The “TONING” Effect

Two biggest “goals” I receive from clients on their questionnaires are one, learn how to eat and have a healthy relationship with food, and two, have toned, sculpted arms.   In order to achieve goal  number 2, you need to pick up the weights! You cannot achieve sculpted arms through cardio and you cannot constantly use five pounds weights in your fitness classes that you’ve been repping for the past ten years.  

Simply put, you cannot build what isn’t there! In order to have toned, sculpted (and for men built) arms you need to build MUSCLE!

So if you can only lift five pound dumbbells this week, try the eights’s next week. Try to push yourself for more each time! Muscle tissue needs to tear in order for it to grow back bigger. There must be progression and overload through sets, reps and weight in order to stimulate the muscles for them to grow.

Now while everyone wants “toned” arms, there really is no such thing as “toning”.   It simply doesn’t exist.  When people say they want to get  “toned” they are basically saying that they want to see muscle definition, most of the time in their arms for that “sculpted”, “cut”, “defined” look.

To tone actually means to have some amount of muscle definition on your body and have low enough body fat so that the muscle can actually be seen.  The more muscle you have and the less fat you have covering it, the more “toned” you will appear to be.

If you have fat covering your muscle, you simply won’t be able to see it and therefore you will not look “toned”.

So, in order to have that “toned” look you need to: Build more muscle, lose fat, or…do both.

If you want to look toned you need to know that higher reps, lighter weight, “toning exercises” like yoga and the Barre, bands and five pound dumbbells as well as silly magical supplements, detoxes, cleanses and the like will not make you toned. They may preserve the muscle mass that you have, but they are not capable of building new muscle.  They simply do not provide the training stimulus needed to build muscle in the first place.

So, if you want to be “cut”, “ripped”, “defined”, “toned” or whatever have you, pick up the heavier weights, make sure you progress in reps, sets and total overall volume, follow a great training program that will yield results, and get on a sensible dietary plan to lose fat.  Providing that you work hard in the gym and stay consistent, you will eventually see that “toned” look you’ve been wanting.

There is a reason they say tank top season is upon us.  Everyone loves shapely arms.  To me they signify strength, to others they are simply sexy.  Now pick up the dumbbells and get going!