Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Toning: Light vs. Heavy Weights

Source (Complete-Change)
So many people have it all wrong! Almost every day there’s people doing their “toning workout” in the gym over and over for months, just to see that their bodies haven’t changed a bit! Eventually they stop going to the gym. I would have stopped too, if that was me!


The term ‘toned’ implies leanness in the body (low levels of body fat), noticeable muscle definition and shape, but not significant muscle size ("bulk"). Toning can be broken up into two aspects; developing muscles and burning fat.

The Pink Dumbbell Myth – Don’t be fooled
Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
In a lot of magazines and infomercials we see that we should use lighter weights (e.g., the pink dumbbells) for higher reps to tone our bodies. They also believe that this somehow burns more fat and that women shouldn’t lift heavy weights because it leads to getting big and bulky.
These pink-dumbbell women believe that more reps with lighter weight will tone their bodies. The problem is you have to weight train to get a body that fits most people’s definition of “toned”. You generally have to go heavy, put on muscle mass and you’ll have to drop your body fat ratio. That’s the secret! You can’t tone what you don’t have. Don’t be afraid of building muscle. Being thinner, does not equal being toned and if you’re afraid of building muscle, then your chase after a lean and toned body will end up in failure!

Step 1: Use heavy weights for gaining muscle
Using lighter weights for higher reps will help you increase muscular endurance but won’t form and build the muscle in order to see those ‘lines’. This doesn’t matter whether you are a male or a female; it applies equally regardless of gender. 


Whether you're a man or a woman, wanting to bulk up or slim down, you'll do the same kinds of exercises and training methods. The difference lies in the amount of reps, sets and the amount of calories you take in. More calories if you’re building muscle, fewer calories if you want to lose weight.
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Your muscles will stay the same if you choose low resistance and never push them for results. Doing fewer reps with higher resistance will actually give you the results you are seeking. Muscles need to be trained, and if you keep working them out in the same way, your muscles will stay the same, just like your workout. Increase your resistance and push yourself even if it is only for a few reps each time.

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 even have enough testosterone to get bulky muscles).
  • For strength gains: 1-6 reps, heavy weight
  • For gaining muscle and size(TONING): 8-12 reps, medium-heavy weights
  • For endurance: 12-16 reps (or more), light-medium weights
No matter what range you choose, you should use a weight which allows you to ONLY complete the target reps. if you're doing 12 bicep curls, choose a weight that allows you to do 12 reps with good form. If you can do more than that, increase your weight. Using all three ranges, whether you use them each week, each month or change them every few weeks, is a great way to challenge your body in different ways

Source (Chase Fear)
Step 2: Do cardio to burn the fat around your muscles
If your goal is to see your muscles, your goal isn't just toning/doing weights, it's to also lose body fat! The firming-up or toning is due to an increase in muscle tissue as well as a low enough body fat percentage to see the definition and shape of the muscles and to get rid of the flabs. You have to get rid of the fat around your muscles, i.e. there’s no sense in doing 1000 crunches every week in order to get a toned, flat stomach, the layer of fat will still be there for as you only train the muscles under the fat.
You must burn body fat as part of your toning process. Body fat will get in the way of a toned body every time. To help get the definition you want, you must also burn body fat. The best way to burn body fat is through intense cardio exercise.


We have to do cardio, doing 20-30 reps on weight machines won’t make us burn fat, this only teaches our muscles endurance! We have to do cardio and we have to sweat!


Cardio and Weight training exercises that use large muscle groups e.g. gluts, quads, chest and back exercises, with a progressively greater resistance, have the most potential for restoring lean body weight, rising the metabolism hours after exercise, thus, burning fat.

Conclusion: Do full body workouts
The problem with the idea of toning is that it leads to the myth that says “if you want to tone the back of your arms, you must do tricep extensions.” Okay fine, you can and should work your tricep muscles, but that’s not going to get rid of the fat around them. The fat is what keeps you from seeing those muscles!
Overall 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. Instead of focusing on individual body parts, you need to focus on the whole body (i.e. working your whole body with weights and cardio).
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. Men get bulky because of their high testosterone levels while women won’t get big bulky muscles because we don’t have those hormones that make our muscles go bulky. Our muscles will only become hard and defined.

1 comment:

  1. These are really some excellent fitness tips that will keep women fit and healthy..

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