Cardio Vs Strength For Toning

Question

Hi Lisa. My issue is not weight loss at all. I weigh only 41kg and have a body fat percentage of 16.3%. My aim is to tone. I feel like I do too much cardio though…I exercise 6 days out of the 7…with as much as 3 days of pure cardio and the one other day cardio mixed with strength. The remaining two days are dedicated to strength. Although I am maintaining my weight and am getting very toned arms and thighs, I want to be toned all over – abs, back, butt, calves, chest. Should I decrease the amount of cardio I do and obviously increase the strength training? Should I use heavier dumbbells/kettle bell/medicine ball? Should I do more days of mixed workouts – 30 minutes cardio 30 minutes strength? I am quite small naturally (1m57cm tall, size 3 shoe…I’m just a small girl)…what can you recommend?

Submitted by Adelaide Motata on 11 September 2013

Answer

In your case, you wouldn’t need much cardio to stay in shape, as it is essentially a calorie-cruncher. Strength exercises with adequate weights are your best bet for ‘toning’ – which essentially means growing muscle and losing fat. Since you don’t have fat to lose, building muscle is your step to more definition. Practise strength sessions 2-3 times s week, with 3 sets of 8-12 reps of each exercise. Your weights should be heavy enough that you struggle, but keep form, on your last few reps. This also needs to be coupled with the correct nutrition, and your post-exercise meals need to be high in protein to refuel and rebuild your muscles. 

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