I’ve been doing lots of client consultations recently and something that frequently comes up is the goal of ‘toning up’ or 'looking more toned'.
But what does that actually mean?
When someone says they want to ‘tone up’ what they’re generally talking about is having a more muscle mass and less body fat.
This combination of building muscle and losing body fat is the only way you're going to get a toned looking physique (unless you have a lot of muscle already but it’s covered by a lot of fat in which case you may just need to lose body fat).
The Muscle Building Process
The quickest way to build muscle is to follow a progressive strength training program where you’re gradually overloading your muscles by lifting heavier each week. As you lift heavier you cause damage to the muscle fibres, then as your muscles recover this damage is repaired and they grow back slightly stronger.
This is how you build muscle and get stronger.
Before you worry about strength training making you ‘bulky’, this process can take a long, long time (particularly in women as our testosterone levels are much lower) so to get ‘bulky’ you are very often looking at years and years of consistent training. You’re not suddenly going to wake up one day looking bulky.
The Fat Loss Process
The principle rule for fat loss is that you need to create a calorie deficit.
This means that you're burning more calories per day than you are consuming. (Calories are the energy contained in the food you eat).
A calorie deficit can be achieved by either:
increasing your activity levels (through exercise and/or general movement);
a combination of both of the above (i.e. eating less and increasing your activity and/or exercise)
Any diets you may have tried in the past will follow the calorie deficit principle, they just all have their own way of reducing calories by cutting out certain foods i.e. low fat, low carb, time restricted eating.
Creating a calorie deficit is the only way you will lose body fat because it's only when you’re in a calorie deficit that your body burn your extra body fat to create fuel.
So to ‘tone up’ you need:
a) a structured progressive strength training program; and
b) a nutrition plan that (when combined with your daily activity) creates a consistent calorie deficit that works for you and your lifestyle.
Whilst the main aim of our small group personal training programs are to help you get stronger, as part of the program clients are also provided with a full lifestyle program, designed to help you achieve whatever health and fitness goals you have in mind. If ‘toning up’ is your goal, get in touch and we can have a chat about how we can help you get there in a sustainable way within a supportive, friendly, pressure-free environment.