Cardio and interval workouts burn a high number of calories.
Toning or slimming isn't just a single body process but rather the result of both a lowering of body fat percentage and an increase in lean muscle. Therefore, your workout plan needs to include exercises that burn a high number of calories to help you lose fat and exercises that are designed to increase muscular tone. As long as you simultaneously follow a healthy eating plan, workouts that feature cardio and strength training exercises will help you tone and slim.
To lose a pound of fat, you've got to burn 3,500 more calories than you consume, which is why cardio is an important element to weight loss success. The higher the intensity of your cardio workout, the more calories it will burn. In addition, according to the American Council on Exercise, high-intensity cardio keeps your metabolic rate elevated after you're finished with your workout, which means you'll continue to burn more calories even after you're done with your session. MayoClinic.com recommends getting in 150 minutes of moderate cardio, or 75 minutes of vigorous cardio, every week to maintain your weight. Losing weight may require as much as twice that much -- 300 minutes of moderate or 150 minutes of high-intensity cardio.
Weight Training at the Gym
The lean muscle you build from weight training increases your metabolic rate, because your body has to use more calories to build and maintain that tissue. Incorporate two weight training workouts per week into your regimen and complete one to two sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. Select a weight that causes your muscles to become fatigued at the end of each set. Work all the major muscle groups with a workout consisting of chest press, shoulder press, lat pulldown, biceps curls, triceps extensions, squats, hamstring curls, calf raises, crunches and back extensions.
Outdoor Interval Circuits
A park or school playground and your own body weight are all you need for a full-body interval circuit workout. The workout involves completing exercises in short, high-intensity bouts. For example, you complete one set of an exercise like pushups and then move right into a set of jump squats. Workouts typically consist of both strength training -- such as pushups, pullups, bench dips, body weight squats and lunges -- as well as cardio-based activities, such as sprints, burpees, jump rope, jumping jacks and jump squats. As a result, you burn a high number of calories while simultaneously building lean muscle. Complete this battery of 10 exercises twice, performing each one for 50 seconds each and giving yourself 10 seconds to move to the next exercise.
At-Home Toning Workout
If you lack the time to get to the gym and weather's keeping you from exercising outside, you can do a toning workout consisting of strictly body-weight exercises inside your home. The American Council on Exercise recommends a 30-minute full-body workout featuring pushups, crunches, body-weight squats, contralateral limb raises, dirty dog, lunges, front plank, glute bridge and side plank. Perform eight to 15 repetitions of each exercise, except for front and side planks, which should be held for five to 20 seconds.