Toning up muscles and burning fat both lead to a leaner body and a sleeker look. You need to maintain an adequate level of nutrition when you exercise, so do not cut back drastically on calories. Keep enough fuel in your body so that you keep your metabolism levels up, enabling you to burn fat while you build lean muscle mass. Exercise is essential to build muscle, but watching how many calories you eat and maintaining a healthy diet helps. Women naturally have fat stores in their hips and thighs, but abdominal fat is potentially harmful to your health as its presence indicates an increased risk for high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Weigh yourself on an accurate scale, and measure your height. Write down the two numbers. Search the Internet for body mass index (BMI) calculators. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website features a calculator that allows you to enter your height and weight to determine your BMI. Read the result on the website’s calculator to find out if you are a healthy weight, or overweight.
Use information from websites, such as MyPyramid.gov or MayoClinic.com, to determine how many calories you need per day to achieve the health goals you desire. Cut down no more than 500 calories per day to achieve slow steady weight loss, if needed.
Run, swim or participate in other types of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise shapes and strengthens all the major muscles groups in your body, making you look sleeker and leaner. Exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times per week, following the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, as detailed by the CDC.
Perform weight-lifting exercises at least twice each week. Work out the major muscle groups in your legs, arms chest and shoulders. Use weight machines, free weights or your own body to provide resistance. Build lean muscle mass by performing eight to 12 repetitions, repeating each set twice. Do abdominal-strengthening exercises, such as crunches, to strengthen your core muscles.
Eat a diet high in fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid salty or fatty processed food, and keep track of what you eat. Being aware of portion control helps you keep food intake under check.