Whether your goal is to run a faster mile, look better at the beach or just improve how you feel about yourself, getting a toned, rock-hard body can make all the difference. Slimming down and shaping up is on just about everyone’s to-do list, but most kick their goals to the curb if they don’t see themselves turn into Greek statues. Understanding what it means to have a rock-hard body, and how to get one, will put you on track for the body you want.
The difference between someone with a solid, athletic body and someone with extra pounds isn’t how much they weigh, but what percent of their body is made of fat. Even if you have lots of muscle and washboard abs, a high body-fat percentage can hide your fitness gains beneath the layers. Bodybuilders and athletes tend to have extremely low body-fat, which makes them look more defined. A safe, lean body-fat range is between 8 and 13 percent for men, and between 18 and 20 percent for women, depending on age.
Shedding that surplus weight means using all the fuel you eat and creating a caloric deficit, or using more calories than you take in each day. By burning 500 more calories than you eat every day for a week, you will lose approximately one pound of fat. Metabolic, high-intensity exercises like jump roping, sprinting and burpees will burn lots of calories to help you reach your goal. Also, different types of exercise burn different types of energy. In order to burn fat, do steady-state exercises like running or swimming at 60 to 70 percent of your maximum intensity.
As you peel away those undesirable layers of fat, you’ll want to give yourself something to reveal. Aerobics will thin you out, but only resistance training will give you the toned and rippling muscles of a Greek statue. Make sure to follow a training program that emphasizes your goals and incorporates challenging, muscle-building movements like weighted pull-ups, chest presses and thrusters. Perform these exercises with sets of eight to 12 repetitions and rest for one to two minutes between each set. This will emphasize hypertrophy, which increases muscle size and gives your low-fat body a shape to show off.
People with chiseled bodies don’t just lift weights and run; they are very careful about what and how much they eat. Monitoring your caloric intake is important for getting and keeping a rock-hard body. Keeping track of what you eat with a food journal can be helpful, especially if you are trying to lose weight. Try to eat healthy foods like eggs, Greek yogurt and oatmeal that make you feel fuller. Ultimately, you will get out of your body what you put in, so if you want a lean, muscular body, eat lean, muscle-building foods like chicken and fish.
- NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training, Second Edition; Jared W. Coburn and Moh H. Malek
- HussmanFitness.org: Caloric Deficits and Fat Loss
- ABC News: The 10 Most Filling Foods for Weight Loss