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KYLIE MUGLESTON — Getting Toned for Summer

It’s that time of the year again – whether it’s a trip with the family to Sam Rayburn, a relaxing day at Village Creek or taking some time to enjoy the poolside, the ever looming “Swimsuit Season” is upon us.

As a personal trainer, one question I’m asked more than anything is, “How do I tone my body for summer?”

While there’s a myriad of ways to answer, the simplest answer is: You can’t.

The “toned” look most people think of when they say that word are misunderstanding what that “look” is. You’re looking to lean down and have muscle definition showing. Simple enough, right?

What if you don’t have muscles to show? What if you’re already “lean” enough, but still don’t have the definition you’re imagining you should have. Or, and I’m guilty of this one myself, maybe you went a little crazy with the craft beer, and need to address a different kind of six pack.

Ask yourself these questions, and try to narrow your own personal goal down to help you achieve your desired physique.

Do you have excess body fat? If so, slimming down through high frequency cardio-intensive exercise should be your first step. High rep weight training will help speed up fat loss, while also building the muscle for you’ll need to achieve the “toned” look.

Cleaning up your nutrition will help the most, though, and the two should be done side by side for faster results. Remember: you can’t out-work a bad diet.

Are you already on the leaner side? You’d benefit most from a high rep, low weight exercise program using your preferred method of resistance training. Up your protein and carb intake significantly – say no to keto! You need the carbs to build your muscles up, and give them the fuel they need to show off your hard work at the beach.

Somewhere in between, and just want to “clean up” your physique? This is called “body recomposition”. You can maintain your current weight and still alter your body fat and muscle mass.

I recommend eating in a caloric deficit between 100 and 300 calories a day. Eating by macros will speed this process up, and there are countless online tools to help you figure those out. As for exercise, if you’re hitting the weights 3 times a week with no dedicated cardio – add in a day or two of short, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) sessions.

You don’t want to eat in too large a deficit, or overdo cardio for this particular goal – losing weight means losing muscle, no matter how much protein you intake.

Unfortunately, there is no “get buff quick” cheat out there in the world. It really is as simple as a clean diet and exercise. However, working smarter and harder is the easiest way to speed things up significantly.

If you follow the general guidelines set here, there is no way you won’t achieve quick results by tuning what you’re doing to your goals.

You should expect some form of results in as little as 3 weeks, and by 6 weeks have achieved much more than if you followed cookie-cutter advice.

Appearance aside, the self-esteem boost, hormonal balancing, and endorphin boosts from exercise and proper nutrition are well worth it. It can be easy to obsess over your body, so take the time to remind yourself it’s for the benefit of every part of you as a person – though, abs are a nice side effect, aren’t they?