On recovery days, yoga is an excellent way to stretch tense muscles.
It is possible to get a toned body in 21 days with the right training and healthy eating. According to the American Heart Association, a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise per week is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To get the full benefit, you must include two major components in your exercise routine -- cardio and strength training. If you exercise five times a week and take two days to let your body recover, you can have a toned physique in a matter of weeks.
To reach your goal by 21 days, you will need a consistent cardio routine. Cardio exercise can be anything that gets your heart rate up for more than 10 minutes at a time. Swimming, biking, jogging and aerobics classes are all examples of moderate-intensity cardio exercise that is necessary to burn fat and tone muscle. Your cardio exercise should be at least 30 minutes long and before you strength train. You should do three to five days of 30-minute cardio sessions a week to burn the fat necessary to build muscle.
Upper Body Strength Training
Two to three upper body sessions a week will have your arms, chest and back toned in no time. Have a consistency of two to three exercises for each muscle group -- tricep extensions, bicep curls, chest press, upright rows and lateral raises. Switch your routine up each day you work these muscle groups. Use benches for tricep dips, free weights for chest presses and upright rows and cables for biceps curls and lateral raises. As your strength increases, add more weight to your sets and repetitions.
Lower Body Strength Training
You should train your lower body two or three days out of the week. You can train them on the same day as your upper body or on opposite days that you are not training the upper body. If you are worried about overtraining, exercise this muscle group on opposite days of upper body. Your lower body includes quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and inner and outer thighs. A well-rounded lower body workout will include calf raises with machine or dumbbells, squats with dumbbells, leg press machine, front and side lunges with weights, hamstring curls with a stability ball and side-lying leg lifts.
Strengthening Your Core
Your lower back, glutes, hip flexors and abs make up your core. If you don't practice having a strong core, you will have difficulty getting the results you want. Having a strong core means improved flexibility, range of motion and increased stability and balance. A core routine can be done on days that you train either your upper and lower body, but if you worry about overtraining, train your core every other day to allow time for those muscles to recover. An example of core exercise would be a crunches and side crunches on a stability ball, back extension on a bench or stability ball, front and side planks and hip extensions and bridges.