Ask ten women what their fitness goals are and nine of them are going to tell you “I want to get more toned”. As I quickly try to interject I almost always get interrupted with, “you know I want to be toned, but not bulky like those weight lifter women”. First lets get rid of the fact that lifting heavy weights will not help ‘tone’ you up. I am one of those women who lifts weights, quite heavy ones. To your left is a picture of me after a period of lifting very heavy weights and I am fairly sure I do not look bulky, manly or over muscular.
Second, that’s have a look at why the word toned really gets on my nerves.
Busting The Biggest Fitness Myth
I do understand what you mean when you say you want a toned body, but the fact that is any different to actually gaining muscle is a lie. This is perhaps not necessary for you to know but I like my readers to be educated and understand what they are doing and how it will help them achieve the goal they want. In fact, if someone was to scientifically increase the tone of their muscles, they’d have to stick a fork into their brain. Tone implies that the muscle is constantly contracted, and that is something we do not want, or we suffer from a muscular disorder… but I digress.
Toning implies that awesome look when your muscles pop out and have great definition. Girls and guys, I’m sorry to say but the only way to physically get that look is to increase your muscle mass and decrease your body fat. End of story. Guys tend to bulk up a lot more thanks to a multitude of hormones that we females do not have. We simply won’t grow like they do unless under the influence of something rather illegal.
I’m glad that’s cleared up. Being toned means more definition, which in turn means getting bigger muscles and losing fat. Simple.
The Scales Will Lie
Do not associate what you see on the scales with what you see in the mirror. As you put on muscle mass you are going to gain lean mass. The idea is to decrease fat mass, however often you don’t see much of a change on the scales if you aren’t overweight. Those with a lot of pounds to lose will see big scale changes, but as you get closer to your goal, you will see the scales stop moving. Don’t be afraid. You are gaining that lean muscle mass you need for the great defined look.
So How Do I Get Toned?
Getting that look is simple in theory. Eat well and lift well, and you will get results. There is no magic pill, just old fashioned hard work. Of course, a little bit of knowledge will help you out… so here goes.
Nutrition Is The Key (Seriously)
You are absolutely not going to get where you want if you stuff your mouth with the wrong things. Aside from cutting out the obvious junk like soda, fried food, take away, chips and candy…there are 3 things you can do that require very little thinking that will take you very far very quickly. Do the minimum and get the maximum results, change these variables and you will start to see fat loss and muscle gain.
- Eat More Protein: Protein is literally the building block of muscle. You need it to get lean gains, and you need to to help keep you full. Just eat more protein and see for yourself.
- Eat More Healthy Fats: These also keep you full, as well as do amazing things to some pretty important body composition regulating hormones. You very likely need to increase your intake.
- Drink More Water: Water is great for you, and when you are dehydrated you feel like crap, can’t workout hard and usually think you need to eat.
- Cut Out Refined Sugar: Sugar is not the devil, but you don’t need all the added stuff. Just nasty calories and does horrible things to your blood sugar.
This are not all the changes you can make, but these are the ones that will get your the biggest results quickly. Want to expand on these and get more nutrition tips? Check out my free email course where everything is covered.
Make Small Changes
Nutrition is mostly about habit, and to change a habit you need patience. The best way to make things stick is to take it slow. Do a dramatic overhaul of your diet and you have more chance or regressing.
Two weeks is a great time frame to make something a routine. With nutrition you need to take it slow. Make one small change every 2 weeks. Start by not drinking soda, then cutting out refined sugar, then add more protein to your diet… the list goes on. This is a sure fire way to succeed and you will find you get some great fat loss and muscle gain with each step you make.
Strength Train Your Way To A Toned Body
Nutrition is the key, but strength training is what will take you to the next level. You can lose all the fat you want, but if you don’t build that muscle you will only be skin and bones.
Why Strength Training Is Better Than Cardio
Oops I said it. Cardio is great and a balanced fitness routine is the one that almost always succeeds…however, if you are looking to get that toned look and you aren’t doing strength training, then you will find it very difficult to achieve you goals. For getting definition, strength training is absolutely better.
Lifting weights and doing body weight resistance work places a lot of stress on the muscles. Tissues break down, tissues repair, tissues grow. With this initial stress you don’t get the growth. Without the lean gains you won’t achieve that toned look, no matter how much fat you lose.
Full Body Versus Split Routines
I often get questions regarding the use of split workout routines. In my very humble opinion it is much more efficient to use a full body routine. If you are a body builder, then forget this advice…however for the general public it is very important that you get the biggest bang for your buck, and that’s where full body routines come in. You would only need to workout 3 times a week, for maximum 40 minutes and you can hit all the major muscles in your body and cause some serious lean gains.
Low Repetition Versus High Repetition
I often hear that if you want to get toned, you better stay in a hi repetition range (20+). This is yet another myth that we will be busting today. To grow muscles, which is one of the two things you need to do if you want to tone up, you need to stress them. The more stress you place, the bigger the gains. Although there is no perfect repetition range for everyone, staying in a relatively low range, like 6-12 will ensure you always get a decent stimulus on the muscles (provided you lift enough weight), and will help you build lean muscle. Don’t do those girls weights for 25 repetitions, it’s not going to get you the look you want.
So How Do I Apply All This?
Thankfully I have a really cool free email course for you that will show you how to tone your body up at home. You will get workouts, a free ebook, nutrition advice and important tips that help you apply all of these principles, and get the body you want. Visit this page or sign up below!