals before and after training
Ingest protein before and after you exercise to increase your ability to regenerate and synthesize muscle mass. Consuming at least 2 g of protein per kilogram of your total weight daily encourages your body to produce more lean mass.
- Egg whites, grapes and oats are rich in protein. Recommended for the pre-workout meal.
- Although poultry and fish have protein, lean red meat is more efficient for those who want to gain muscle mass quickly.
- Beef, zucchini and wholegrain noodles have a good amount of protein and provide a feeling of fullness. They are recommended for the post-workout meal.
- A gym partner can help you exercise correctly and stay motivated.
- Set a reasonable goal - for example, losing weight or being able to run longer distances. When you do it, you'll feel good about yourself and the sense of accomplishment that will spur you on to your next goal.
- For faster results, increase your load once a week.
- Remember to take a few days off, as overtraining decreases performance and is detrimental to health.
- Vary the exercises as your body becomes more toned. Performing movements that your muscles are unfamiliar with requires them to adapt and push harder, strengthening them faster.
- The rate at which you will notice results depends on your fitness, age, gender, and other factors. Don't be discouraged if the changes you expect don't come early. Keep respecting your exercise program.