Sometimes you might think that exercising or trying to bulk up is stupid. Maybe you feel like you’re as skinny as a stick, and you don’t like how you look. You want to learn how to tone your body.
People might tell you you’re too skinny. In your head, you might think to yourself that you’re blessed because you don’t have to look buff. You naturally have a small frame. You’ll think to yourself there’s no point in working out if you’re already “healthy” as in not fat. I naturally have a lanky frame, and in the past, I didn’t like how unhealthy I looked in the mirror. Yes, I wasn’t overweight but I still looked weak and “skinny-fat.”
As a runner, it’s simply impossible to build up my frame to look bulky. A runner would have to eat an insane amount of calories to consistently bulk up and get their cardio in. You’re already burning so much fat with the daily routine of running miles and miles.
This doesn’t mean you have to accept the fact that you’ll look unhealthy as a super skinny guy. You just have to learn how to tone your body.
If you want to maintain your “lean” look but add some muscle to look healthy there are three basic exercises to follow. These exercises can be used simply to maintain your fitness or add some quality tone to your frame. Other than a pull-up bar you can buy at target, you don’t need to be at a gym for these exercises. They don’t take much time, and they’re fundamental to building up your body.
The next time you head out to the store you should purchase a pull-up bar already if you don’t have one. In fact, if you decide to skip the rest of this article knowing that you should buy one, you’ll know how to tone your body more than most people.
The classic pull-up develops your back and core as you move your own body weight. Follow the Recon Ron Pull-up program to keep a consistent routine going with you. You need to simply stick to one row on the program and follow the program 6 days a week. Take Sunday off to recover and then move on to the next level.
The no-brainer exercise to include in any list of fitness routine. Personally, I focus on doing decline push ups as opposed to a regular flat position. The decline pushup targets your upper pecs more and increases the effort you need to make it a full upper body workout. As the same with the Pull-Up routine, focus on following a routine 6 days a week and take Sunday off to recover.
Start off with 4 sets of 25 rep decline push ups every day and work up from there.
Consistency is key for such a simple exercise, and it’s the golden rule for how to tone your body as well. If you do 50 pushups one day and then take two or three days off you’ll get nowhere. Even if you don’t want to start off with 4 sets of 25 push-ups, at least use your commercial breaks during T.V to get some push ups in.
It’s not like your waiting for the commercials to come on while you watch T.V
If you don’t have a bar it’s fine to just stick to body weight squats. You can’t ignore your legs when you workout. Why would you build up all of your upper body strength if you can’t properly carry it all? You’ll look like an idiot if your upper body is all muscular, but your legs are like twigs.
Use proper form with squats and focus on sticking your butt out and using your legs. The form is especially critical with squats. I used to position my feet like a duck and I would wobble as I did a rep.
Keep your feet shoulder width apart and bend until your hamstrings are parallel to the floor. Squats also help you recover from a hard running workout because they promote human growth hormone to flow throughout your body. It increases your recovery and raises testosterone.
The magic that brings these exercises together…
Everyone knows these fundamental strength training techniques for how to tone your body. To fully achieve a lean, athletic, strong, look you have to combine intense cardio sessions into your routine. Most importantly, you need to stay committed and consistent with your efforts.
Intense cardio examples:
- Intense swimming sprints in a lap pool
- Running at a minimum of 4 miles every day with a HARD effort
- Actively dancing or playing basketball for an hour (again with a HARD effort)
Intense cardio will help keep your body weight low; plus it feels great to break out a sweat. If you put in the half-hearted effort there’s no way you’ll earn quality stunning results. Go hard until you can’t move, and then work even harder if you truly want to witness how to tone your body.
Knock out the cardio first thing in the morning and then finish off with push ups, pull ups, squats
It’s a very simple formula. The bulk of your training will be in the running, swimming, whichever you choose etc. Supplement these basic strength training exercises to add some tone to your core.
My morning routine:
- Wake up early in the morning
- Get my run in and finish with a hard effort
- Knock out pull ups
- Knock out push ups
- Finish off with squats
Some extra things I do on the side include:
- Eating right: avoiding unnecessary fat foods, eating a lot of fruit, chicken, rice, eggs
- Drinking water: I can’t remember the last time I drank a full soda can by myself
- Daily core exercises: Don’t make it complicated. Look up on YouTube intense ab exercises and use it as a cherry on top of my three basic workout routines
- Muscle Milk: After running my body is begging for nutrients so I grab Muscle Milk and drink it right away to replenish.
If you have no workout routine at all what so ever, it’s best to stick to this simple routine for now (side note, some giant dudes make up their plan on the go and do just fine). Depending on your effort it can be used to simply maintain fitness, or add some tone to your body.
You’ll get nowhere if you do these exercises 3 days a week. Consistency is key. Use your rest day (Sunday’s the best) to do whatever you want and take a break from it all.
Get your workout out of the way and remember to stay consistent with 125% effort. At the very least go out and purchase a pull-up bar right now, and use it whenever you walk through your doorway. Remember the bulk of this routine is through your intense cardio. You’ll stay in shape and stay lean.
This isn’t a fairytale magic formula to get ripped routine. Only consistent effort and time will bring out your results.