How to Tone Your Muscles: Diet, Routine, and Tips

November 03, 2022

Muscle toning is one of the most common goals in gyms, along with weight loss and muscle mass gain. But, when it comes to approaching the objectives, we often make mistakes.

These mistakes can be related to unrealistic fitness goals, incorrect nutrition, or an incorrect approach to physical training.

What is muscle toning?

Muscle toning means reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass. 

Having a toned body is not only about burning fat. It is necessary to avoid losing the muscle you already have, as well as gain more muscle mass.

Combining a proper diet and physical exercise focused on toning your muscles are the keys to obtaining a lean, toned body. However, it's crucial to maintain optimal health while undergoing a muscle toning process. 

Is it possible to tone muscles without increasing volume?

It is difficult to tone muscles without increasing muscle volume because any form of weight lifting will inevitably increase muscle mass, therefore volume, to some degree. 

Nevertheless, muscle toning won't give you a bodybuilder body, that's more the job of bulking routines. 

Nutrition experts say it is possible to achieve toned muscles without gaining much volume: with frequent meals, moderate cardio exercise, reduced carbohydrate intake, increased protein consumption, and resistance workouts.

It is often women who want to tone their muscles without increasing volume, which also satisfies aesthetic criteria: they prefer a defined but slim body.

The first step is to act against flaccidity and reduce volume, but it is not the only task to be performed. In fact, a thin person who eliminates the fat layer will have a shapeless muscular structure.

When performing strength training, we load weight that increases the tension in the fibers. This produces micro-tears that will give rise to new, healthier, and stronger ones. But this does not necessarily mean reaching large volumes.

How to have a toned body?

In case you're wondering: yes, it is possible to tone your muscles quickly, depending on where you start from and how much time you devote to it.

For example, if you have never worked out in your life, it will take some time to gain well-toned muscles. Of course, you will have to do regular anaerobic physical activity and take care of your diet. Let's take a look at some key points essential for healthy muscle toning. 

Foods for muscle toning

This isn't a surprise: a muscle-toning diet must be healthy and balanced. Pursue health before aesthetics, because if you are persistent, you will end up feeling good about your image in the end. 


Proteins are crucial for muscle tissue formation, so it is recommended to consume fish and white meat several times a week. Red meat, such as beef, should be limited to once a week unless your goal is bulking muscle mass. 

Fruits and vegetables

Consume fruits and veggies several times a day. Spinach, avocado, bananas, and, in general, vegetables with low glycemic index are recommended for muscle toning. 


You can eat healthy carbs such as quinoa and oatmeal or rice. Always choose carbs with a low glycemic index, little or no saturated fats, and no cholesterol.

Routine to define the body

First block

Pull-ups. This exercise works the back and biceps. It is performed suspended from a platform and bending your elbows to lift yourself up so that your head exceeds the horizontal line where you have your hands.

Military press. Tones shoulders and triceps. It is a shoulder press in which you must raise the barbell or dumbbells from the chest and upwards until your hands are entirely stretched over your head.

Deadlift. Stimulates glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Performed from the floor, bending the knees to lift the barbell with weights. Be sure to keep your back straight.

Second block:

Rowing. The position is similar to the dead weight, but it is performed horizontally.

Bench press/push-ups. You can perform the exercise on a bench and make horizontal barbell movements above the chest. Or you can do the classic push-up.

Squats. You should do squats with weight and lower your glutes as much as possible for more effect. 

Other tips for muscle toning

The greatest trick to getting a toned body is perseverance. You need to establish healthy habits and work on the psychological aspect of your workout and wellbeing. 

Write down some tips related to emotional and mental health:

Work on anxiety 

Anxiety is the best ally of binge eating. To avoid this, learn to chase away negative thoughts, connect with people around you, do activities you enjoy, solve problems, and get plenty of rest. Going to therapy is helpful.

Take it as a long-distance race

You don't have to lose 10, 15, or 20 pounds and then start toning. Start with shedding a pound, and then another, and another, and so on. Slowly, without rushing, and setbacks. 

A healthy mind in a healthy body

The ideal way to achieve your goals is to feel good about yourself and be confident. Practices such as meditation, mindfulness, or yoga can help.

Final Word

Muscle toning helps to reaffirm and reshape, which favors an image according to the beauty canons that will reinforce your self-esteem. But it also reactivates the metabolism, improves stamina, and prevents injuries, among other benefits.