The #1 question women ask trainers all the time is “how do I get more toned?”
Whenever a woman asks me this question, I take a deep breath and prepare to answer. I cross my fingers and hope that all the “2 weeks to a tighter core,” “top tricks for toning,” and “5 best exercises for a sexy butt,“ etc. articles haven’t completely clouded her judgment and made her think that there is a single magic bullet out there in the mystical beyond of the exercise heavens that will get her the toned body of her dreams. Thank goodness, we don’t have to search the world and 100,000 fitness articles for the holy grail of toning – there are endless ways to achieve this goal. Below is a summary that you can take with you for life…
The exciting reality is that anything that stimulates your muscles will help them achieve good tone. There is no single and superior exercise prop or movement that fits every body’s needs or even a single person’s needs in different seasons of life. You can use exercise bands, dumbbells, stability balls, body weight, machines, cables, bosu balls, kettlebells, TRX, and many more pieces of equipment to achieve your toning goals. You can even use a toddler or a bag of heavy groceries…wink wink. Actually, it’s true! Again, anything that stimulates your muscles with resistance can improve tone! The secret to seeing results from all this “stimulation?” Answer: CONSISTENCY!
Incorporating weights or resistance training to work all major muscle groups in your body is sufficient for toning if you do it a few times a week (again, you can use any of the props mentioned above). If you don’t exercise very often then twice a week for a half hour might be a good place to start. If you exercise regularly then you already know that more intensity is required to stimulate your body the same amount, so the aforementioned prescription probably won’t be enough for you. Ohhh, the mountaintop is always just another few steps higher and higher.
This brings me to the next point; for those who are new to exercise and those who are seasoned, you can take a deep breath and rest assured that you don’t have to spend excessive amounts of time in the gym hitting the weights for good toning. The secret to being efficient for toning purposes is….drumroll please…..lifting HEAVY.
Using more intense resistance or heavier weight on any number of exercises means you’re stimulating your muscles and hormones at a higher level and can reap greater results in fewer sets and reps. This saves time and helps you look and feel fantastic. Once you experience this firsthand there will be no desire to go back to the cute little weights! Now, before you panic about heavy lifting because you think it will make you “bulky,” I want you to look at the picture below….
Okay, now please look back up at the picture again for an additional 10 seconds…
Did it sink in yet, ladies? I can’t tell you all how many times I have had to quell a woman’s fear that weight lifting will make her look bulky. I’m prepared to offer a small sample from the overwhelming evidence of why this just doesn’t happen to women. Read on!
- Testosterone is one reason women don’t get bulky. We don’t have a ton of it. Testosterone is a hormone that is produced in 20x greater amounts by men than women and helps with muscle growth. Frankly, this is kind of disappointing news!
- On the flip side, research suggests that some female dominant hormones may actually prevent protein synthesis which again, aids muscle growth.
- Women have fewer muscle fibers in their upper bodies compared to men. Hence, it’s harder to acquire that “bulk” women are so afraid of.
Parnell Dean with Body Transformation Fitness wrote:
“Although it is understandable that women are worried that weight training will make them overly muscular, there are many physiological and coincidental reasons why it is highly unlikely that women are going to become too big and bulky from weight training. Unless they take anabolic steroids, eat more calories than they need, and train intensely for years, women will not get too big and bulky from weight training; instead, they will build the strong yet sleek, trim, and toned physique that they desire.”
And why wouldn’t you want to lift weights when you know how much they can transform you? Take for example, Adam Campbell with Women’s Health Magazine who wrote an article titled “12 Reasons You Should Start Lifting Weights Today,” and cited that lifting weights can help women lose up to 40% more body fat compared to just doing cardio exercise or no exercise.
To sum, consistency and lifting heavier as your body becomes stronger will help you achieve the toning you’re after. Trying out a variety of exercises and props will help you hone in on which ones you feel confident performing and which ones you enjoy and want to do more often.
I promise, I could write articles on the top 5 exercises for your gluts, upper arms, calves, inner thighs, lower core, upper back, chest, etc. all darn day long but here’s the thing – I’m interested in giving you so much more than a short list of exercises to take home. Wellnesswinz is here to help you understand how to make living fit and well a lifestyle.
Yours in health and wellness,