Tone your Body

31 01 2011

What’s ‘Toning’

The word tone simply describes the state of your muscles. When at rest, your muscles are in a constant state of partial contraction in order to be ready for action. The ‘tone’ of your muscles is involuntary, so you can’t change it by lifting weights a certain way.

People take the word ‘tone’ and redefined it to mean how lean we are & how defined our muscles appear. In fact, it’s even a gender specific word. Women go to the gym to ‘tone up’ while men go to the gym to lift weights and build muscle but, the truth is, they are the exact same things. Becoming lean and building muscle requires lifting weights; the difference is in how much you lift.

While you can lift weights to change your body, you’re limited as to what you can really change about your muscles. This is what your muscles can do:

1. Grow larger and/or stronger
2. Shrink smaller and/or get weaker

You can’t make a muscle longer (without surgery) and you can’t etch it into a certain shape or look. If your goal is to see your muscles, your goal isn’t toning, it’s losing body fat. Whether you’re a man or woman, wanting to bulk up or slim down, you’ll do the same kinds of exercises and training methods. The difference lies in the weights, reps and sets you’ll do, as well as how many calories you take in (more if you’re building muscle, less if you’re trying to lose fat).

Whatever your goal or gender, don’t be afraid of heavy weights. It takes a lot of hard work to bulk up–even men can find it difficult, never mind women (who don’t have enough testosterone to get huge muscles).

Toning doesn’t exist but know what strength training will do for you:

  • You’ll build muscle, which helps with fat loss in the long-term. A pound of muscle can burn about 20-30 calories a day. A pound of fat burns about 5 calories a day. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn all day.
  • You’ll strengthen muscles and connective tissue which helps you perform better (whether in daily activities or physical activities) and reduces risk of injury.
  • You’ll preserve muscle mass as you age. We naturally lose muscle over time, unless we lift weights.
  • You’ll build stronger bones.
  • You’ll improve your flexibility, stability and balance.
  • You’ll feel better about yourself.

Getting More Definition

After all you’ve read here, you may be wondering exactly what to do to get more definition in your body. The answer is simple: Lose body fat. To lose body fat you need 3 key elements: Regular cardio exercise, consistent strength training for all your muscle groups and a healthy low-calorie diet.

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