If you ask someone for their fitness goals, many men and women will reply that they want to become more toned. These individuals don’t want to become big and overly muscular; instead, they’d like to get rid of the “jiggle.”
In actuality, there’s no such thing as toned muscle. Muscles don’t get harder or softer – they get larger or smaller.
Toning is really about:
- Increasing the size of a muscle
- Decreasing the layer of fat that covers it
When exercisers attempt to achieve the “toning” effect, they often mistakenly opt for light resistance and a high number of repetitions. Though this strategy is great for increasing endurance, it doesn’t result in the larger muscles or decreases in fat that are required to achieve the look of toning.
BUILD LARGER MUSCLES
To build larger muscles, exercisers should select relatively heavy weights and train for 8 – 10 repetitions. On the last rep, muscles should be approaching failure. On subsequent workouts, increase the amount of resistance used (i.e., go from 30 pound weights to 35 and then 40…).
Furthermore, muscle growth must be supported by a proper diet with plenty of protein. Here are more tips for gaining muscle mass.
And don’t worry about getting too big. When you’re muscles are big enough, you can stop increasing the amount of resistance you’re using and switch to maintenance.
Adding muscle mass will help boost your metabolism, but I recommend upping the ante with some effective cardio training. Interval training is the absolute best (a recent study showed that it boosted fat burning in participants by more than 30%), but it can also be combined with traditional endurance cardio (i.e., running at a set pace).
While the strength training and cardio will increase the amount of calories you burn each day, you may also need to decrease your caloric intake. This is called creating a calorie deficit, and it’s the only way to lose weight.
While there’s no such thing as a toned muscle, increasing your muscle mass and decreasing body fat through exercise and nutrition will achieve the desired result.