Although my primary focus is physical therapy, my background in exercise and athletics leads to me receiving many general questions by my patients regarding their fitness. The most common question I get is “How do I tone my abs?” The answer is so simple. Do resistance exercises to firm or grow the muscle, and do some dieting to lose the fat tissue. You CANNOT do crunches to lose fat around your midsection. You CANNOT do triceps exercises to lose the fat around your arms. Your body uses fat storage as energy when its other energy supplies have been depleted. You CANNOT target the area in your body where it will use the fat for energy.
The other comment I get (especially from women), is that they don’t want to lift weights because they don’t want to get too big. Simply put, if you exercise with weights, you will firm your muscle, but not necessarily grow your muscle. Your muscles need to be fed, and if you’re dieting, they can’t exactly grow. So if you work out with weights for resistance training, and monitor your caloric intake so its less than the amount of calories that you burn in a day, you can firm up your muscles and lose weight (fat storage). This is the way to “tone up” your body.
I can’t really help you with figuring out how many calories you are consuming per day. You need to start counting it yourself. You should keep a log of EVERYTHING you consume. Including water, coffee, snacks, candies, meals….EVERYTHING.
The best way (in my opinion) for getting a general idea of how many calories you use per day, is to go on Google and look up how to find your “BMI” and then use that number in the “Harris Benedict Formula.” This will then give you a fairly accurate idea of how many calories you burn in a day. Finally, after you figure out how many calories you burn per day, you should make sure that you’re consuming LESS calories than that to assure weight and fat loss. Generally speaking, 3500 calories burned equals the loss of 1 pound. So if you burn 500 calories per day more than you consume, over the course of 7 days you would lose approximately 1 pound. Let that be your guide…. A healthy goal is to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Shooting for more than that could be unhealthy and dangerous. For further advise, contact a NUTRITIONIST.