I decided to write an article about “toning up” because this seem to be by far the most common goal amongst people who join an exercise or personal training program. It’s rather a vague term though, it’s actual meaning is open to interpretation. It’s not as clearly defined as a goal such as “run faster”, for example.
When a new client signs up wanting to tone up, I think usually what this means is “I would like to look a little better, but I don’t have any unrealistic or outrageous expectations” – they’re not asking you to transform them into a model, athlete or body builder, just an ordinary person who looks in good shape. When I think of a “toned” body I’m thinking “FIRM”, not soft or spongy. So, low body fat and firm toned muscles… not necessarily HUGE muscles, just firm ones.
Before we go any further and on the subject of huge muscles, I’ll just remind everyone that you do not, can not, and will not get them overnight or by accident! Very few people actually desire a muscular bodybuilder’s physique, and of those who do want one even less are successful in creating one. I will go so far as saying that no one ever in the history of exercise has developed a bodybuilder’s physique quickly and by accident, it’s probably the hardest thing in the world to do! So if you were reading this article and thinking “muscles? I don’t want to look all bulky”, rest assured you have nothing to worry about.
What I’m talking about with firm, toned muscles is the difference between just being slim but still soft & saggy looking, or being slender and toned, with defined body parts (for example a distinction between where your butt ends and your leg starts). Good posture and proportionate, symmetrical body parts are also an important element of an attractive toned appearance.
So, what is the best exercise program for toning up?
Simply put, you have gotta do some resistance training. This can be bodyweight resistance, weight training, resistance bands or whatever you prefer – a combination is probably ideal. In addition to this, some cardio training is important to burn calories and shed any body fat stores, and good nutrition is of crucial importance as well. Remember, to lose weight while toning up we need a reduced calorie (below maintenance levels) nutrition plan. For those in a healthy weight range, it may not be necessary to drastically cut calories to improve our body composition, increase our percentage of lean body mass and produce that overall toned and attractive appearance.
Remember, the only way to get bigger is by consuming more calories. To get to bodybuilding levels of muscle mass, you need to be eating a hell of a lot. So once again there is no need to worry about “getting too big” or bulky, it simply cannot happen by accident.
As we continue with a resistance training program, the muscles become firmer, posture improves and body fat stores are reduced. Further into the program we begin to target specific body parts to produce a proportionate and symmetrical physique.
With a consistent approach to training and nutrition your dream body IS attainable. This is a gradual process that will not be attained overnight or just a few weeks, but you will soon find that training can be very enjoyable, and nutritious food far more satisfying than unhealthy junk from the local take away.
Get in contact with me to get started on your new program, and lets get started!