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Tips for Toning Up and Building Lean Muscle

For most gym-goers, the ultimate goal of working out and eating healthy is to look and feel your very best. Some would say this only involves losing weight, but most would argue that it’s about achieving a fit body that is lean and toned. Getting that slim, well-defined body we all crave requires time and dedication, but it’s certainly doable if you’re willing to put in the work. For those who are ready to commit to their fitness goals, we’ve got a few incredible tips to help you tone up and build lean muscle. 


Focus on Building, Instead of Just Burning

One of the most common mistakes people make when starting a new fitness routine is focusing only on their weight, rather than body composition. While losing weight can help you appear slimmer, the real thing that makes a difference is your body’s fat and muscle content. Surely, you’ve heard the saying, “muscle weighs more than fat.” While ultimately this isn’t true because a pound equals a pound, the point people are trying to make here is that muscle has more volume than fat. Because of this, less muscle is required to make up an entire pound compared to fat. This is why people who are shedding fat and building muscle appear leaner and more toned, even if the scale hasn’t tipped yet.


Tune into Your Heart Rate

You reap the most benefits from your workout when you’re at the right intensity level. This is where your heart rate comes into play, as it’s the key metric for measuring exercise intensity. Tuning into your heart rate allows you to know when you’ve reached those critical fat burning zones, so you can work on getting lean and toned. We know that cardiovascular exercise is effective when it comes to shedding fat, which is why we’ve incorporated the PULSE Heart Rate Monitor into our workouts to help members know when they’re in the right zones. Our PULSE Point system rewards those who consistently stay in the ideal fat-burning zones (a.k.a. the Green and the Yellow zone) because it helps them achieve maximum results.


Don’t Skip Out on Resistance Training

Losing fat alone is not enough to help you look toned. That’s why it’s important to focus on building lean muscle with resistance training. The key thing to remember when you’re planning your resistance training is that heavier weight is not always necessary, depending on your goals. Doing more repetitions with a lighter amount of weight that is still challenging is going to be more effective for building lean muscle, looking toned, and increasing strength; whereas, lifting heavier weights for fewer repetitions is more likely to increase overall strength and power – which, when combined with a very specific training and nutrition program, can be used for bulking.

There are multiple ways to incorporate resistance training into your fitness routine. At 9Round, we use common weights like dumbbells and medicine balls for resistance training, but we also use heavy kickboxing bags and bodyweight exercises to provide other types of resistance. Our focus is on incorporating enough resistance to challenge our members without making it difficult for them to sustain their movements throughout the entire 3-minute round. This helps increase endurance and aids in fat loss, so our members can work towards achieving that lean and toned body they’ve always wanted.


Get Your Nutrition on Track

As you probably know, food and exercise go hand-in-hand. While our workouts can ultimately help you burn fat and build lean muscle on their own, a nourishing diet is going to take things one step further and help you become even more successful. A fit body is a healthy body, and in order to keep yourself healthy, you’ve got to do more than just exercise. Food is a critical part of what helps you look and feel a certain way, so you’ve got to control what you’re eating in order to control your body.

Focus on eating a well-balanced diet that includes lean proteins, healthy fats, lots of vegetables, and whole grains. Doing so will require you to cut out processed foods as much as possible and to limit the amount of excess sugar you consume. When you’re trying to build lean muscle and tone up, protein is going to be extremely important, especially when it comes to fueling your body before or after a workout. Our 9Round Nutrition Guide has everything you need to learn more about macronutrients, caloric intake, and fueling your body correctly.


If you’re ready to commit to your fitness goals and start getting closer reaching your fitness goals, then come try 9Round for FREE with an Introductory Workout. We can’t wait to kick it with you at your local studio and show you just how incredible kickboxing fitness is for getting lean and toning up!


This is not medical advice. Please speak with your doctor regarding any health concerns and before starting a new workout routine. This article was written in conjunction with our certified 9Round Exercise and Nutrition Specialist, MacKenzie Rowand, CSCS, NASM-CNC.

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