If you’re reading this, then you probably want more muscle tone on your body, or at least to have a more toned look, right?!
Maybe it’s those chiselled abs or defined arms? Perhaps it’s that tight butt or shapely legs? Heck, maybe you want the whole she-bang – a completely toned body? Well, warning – there’s a spoiler alert ahead… Getting ‘toned’ (or ripped or cut or sculptured or chiselled, etc) is not a real thing!
No specific exercise or workout tricks will get you toned, per se. That’s because nothing TONES or DEFINES or SCULPTS a muscle!
So, what is muscle tone then?
If we wanted to be strictly physiological about it, muscle tone is the tension a muscle is under when pulled or stretched during movement. But, for the purposes of wanting to look ‘toned’ – muscle tone is having an amount of muscle on your body AND a low body fat percentage. This allows you to more clearly see the definition of the muscle.
Think of it like this – if you have a tennis ball under a thick blanket, it appears like a little bump surrounded by padding. If you upgrade to a soccer ball and only cover it with a thin sheet, it appears like a bulging, defined bump. That is how ‘tone’ (as we commonly know it) comes about on your body. The aim is to strengthen your muscles and decrease the layers of fat across them.
How can we get this toned look?
I can almost hear the shrieks of women at the thought of having big, bulky, soccer ball muscles…STOP right there. That is NOT going to happen from general strength work. And, while we’re at the myth busting – don’t go thinking that you can just choose a specific spot on your body to lose fat flat abs anyone, your body doesn’t work that way!
The ONLY way you can get the ‘toned’ look is:
1. Build your muscles
You can achieve this with a well-designed weight training program like we provide in our Active8me ‘Lean, Fit and Toned’ program. This concentrates on specific exercises and a balance of frequency, intensity and volume that progressively and safely overloads the muscles.
2. Lose body fat
The majority of body fat loss comes from what you eat. Ideally, if you consume less calories than you burn, you lose weight. You just need to ensure the weight you’re losing is fat as opposed to muscle or water.
If it’s that simple, why do so many women never get toned?
Unfortunately, we are ALL sucked into marketing hype! Trust us, we have tried and tested many diets, specific workouts, exercise programs, spot reduction promises…the list goes on. They simply don’t work because they usually only focus on one part of the equation.
Muscle – Fat = Toned Look
But there are more intricate myths that also do little in helping build your muscles or losing body fat. Again, let’s set the record straight:
- Higher reps WON’T make you toned.
- Lighter weight WON’T make you toned.
- Specific gym machines WON’T make you toned.
- Marketed “toning exercises” (think – 30 days to flat abs) WON’T make you toned.
- Detox’s, supplements, potions or weird apparatus that claim to make you toned WON’T make you toned.
Ok, got it! Where to from here for a toned look?
It’s important to know that losing weight is different to losing fat. You can drop three dress sizes and still look ‘flabby’. Worse still, you can be skinny but actually have a high percentage of body fat making you skinny fat, a worrying medical phenomenon.
By combining regular strength and resistance workouts with fat burning workouts you are on your way to weight loss success and achieving that toned look . The benefits are beyond looks. You will be stronger, leaner, burn fat more readily, and setup some great habits. Of course, remembering that your diet plays a large role in fat loss too.