Getting Stronger and More Toned

How can I gain muscle and tone up at the same time?


This is the most popular response I hear when I ask someone what their goals are. Almost everyone I speak with that’s trying to get back into a routine of regular exercise and healthy eating says they want more muscle and a leaner body.


So how do you do it?


Gaining Muscle


Building muscle requires a three-part prescription: lifting, protein, and sleep.


Lifting weights: I’m referring here to lifting heavy weights. Real, strenuous lifting is going to build muscle mass, not picking up the 12-lb dumbbell and pressing it overhead 15 times. In general, we want to be lifting weights that can’t be performed more than five reps in a given set. Do this at least five times a week.


Eat protein: Admittedly, this is the hardest step for me — it’s very hard to eat enough protein when you’re trying to gain muscle. If this is your goal, you’re shooting between 1.7 grams – 2.0 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. So if you’re a female weighing in at 160-lbs, strive to eat between 272 grams – 320 grams of protein every day.


Rest: Muscles grow during recovery, and there’s no better recovery practice than sleep. Just do it. You need to sleep at least eight hours a day.


Toning Up


Toning up requires a two-part prescription: hard workouts and eating less food.


Hard workouts: There’s a saying that goes like this: Intensity is the independent variable most commonly associated with favorable adaptation. In other words, bring the intensity to every workout and it will shortcut your way to the health changes you want. If you don’t need to take a walk or sit down after the clock beeps at the end of the workout, you didn’t go hard enough. Waste away your energy on every workout.


Eat less: You need to be losing fat in order to “tone” up. Therefore, get rid of the snacking and candy. This alone usually does the trick.


Can you do these two things simultaneously?



Exercise: Lift heavy weights 5x week in metcons. Reply to this blog and I’ll send you some examples if you need them.


Nutrition: Eat fewer calories, but more protein. If you’re adding 300 calories of protein to your diet in order to reach the 1.7 g – 2.0 g recommendation, take out 350 calories from your diet from the carbs and fats. That way, you’re eating less with more protein.



Consistency is the last ingredient.


Do this every day for at least three weeks, and you’ll start to see a noticeable difference.


We run a lot of 6-week challenges at RxFIT and many of our athletes are down 10-lbs (and stronger) by the third week.


Get to it.




p.s. Schedule a free-help call with my coaching staff here for additional assistance and accountability.

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