Toning: The only way is exercise
If you're keen to shift those last few pounds and get your body into tip-top shape, then it's time to focus on exercise.
Whether you want to look good for a special occasion like a wedding or holiday, or you just want to look your best for your sense of self-esteem, that final push from being moderately healthy to fabulously fit will involve some time at the gym.
Naturally, you want to combine your exercise regime with a healthy diet, but keep in mind that your body will need extra energy, so make sure you eat enough to keep a smile on your face.
How to tone
As everyone's body shape is different, each person will need a slightly different exercise plan to help them achieve their dream shape. Speak to one of our personal trainers about the best exercises to do.
However, try not to get too bogged down in the details of which activities are best for you and make your priority just getting regular exercise.
Fitness expert Helen Vanderburg wrote in the Vancouver Sun that 'spot reducing' is basically a myth and the key is to make yourself generally fitter. Spot reducing is when people try to focus on one part of the body and nothing else, with the aim of making it smaller or thinner.
She explained that doing a variety of exercises will help you lose fat all round, which will mean your muscle definition will show more. By increasing muscle mass, you are also becoming a better calorie burner, which helps keep weight off.
Ms Vanderburg urged women not to worry about having more defined muscles, explaining: "In essence, toning and building are the same thing. Becoming lean and building muscle requires making changes in our body composition through exercise (including lifting weights) and healthy eating to see the muscle definition."
Myths to ignore
The first myth to bear in mind is that 'toning up' as it's understood by the general public does not really exist. Your muscles are either growing or shrinking - they don’t firm up while staying the same size. A toned body comes about through the right combination of healthy eating, cardiovascular work and weights.
A popular misconception is that people should do lots of repetitions of small weights to improve muscle definition. Often heavier weights will be more effective and personal trainers will be able to reassure you about when is the right time to step up your exercises.
The most important myth to be aware of is that there is no quick route to making yourself fitter and any gadget or product that claims otherwise is best ignored.
Exercise: the gift that keeps on giving
As well as being the vital ingredient in sculpting your body shape, exercise has many additional benefits. It’s been credited with helping lower the risk of all sorts of disorders, including cancer, dementia, depression, heart disease and Alzheimer's.
But it’s not just long-term threats that are effectively prevented, medical reports have shown that sleep quality, energy, mood and self-esteem are all boosted in your day-to-day life by taking plenty of exercise.