Want to lose weight but look toned not (gasp) skinny? A strategic dose of fitness and food will put you on the straight and narrow, writes PT Natalie Carter

WANT LIST: Lose weight but look toned, not skinny


You need to do weights/resistance exercises three to four times a week. Specifically, incorporate dumbbells based on the weight that lets you feel pushed when you reach your final rep. Aim to complete 12 to 15 reps for three sets. It’s also important to do three to four HIIT sessions a week to maintain your fitness level – great exercises to include are mountain climbers, burpees, squat jumps, step-ups, tricep dips and bent over rows.

Long (over 5km) runs, which will deplete, stress your body and lead to a gaunt appearance (not to mention an increase in fat-promoting stress hormone cortisol). Skinny fat? For what, when you can be lean ‘n mean?

Getting motivated

Lacking motivation? Constant change is imperative if you want to push your body to its limits. Training is about coming out of your comfort zone and constantly striving to break records or try new activities. I recommend that people keep an exercise diary to help break through plateaus and push your training to the next level. Recording your workouts will give you objective feedback and makes planning to achieve your goals easier.

DO: Work on increasing your lifts/reps every one to two weeks (depending on how advanced you are). Even if it means you lift an extra kilo or push out an extra rep, you are constantly working on improving on your last session. Giving your program a tweak (with the help of a fitness professional) will ensure you meet your goals but push yourself to get into the best shape of your life. Try a crossfit or MMA class to imbue your life with fire and drive.

DON’T: Continue to plough through the same six to 10 exercises on your gym program, dodging the trainer you had one session with and telling all your friends how ‘hard’ you workout!

Check out our beginner’s guide to kettlebells and stay diet strong with our top tips and advice. Don’t forget to find us on Pinterest for more fitness ideas.