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Many women work out to “tone up,” and this blog, Let’s Get Fit Gym Manager and Personal Trainer, explores what toning means, and the best approach to achieve it, and provides a full-body toning workout plan for females to try.


Being ‘toned’ typically describes a lean body with firm, well-defined muscles. This appearance comes from building muscle mass and reducing body fat. Therefore, a workout plan for women aiming to tone up should include strength training to build muscle, as we’ll discuss further below.


Many beginners make the common mistake of trying to achieve a toned body solely through cardio and dieting, overlooking the importance of building muscle. This can result in what’s known as a ‘skinny fat’ appearance, where a person has a low weight or BMI but a high body fat percentage due to insufficient muscle mass.

Having a ‘skinny fat’ physique can be linked to poor metabolic health, elevating the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and circulatory disorders.


There are two parts to achieving a toned look: building muscle and having a low body fat. This can be done by:

Challenging the muscles with resistance training at least twice a week per muscle group. This can be with free weights, resistance machines, resistance bands, or even bodyweight workouts. The key is to sufficiently challenge the muscles so that the body repairs and rebuilds them.

Eating enough protein. The amino acids in protein are used by the body to repair the muscles. If you are strength training without eating enough protein, you may struggle to grow your muscles.

Getting enough calories. It can be tempting to cut calories when you want to look leaner, but you need to have plenty of calories to build muscle and fuel your workouts. If you have excess fat to lose, choose a moderate calorie deficit to assist with weight loss while prioritizing strength training and lots of protein – this will allow you to build muscle while lowering your body fat. If you are at a healthy weight, you can either eat at maintenance calories or a moderate calorie surplus.



Even though people talk about them differently, toning and building muscle essentially mean the same thing – increasing muscle mass. However, they have slightly different goals, which can affect the overall process.

Toning refers to having both muscle definition and low body fat to create a lean, athletic look.

Building muscle refers to creating noticeably bigger muscle mass, which can impact your body proportions more dramatically – for example bigger glutes or arms.

Both toning and building muscle require strength training to stimulate muscle growth, and both typically involve nutrition and diet to achieve the desired appearance. Despite this, why do people aiming to tone up often feel apprehensive about building muscle?

Several reasons contribute to this, including a lack of understanding about what it means to be ‘toned’ and how to achieve it. There’s also a fear of becoming bulky from building muscle. Building significant muscle mass is a challenging process that demands consistent training, consuming a surplus of calories, and considerable patience. It’s quite rare for someone to accidentally become bulky, especially for women who tend to build muscle more gradually than men due to hormonal differences.


If you’re searching for the best toning workout plan for females, Let’s Get Fit has provided this female body toning workout plan for you to try at the gym. You can repeat it two to three times a week or mix it with other workouts like a full-body workout with weights or a dumbbell full-body workout. Remember to begin with a warm-up and finish with a cool-down to prevent injuries.


The first step in your workout routine is warming up. It helps your muscles stretch and become more elastic before engaging in a high-intensity workout. Warming up enhances mobility and flexibility, reducing the risk of muscle tearing and rupture during intense sessions. Besides these advantages, warming up raises your core body temperature, enhancing athletic performance. Your warm-up routine can include light cardio exercises. Examples of warm-up exercises are:

Knee lifts for a minute

Heel digs for a minute

Ten knee bends

Ten hip rotations

Twenty head rotations

You can also do any other light exercises you like while warming up.

Day 1 – Arms and Chest

On the first day of your gym workout routine, the focus will be on both arms and chest. Some women worry that working in these areas will make them look broad or bulky. However, with the right exercises, you can tone your arms and chest, getting in great shape. Here are the exercises to perform on day one:

Start with four sets of 8 reps of flat-bench barbell press.

Next, do four sets of push-ups that consist of 10 reps each.

Three sets of 15 reps — cable crossovers.

Four sets of 12 reps — incline dumbbell flies.

Three sets of 20 reps — tricep rope overhead extension.

Four sets of 12 reps — alternate hammer curl for each arm.

And finally, do 10 minutes on the elliptical machine.

Day 2 – Back and Shoulders

On the second day, the emphasis will be on your back and shoulders. All gym workout routines will be designed to involve and work these areas. It’s crucial to maintain proper posture during these exercises for the best results. Poor posture can lead to more harm than good. Therefore, be mindful of your posture throughout and ensure all the following exercises are performed correctly.

Four sets of 10 reps — standing barbell military press.

Four sets of 15 reps — dumbbell lateral raises.

Four sets of 10 reps — seated dumbbell shoulder press.

Four sets of 19 reps — dumbbell shrugs.

Four sets of 10 reps — T-bar rows.

Four sets of 12 reps — close grip lat pull downs.

And in the end, do 10 minutes on the stationary bike.

Day 3 – Cardio Day

On the third day of the workout routine, it’s cardio day. These exercises will elevate your heart rate and contribute to enhancing your overall health. If your aim is weight loss and toning, cardio exercises are key. You can engage in various activities like running, cycling, swimming, etc., but you can also do the following exercises at home on your cardio day:

10 pushups

15 crunches

20 squat thrusts

10 burpees

10 basketball jumps

10 bicycle crunches

10 jumping jacks

10 mountain climbers

2 to 5 minutes of jumping rope

Three sets of 10 hanging leg raise

15 to 20 minutes of jogging or low-intensity workout on the treadmill

2 to 3 one minute rounds of planks

Day 4 – Strength Day

Day four is your strength day in the workout routine. Following the cardio day, it’s important to dedicate a day to strength training your muscles. The exercises will aim to enhance your overall strength, involving the use of weights. Working with weights helps build new muscles and strengthen existing ones. Here are the exercises you can perform on your strength day:

Five sets of 5 reps — incline dumbbell press.

Five sets of 5 reps — flat bench barbell press.

Five sets of 5 reps — deadlifts.

Five sets of 5 reps — barbell bent-over rows.

Five sets of 5 reps — barbell clean and press.

Five sets of 5 reps — barbell snatch

Day 5 – Leg Day

Lastly, the last day of gym workout routines will be focused on building leg muscles. All exercises on this day will be targeted towards your legs, working to strengthen and tone them. The goal is to enhance both leg strength and definition. Here are the exercises you can perform on your leg day:

Four sets of 8 reps — barbell squats.

Three sets of 12 reps — leg press machine.

Three sets of 15 reps — hamstring curls.

Three sets of 15 reps — leg extensions.

Four sets of 10 reps — walking lunges for each leg.

Ten minutes on the elliptical machine.

Final Words

If performed correctly, this workout routine will be extremely beneficial in helping you achieve your goal. Targeting a specific muscle on different days gives other muscles time to relax and recover. Thus, it is the most effective form of working out. Since this routine is followed in gyms, you must perform them with the same intensity to see the best results. If you think you require an experienced trainer throughout your fitness journey, joining a gym will be the best decision. Let’s Get Fit is among the most renowned names. You can trust us to help you get fit and strong. Browse our website to learn more about our services