What is a Good Bodybuilding Routine to Tone Muscle and Lose Fat?

Lose Fat and Build Muscle Tone With This Advanced Bodybuilding Routine

Mixed race woman lifting weights in health club
Getty Images/Blend Images/John Lund/Marc Romanelli

Do you just want to get toned and lose fat and you aren't big on getting bigger muscles? The goal of the bodybuilding routine presented below is to lose fat and gain muscle tone by adding a moderate amount of muscle tissue to the body. The fast pace of the workout will put you into the aerobic zone to promote losing fat.

Is This the Right Routine for You?

  • This routine is only for people in excellent cardiovascular shape who have been training for at least 6 months.
  • If you are an absolute beginner, please read my article on Getting Started.
  • If you have been training for at least 3 months but less than 6, then please take a look at my suggested Intermediate Routine.

Bodybuilding Routine for Muscle Toning and Losing Fat

This routine is performed using tri-sets, which is the same thing as a superset -- two exercises executed once after the other with no rest in between.-- but with three exercises instead of two.

You will be performing three exercises one after the other and then resting for 1 minute after the third one in the sequence before starting back at the beginning.

  • Perform this routine three days a week with a day of rest in between (alternate between days 1 and 2). 
  • Do 20-30 minutes of aerobics first thing in the morning on the rest days.

Day 1
Tri Set 1:

  • 75 Degree Incline Dumbbell Press
  • One Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Bent Over Lateral Raises

Tri Set 2:

  • Two Arm Dumbbell Rows
  • Pullovers

Tri Set 3:

  • Leg Raise
  • Crunches
  • Frog Kicks

Day 2
Tri Set 1:

  • Dumbbell Upright Rows
  • Dumbbell Curls
  • Overhead Dumbbell Triceps Extensions

Tri Set 2:

  • Incline Dumbbell Curls
  • Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extensions
  • Lunges

Tri Set 3:

  • Dumbbell Squats
  • Stiff Legged Dead Lifts
  • Dumbbell Calf Raises

Instructions On How To Progress with the Tone and Fat Loss Routine

  • Weeks 1-2: Do 2 sets per exercise of 12-15 reps. After doing the first tri-set two times, go on to the second tri set, and so on.
  • Week 3-4: Do 3 sets per exercise of 10-12 reps.
  • Week 5-6: Do 4 sets per exercise of 8-10 reps.
  • After week 6, you can start the cycle all over and use different exercises if desired.
  • Women who wish to emphasize their legs and abs can substitute Triset #3 from Day 1 and instead do lunges, leg extensions and leg curls. The abdominals tri-set can be performed on the days off prior to doing the cardiovascular exercise.
  • If you wish to train with weights four days a week, then perform Day 1 on Mondays and Thursdays, Day 2 on Tuesdays and Fridays and on the days off do your cardio. Alternatively, you can also do Day 1 on Mondays and Fridays, and Day 2 on Wednesdays and Saturdays with cardio on the rest days.