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5-Day Toning Workout Routine

(Disclaimer: I am not a certified/registered personal trainer or nutritionist. The information in this article comes from my own research and personal experiences. I advise you to speak with your doctor before beginning any exercise routine or taking any supplements.)

A common fitness goal is to achieve a lean, toned body. To reach this I created a five day (per week) workout routine. I designed this for myself, a 21 year old female, but it is not age or gender specific. I recommend this routine for intermediate exercisers. This plan, combined with proper nutrition and dietary supplements, can help you accomplish your fitness goals.

Warm Up Before Exercise

It is very important to warm up your muscles before any form of exercise, especially weight training, in order to prevent injury.

First, start with stretching. I do not suggest static stretching prior to working out as research has found that it can decrease your explosive power by up to 30%. Opt for dynamic stretching instead, which involves more movement and loosens your body up while increasing your heart rate slightly. The video below is a good example of a dynamic warm up.

Next, do 10-15 minutes of light cardio. I typically run a mile at a slower pace or bike for 15. Ideally this should warm up the body and loosen it even more without wearing you out. You want to have enough energy to get through the lifting.

The Routine

 

Monday-Arms/Abs

 

 

Tuesday-Back

 

 

Wednesday-Legs/Abs

 

 

Thursday-Chest

 

 

Friday-Shoulders/Abs

 

 

Satuday-Rest

Sunday-Rest

 

Sets

Reps

 

Sets

Reps

 

Sets

Reps

 

Sets

Reps

 

Sets

Reps

 

 

 

Hammer Curl

3

12

Barbell Rows

3

12

Barbell Squats

4

15

Pushup

4

12

Seated Dumbbell Press

3

12

 

 

 

Barbell Curl

3

12

Dumbbell Plank Row

3

12

Straight Leg Deadlift

3

12

Dumbbell Flat Press

3

12

Dumbbell Upright Row

3

12

 

 

 

Triceps Rope Pushdown

3

12

Back Extensions

3

12

Bulgarian Split Squat

3

10

Dumbbell Incline Flyes

3

12

Rear Delt Raise

3

12

 

 

 

Triceps Kickback

3

12

Seated Cable Row

3

12

Lunges

3

24

Cable Crossovers

3

12

Arnold Press

3

12

 

 

 

Bench Dips

3

12

Dumbbell Pullover

3

12

Standing Calf Raise

4

15

Dumbbell Pullover

3

12

Bicycle Crunches

3

20

 

 

 

Bicycle Crunches

3

20

Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

3

12

Bicycle Crunches

3

20

 

 

 

Floor Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

Floor Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

Floor Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

Captain's Chair Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

Captain's Chair Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

Captain's Chair Leg Raises

3

10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: Due to the location of my gym it is inconvenient for me to go unless I am heading to work after (or else it's a 30+ minute each way), so for this reason I go Monday-Friday and rest on the weekends. If you would rather take one rest day during the week and one on the weekend, go for it, the days on the table are just for reference and do not need to be followed strictly.

Cardio

In my opinion how often and how much you do cardio is a personal preference. I try to do at least 45 minutes a day, so I do the 15 minute warm up I mentioned then 30 minutes of a little higher intensity (treadmill or elliptical) after I finish weight training. If you are a beginner or on a time crunch then try doing cardio on Tuesday and Thursday since you will find that those workouts take a bit less time.

A great form of cardio to try is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). This involves sprint for short periods of time (30 seconds to a minute) and recovering as an easier pace (1 minute to 1 minute 30 seconds). HIIT is good for burning fat and getting in an intense workout in a shorter amount of time.

An example of a 10 minute HIIT work out, where the intensity is your effort level (not the level on the machine!).

An example of a 10 minute HIIT work out, where the intensity is your effort level (not the level on the machine!).

Cool Down

After working out is when I do about 10 to 15 minutes of static stretching and basic yoga poses. Static stretching is safer after you have exercised because your body has been fully worked and the risk of pulling a muscle is much lower.

A basic full body static stretching routine.

A basic full body static stretching routine.

Nutrition

I try to eat something 30 minutes to an hour before I work out. This way it will give me energy but be digested enough so that I won't get a stomach ache. Since I go to the gym at 5am I usually grab some sort of energy/protein bar and it in the car (the mint chocolate Balance Bars and Luna Bars are my favorite!).

After the gym I like to have something with enough carbs to give me energy, such as oatmeal or whole grain whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter and a sliced banana. Throughout the rest of the day I eat several small meals.

Supplements

As I said above, please talk to your doctor before beginning any supplements and be sure they will not react with any other medicine you may be taking.

Protein: Most importantly, I suggest taking a protein supplement. Protein is commonly taken as a powder mixed with water or milk. I like Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey. It comes in a lot of flavors and is one of the cheaper options on the market. Whey is a dairy product so if you are vegan or lactose intolerant you will need to find an alternative to whey protein, such as soy.

CLA: I also take Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) to help burn fat and reduce body fat percentage. The recommended dosage is 2000 mg a day. Be aware that this is still fairly new and all of the risks are not known. Some people I have talked to said they saw no difference while taking CLA, but I feel more energized and I think it has made a difference in my body composition.

Fish Oil: Fish oil is a great dietary supplement even if you are not active. Benefits of fish oil include: reduced risk of cancer, helps lower blood pressure, supports heart health, eases joint pain, and may even help with mental wellness. The recommended dosage is between 1000 and 3000 mg a day.

