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How should I approach weights if I want to tone and build muscle without becoming bulky?

A fitness programme designed for toning without getting bulky is focused on burning calories, not bulking up. Slimming down requires a calorie deficit, where you burn more calories than you take in. Cardiovascular activity and strength training exercises, performed with moderate resistance levels, will burn calories and build lean metabolism-boosting muscle mass without any bulk.

There are different ways that you can train your body, depending on the look and shape you are trying to achieve.

There is a way of lifting weights that will help you get toned without getting bulky and a lot of health benefits can change your body, such as:

1. Improved sleep 
2. Reduced stress 
3. Lower anxiety levels 
4. Improved mood 
5. Reduced risk of heart disease 
6. Lower risk of diabetes 
7. Staves off osteoporosis

It really does benefit you both on the inside and out. But you can control your body weight. The trick is to minimise fat gain, maximise muscle gain and control your calorie intake.

The key to being able to lift weights without getting bulky is:

• There are three main body types and each of them have different exercise requirements. Your body type will determine how bulky you get and what type of exercise you can and can’t do.

• To lift weights without getting bulky, you need to lift lighter weights (such as 1-2kg dumbbells, a resistance band or just body weight) at higher reps. You need to choose the correct exercises.

• Exercises that are great for toning up without getting bulky include workouts in Pilates, reformer Pilates, boxing and swimming. 

• Certain exercises will cause bulkiness, including squats, lunges, dead lifts, chin-ups and overhead pressing. Other exercises that make you bulky include heavy weightlifting, CrossFit, sprints, hill sprints and the step machine.

• Exercises that may make you bulky and should be done with caution include cycling, HIIT, skipping, cross trainer, barre and running.

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