Archive for the tag - muscle mass

How to Tone (and Not Gain) Muscle.

If I look at this picture much longer, I'm going to start "toning" my right arm.

Alan writes:

Dear Davey,

What would you suggest for someone who wants to do a routine more for tone than weight gain or muscle mass? I love aerobics but hate doing any weight training. I am 41 5’8″ 157.3 lbs.

Alan, I’m a big advocate of finding ways to stay fit that you enjoy.

If your heart is in aerobic exercises like running, walking, bicycling, swimming, cross-country skiing, rowing, skating, and machines such as stair steppers and elliptical trainers, that’s all great. All of these cardiovascular exercises are great for strengthening your heart, increased bone density, reducing stress and so on.

But just as man cannot live on bread alone, neither can he have a well-rounded routine without strength/weight training. Not only does strength training help boost metabolism (something that’s very important as we age), it staves off a whole slew of diseases, improves posture, decreases the risk of injury – and it will improve your aerobic performance.

And fear not: Strength training doesn’t necessarily equal large muscle gains. You can pursue a strength training program that tones rather than builds muscle. Such a program would involve high repetitions of low weights. Or you can ditch the weights entirely in favor of training with resistance bands. Or you could train with your own body weight – doing things like push-ups, pull-ups and the like – or even take gymnastics classes.

Regardless of our goals, cardio and strength training go hand-in-hand. It’s like bread and butter, salt and pepper or dildos and douches. Our cardio and strength training just need to be tweaked to meet whatever goals we set.

So Alan, I encourage you to find an enjoyable way to get the strength training you need in a way that involves high reps of light weights.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Rants? Raves? Share them in the comments below.