When it comes to toning up after weight loss, everyone has an opinion about what works best. There seems to be a new fitness trend just about every week that promises to be your perfect solution. But if you’re not a fitness expert, it can be tough to know what will truly help you achieve the results you want.
The truth is that while “toning up” is typically associated with increased strength training, it is best achieved through a combination of different types of exercise and quality nutrition. Here we provide some of the most effective ways to tone up this summer:
1. Add Variety to Your Workout Routine
Adding variety isn’t just important to prevent you from getting bored. The best exercise routines are the ones that are constantly changing and challenging you to improve your fitness level. Many exercisers find that simply switching out their usual workout for something new a couple times a week can be the answer they’ve been looking for. It’s not uncommon to enjoy one type of exercise more than another, but with the limitless workout options out there, you’re bound to find plenty of new workouts you enjoy.
For example, the PRISE Protocol developed by Paul Arciero, Ph.D., Director of the Human Nutrition and Metabolism Laboratory at Skidmore College, is based on variety. The PRISE Protocol consists of four different types of workouts with each one performed one day per week (1, 2). The exercise protocol includes a combination of resistance training, interval sprint training, stretching, and endurance training. By incorporating this protocol with protein pacing, athletes were able to better achieve the benefits of exercise with greater reductions in body fat and greater gains in lean muscle mass (3).
2. Prioritize Cleanse Days
People often turn to Cleanse Days for the overall health and weight loss benefits, but for those looking to gain muscle, the idea of fasting might seem counterintuitive. However, as intermittent fasting (IF) makes its way into the spotlight, an increasing amount of research supports IF as an effective way to lose fat while maintaining muscle compared to basic calorie restriction (4).
One study found that during a day of IF (or a Cleanse Day), the body conserves muscle by increasing the use of body fat for fuel and increasing growth hormone levels (5). These findings show that muscle loss is not a concern during Cleanse Days. If anything, making sure to work in regular Cleanse Days might help you achieve faster results.
3. Maximize Results With Protein Pacing
Protein pacing is a nutritional strategy of consuming high-quality protein foods at appropriate times throughout the day to maximize health and performance. The goal is to spread your daily protein intake evenly between four to six small meals, while consuming about 20-30 grams of protein per meal.
Isagenix products, including IsaLean® PRO Shake, IsaPro®, IsaLean Shake, and IsaLean Bars can help to make this nutritional strategy easy to achieve. Research has shown that protein pacing can help you maximize muscle maintenance during weight loss and muscle building when combined with exercise (6).
Dr. Arciero has been a key figure in research on the health and performance effects of protein pacing and has used Isagenix products in his research (1, 2). In a series studies, Dr. Arciero found that research participants who consumed a diet higher in quality protein combined with protein pacing and exercise lost more body weight, more body fat, more abdominal fat, and maintained their lean body mass (1, 2, 6). The study participants were able to achieve these beneficial improvements even though the total calories they consumed were identical to a normal eating pattern.
Through science-backed strategies, toning up couldn’t be easier. You may be surprised by how simple changes can make a big difference. There’s no better time to start shifting focus to what works best for toning up so you can feel your best, and most confident this summer.
- Arciero PJ, Ives SJ, Norton C, Escudero D, Minicucci O, O’Brien G, Paul M, Ormsbee MJ, Miller V, Sheridan C & He F. Protein-Pacing and Multi-Component Exercise Training Improves Physical Performance Outcomes in Exercise-Trained Women: The PRISE 3 Study. Nutrients. 2016 Jun 1; 8(6).
- Ives SJ, Norton C, Miller V, Minicucci O, Robinson J, O’Brien G, Escudero D, Paul M, Sheridan C, Curran K, Rose K, Robinson N, He F & Arciero PJ. Multi-modal exercise training and protein-pacing enhances physical performance adaptations independent of growth hormone and BDNF but may be dependent on IGF-1 in exercise-trained men. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2016 Oct 15. pii: S1096-6374(16)30060-0.
- Arciero PJ, Miller VJ & Ward E. Performance Enhancing Diets and the PRISE Protocol to Optimize Athletic Performance. J Nutr Metab. 2015; 2015:715859.
- Varady KA. Intermittent versus daily calorie restriction: which diet regimen is more effective for weight loss? Obes Rev. 2011 Jul;12(7):e593-601. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00873.x. Epub 2011 Mar 17.
- Horne BD, et al. Usefulness of routine periodic fasting to lower risk of coronary artery disease among patients undergoing coronary angiography. Am J Cardiol 2008 Oct 1;102(7):814-81.
- Arciero PJ, Gentile CL, Martin-Pressman R, Ormsbee MJ, Everett M, Zwicky L & Steele CA. Increased dietary protein and combined high intensity aerobic and resistance exercise improves body fat distribution and cardiovascular risk factors. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006 Aug; 16(4):373-92.