Multi-Vitamin: Again, this should be taken regardless of whether you are active. A multi will help balance out any deficiencies you may have (I have an iron deficiency, for example).

Results

My Progress: A four month and approximately 15 pound difference.

My Progress: A four month and approximately 15 pound difference.

While I am constantly striving to improve my body, I am proud of how far I have come. It takes a lot of time and dedication, even more sweat, and yes, some money, but it is so worth it.

Good Luck!

Good luck on your fitness journey and don't hesitate to talk to me/ask questions/inform me if I'm wrong, I love learning!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Comments

Kory Groves from Sacramento, California on February 24, 2016:

Great article. I love the workout routine and your results! Keep it up. Would love to get some of those supplements for myself :)

luda on March 03, 2015:

Great article! Thanks for sharring..i was wondering if you do this every week of you ssitch your routine weekly?

Amanda on February 28, 2015:

I love this work out, it is absolutely amazing and I've definitely noticed a huge difference in the 4 months I've been following it. The problem is I've started to feel as if I'm plateauing and this is causing me want to work out more to the point that I'm going 7 days a week, 2x a day, running 4 miles in the morning and the full workout every night including 30 minutes of HIIT on the stair climber. I know this is too much but I don't know how much is enough, I have a hard time taking days off without feeling really bad

talisa on July 17, 2014:

Outside of the whey shakes and milk for those, how strict are you with the Paleo diet?

Ana Maria Orantes from Miami Florida on May 18, 2014:

Thank you for your article. I like to work out. Every time I get a chance to read about exercises. I like to inform myself and see what other people are doing. I like the way you explain. The work out and the vitamins. Thank you miss Victoria Anne for your 5 Day- Toning-Routine hub.

Carrie Lee Night from Northeast United States on April 24, 2014:

Thank you for writing this interesting and well constructed hub. I'm an odd ball when it comes to some of the advice you give (which is good by the way :) I personally cannot take any whey protien shakes because it does a number on my stomach, but I find that some of the protien bars works better :) (luna bars seem to work well with me) I love weight training, however I do tend to bulk up if I increase weight (without supplements particularly in my arms) I will try more cardio to maybe balance it out. By the way your stomach is envious keep up the great work! Have a wonderful week and thank you for writing something on self improvement.

Nikolic Predrag from Serbia, Belgrade on February 05, 2014:

Excellent Hub. I'm going to Gym more the 30 years, but never continuously for more than one year. It gave me encouragement to go back to practice. Thank you very much.

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on January 23, 2014:

Jen - It was 4 months.

jen on January 23, 2014:

How far apart was ur before and after picture

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on January 09, 2014:

Bridget, weight varies greatly by person! The weight should be light enough for you to finish all the reps but heavy enough that the last few are pretty tough. Aim to go up in weight each week or two. Women aren't genetically predisposed to "bulk" like men even if we follow the exact same diet and exercise routine, so don't worry about getting bulky :)

Bridget on January 01, 2014:

Victoria, what amount of weight do you use for these weight training exercises? I do not want to get bulky, but I do want to be toned!

Sehnonimo from San Bruno, CA on November 14, 2013:

Great hub! It really encourages me to set a work out routine for myself. Right now, I just kind of work out when I work out, and am not really taking much care of myself. And man, can I feel the toll it takes on my body. I do get some exercise in as I'm a dog walker, but toning exercises aren't even on my radar!

I never heard of dynamic stretching before this - I think I'll try it! Thanks for the information! Great hub!

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on September 04, 2013:

Lauren, I would usually take them after working out to help the muscles rebuild.

Lauren on August 16, 2013:

When do you take the protein shake? Before a workout or after? Or to replace a meal?

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on April 28, 2013:

Hey Stacey,

Typically in that situation I would start my first set with whatever weight felt comfortable and then go to a lower weight each set (for example, Set 1 with 15 pounds, Set 2 with 12.5 pounds, Set 3 with 10 pounds). You can also do your sets to failure (as many as you can without compromising form) rather than a specific number of reps. There really is no "right" or "best" way, whatever feels comfortable and safe to you, and always be sure to have good form! I hope that helps :)

stacey on April 23, 2013:

Hi Victoria,

I have fallen in love with your workout. I would like to know if i am not able to keep up with the reps and sets can i lower them by a few, like do less reps or less sets or keep a lower weight? and will i still get the same benefits, i understand if this will take a tad longer? Is that right?

Ur pics look great.

Thank you

Peggy on March 04, 2013:

I just started your workout today...Will keep you posted

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on March 03, 2013:

Hi Peg, usually between and hour and an hour and a half. Sometimes more if I'm doing more cardio.

Peg on March 01, 2013:

How long do you spend in the gym each day?

Allan Philip from Toronto on January 23, 2013:

Nicely done with helpful illustrations

Victoria Anne (author) from Las Vegas on June 13, 2012:

Thank you all! If you are trying it, good luck and keep me updated with how it's going, or if you have any questions!

rutley from South Jersey on June 13, 2012:

Nice hub! Very informative. Been a fitness trainer for

many years and this can be effective! Thanks and happy writing!

lovedoctor926 on June 08, 2012:

Vote up awesome and just in time for summer. Thank you for sharing.

Angela Brummer from Lincoln, Nebraska on June 08, 2012:

Great easy to follow hub! I need to try this! I will share this!

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