Q: I don't necessarily need to lose weight, but I do want to look fit and toned! What should I be doing?
A: First, I want to commend you for taking such a logical approach to changing your body. In my opinion, your body's composition (muscle vs. fat) is much more important than the number on the scale. I always show my female clients a replica of what 1 pound of lean muscle looks like compared to 1 pound of fat. They look completely different, with the pound of fat taking up way more space than the pound of muscle.
Consider this real-life example: Say I have two female clients. "Client A" is 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, and is 18-percent body fat (so she has 23.4 pounds of body fat), and "client B" is also 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighs 130 pounds, and has 32-percent body fat (so she has 41.6 pounds of body fat). These two women are going to look drastically different, even though they weigh the exact same amount in pounds and are the exact same height.
Hence if you want to get fit and toned, don't be too concerned with the scale and focus on the composition of your body, especially if you're after that lean and sexy look. Try the workout on the next page, which has been modified from my book, Ultimate You, and is designed to help you shed excess body fat, elevate your metabolism, and increase your overall muscle tone.
How it works: By incorporating a technique called metabolic resistance-training circuits, you maximize your time at the gym. With this style of training, you will perform one set of the first exercise, rest for the pre-determined amount of time, then move onto the next exercise and so on. Once you've completed one set of each exercise in the circuit, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat the entire circuit one to three more times, depending on your current fitness level. Complete the workout three times per week on non-consecutive days (for example, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays).
Choose a weight (load) that is challenging and that allows you to perform the minimum required repetitions with perfect form but no more than the maximum number of repetitions. If you can't do the minimum number of reps, lower the resistance or adjust the exercise in order to make it slightly easier (i.e. table push ups instead of regular push ups). If you can achieve the maximum number of repetitions, try increasing the resistance or adjusting the exercise to make it slightly more difficult.
A few more program notes: During weeks 1-2, rest for 30 seconds between exercises. In weeks 3-4, use 15 seconds rest between exercises. Always take the full 2 minutes after completing the entire circuit. If you start out performing just two sets of the circuit in week 1, add a third round of the circuit in week 2 or 3. If you are able to perform all four rounds of the circuit during week 1, try reducing the rest periods between exercises each week, while also increasing the resistance.
Get the workout now!