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Slim and Tone without Gaining Muscle Weight

You want to slim and tone, so you're eating right and working out. But how can you slim and tone while avoiding gaining muscle weight?

Dietary Concerns

In order to create a toned body, your muscles will need to be visible. For most of us, that means losing some body fat. No matter how toned your muscles are, if they're covered with a layer of fat, they will not appear to be toned.

So, how should you eat? Basically, eat a low fat, high protein diet. Good protein sources include lean meats such as fish and chicken, and nuts.

Load up on fruits and vegetables. These foods contain few calories, yet they are high in fiber, so that they create a feeling of fullness and will help you avoid overeating. Also drink plenty of water in order to keep your muscles hydrated, so that they can be worked most effectively when you exercise.

Choose your carbohydrates wisely. You need carbs for the energy they provide, but avoid simple carbohydrates such as white flour and sugar. Aim for choices with whole grains.

Eating wisely will help you reduce your body fat percentage and will help you slim.

Weight Training

Once you've begun slimming, you can focus on toning as well. Exercise using weights. This may sound surprising, but you should use weights even if you want to avoid gaining muscle weight. The key is to use free weights such as dumbbells. In order to tone, use light to medium weights and do many repetitions of an exercise. Training using higher numbers of repetitions ("reps") trains your body to burn fat for fuel, leading to a leaner, more toned body.

Add Intensity

Once you have found a weight-bearing exercise routine that works for you, push yourself a bit. Have you been doing 20 reps of each move? Push yourself to do 25, then 30. This extra effort is what will help you tone your muscles. You need to push yourself beyond your current capacity, because this is what will signal your body to make a positive change.

Bulking up and gaining muscle weight is not a realistic concern for most women, because they have low levels of testosterone, the muscle building hormone. Without sufficient testosterone, most women are actually unable to build bulky muscles. So train without worry!

Yoga, Pilates, Ballet...

When you're trying to slim and tone without gaining muscle weight, think outside the box. Don' just consider weight bearing workouts; there are other great options.

Yoga, pilates and ballet all offer workouts that will encourage development of a lean, toned body. They do this by movements emphasizing balance, strengthening the body's core and stretching, which will lengthen and tone your muscles. If working out with weights doesn't appeal to you, try a yoga, pilates or dance class.

A slim, toned body won't happen overnight. But with a proper diet and smart exercising, you can build a body that you will feel proud of.

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