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The Myth of Toning

How often have you seen exercise plans promising to  tone various body parts? Tone your arms, tone your tummy, or tone your thighs? Most of these plans promise to give you a long lean look using high reps and light weights. You will likely be disappointed if you try these plans. However it is possible to achieve a toned look, which is probably what you are really after.

The myth of toning 2 min 

When women talk about getting toned they are usually mean having the muscles more visible, but not big and bulky. Toning is promoted in magazines, on Pinterest and all over the web. Usually the way it is presented is that you have to use light weights and lots of repetitions to avoid bulking up. Unfortunately there are some issues with this idea.

You lose muscle mass as you get older

As we get older we often lose the toned look we had when we were younger. Many women want to stop menopause weight gain. Muscles tend to shrink as we age especially if they are not used. We also tend to increase the amount of body fat we have. When you lose muscle mass, your metabolism slows down. You can’t eat as much as you used to without having excess calories stored as body fat. We also tend to be less active as we get older, which also leads to excess calories being stored as body fat.

Muscles can't be toned

Muscles can’t be toned. Muscles can get bigger or stronger with the proper exercise routine. They can shrink or get weaker if they are not used. They can be stretched so they are more flexible, but can’t be lengthened. When a force is applied to a muscle it contracts.

Decrease fat for a toned look

The only way to get a toned look is to decrease the amount of fat and possibly slightly increase the amount of muscle. Working the muscles in a particular area will not remove the fat from that area. Muscle must be placed under some stress to get bigger.

You won't get big and bulky 

Usually women want to avoid getting bulky. They see men in the gym with large muscles lifting heavy weights. They don’t want to look like that so the answer must be to lift light weights. Unfortunately the light weights do not cause enough stress on the muscle to make changes to the muscle. Women don’t usually have enough testosterone to have big muscles and it won’t happen by accident. Female bodybuilders have rigorous training schedules and may also use steroids to achieve their muscle development.

Work big muscles for fat loss

Doing resistance training helps to maintain and increase our muscle mass. The best program for fat loss is one that works the biggest muscles. Multijoint exercises are more efficient and often more effective than single joint exercises. Many toning plans will include something like one hundred body weight squats. If you can head to the gym, then get instruction on how to use the squat rack and pick a weight that you can do three sets of 8-12 repetitions. If you are not heading to the gym, then something like a stationary lunge or a high step up might be a better option since they are more difficult than body weight squats.

What about cardio?

Cardio also has a role to play in getting a toned look. High intensity interval training (HIIT) is an effective way to increase your metabolism and lose fat. If you are doing steady state cardio, then try increasing the intensity to get better results.

Toning muscle is not possible. Achieving a toned look is possible, but plans that emphasize high repetitions and low weights are not effective for this.

If you are looking to lose weight or reduce symptoms during menopause or perimenopause then download this free ebook or join my facebook group

If you would like help with getting a more toned look by making healthy changes to your diet and by doing the most effective exercises check out my programs or contact me.

The Myth of Toning 

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