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October 24, 2017

What It Takes To Be “Toned”

Women want to be “toned”. DUH.

I posted the photo below on instagram and it performed about 5x better than any of my normal posts. Obviously I am half naked and don’t typically use or post pictures like this; I wanted to make a point about being “toned.”  So here’ goes.

In one way or another, most women I work with or have witnessed on social media talk about being “toned”.

More specifically, they want to be TONED BUT NOT BULKY.

Now I know this has been addressed by several ladies in the industry, but that doesn’t keep me from sharing my two cents with you.

Today I’ll be going over:

  • What “toned” means.
  • Where the issue around the word came from.
  • What you need to do to achieve being “toned” and factors that effect muscle tone.

WHAT “TONED” MEANS

First off, being toned is literally the presence of muscle.  You CANNOT look “toned” without having muscle. You can be skinny, but you won’t be “toned”.  The “tonedness” is in fact muscle tone.  That is a thing and I think that is where the disconnect happened.

The presence of muscle = having muscle tone = being “toned”.

WHERE THE ISSUE AROUND “TONED” CAME FROM

If we ended there, I think most irritation around the word would subside…but women, the media, marketing strategies, WHOEVER, have added “WITHOUT GETTING BULKY OR LOOKING LIKE A MAN.”

This my friend is where we go off and the misunderstanding begins.

I have posted about why you won’t look like a man if you lift weights before (you can read it here). There are several factors regarding the desire to “be toned but not too bulky.”

WHAT YOU NEED TO DO TO BE “TONED” + FACTORS EFFECTING MUSCLE TONE

LIFT WEIGHTS

You may think this is obvious, but it’s not. Women often think they need to get skinny to look “toned”. So they hop on their cardio machine of choice and go to town. While this may be effective for losing weight (and likely muscle), it WILL NOT HELP YOU BUILD MUSCLE…therefore not help you increase muscle tone.

You need to either lift heavy, or have a high volume of lifting at a moderate weight (or a combination of both).

FACT: Lifting pink dumbbells twice a week and doing cardio IS NOT going to get you toned. NOPE. NOT TUH-DAY!

You NEED to stress your muscles and increase muscle mass. Guess what Linda?! You might even gain weight! WHAT?! Yeah, and you totes should NOT give a poo poo about it because you’ll be too busy kickin’ ass being all strong and capable and whatnot {enter hair flip}.

So you know you need to gain muscle.  Lift weights aaaannndddddd…..

EAT TO FUEL YOUR BODY

You need to be eating to supplement your training. Lifting heavy + eating top ramen and pumpkin spice lattes will not get you toned.  Eating salads and smelling water will also not do the trick.

Muscle is gained on the building blocks of protein.

As a rule of thumb, you need to be eating 1g per lb of bodyweight if you’re training + trying to build muscle.  Make that a gradual increase if you are nowhere near that right now.  Also, I am not your doctor.  Do your research.

Protein helps build the muscles, so what fuels them?

Carbs. You need them. OH YEAH. I said it.

Guess what you need when lifting weights for your muscles to work optimally?…GLYCOGEN (energy stored in muscles and liver – comes from carbs).

Carbs are not the bad guy.  Neither are good fats.  Fads and a lack of consistency IS.  Back to being toned…

SLEEP

Hormones play a HUGE roll in regulating things like stress, inflammation, recovery + regeneration, fluid balances, insulin response and so much more.  All of these effect your body’s performance, how you feel + outward appearance.

Get those 8ish hours in and do your best to make it as quality as you can (dark room, cool, no noise or white noise).

GENETICS

How well you build and hold on to muscle is genetic.  As is how and where you store fat.  Being toned but not too bulky is bull hucky.  Girlfran, what are your genetics? Are you fighting them?Are you a broad lady?  Are you a narrow bean stock?  You can build your muscles no matter what, you will increase muscle tone in doing so.  Will you like the physical outcome?  That’s up to you and what you choose to focus on.

Enter my last point:

KNOW + LOVE YOUR BODY

I repeat. Know + love your body.  This one doesn’t happen over night, but it is the MOST essential of them all.  We as women have at some point in our lives had a skewed vision of our bodies.

Other people rarely see us how we see ourselves.

You are not alone in the journey to learning and loving your body.  After determining your genetic make up, work towards the accomplishments you want to make.

You are free to work towards that “toned” body.  But please end it there.  Work towards being strong and get toned in the process without the fear of looking like a man or being too bulky.

And guess what sister…you know what to do if you get “too bulky”…the pink dumbbells and treadmill will always be there.

For real though, you can always tone down or change up the volume of your training if your body is heading in a direction you physically don’t desire.  There is nothing wrong with that as long as it is not the primary purpose of your training.

Much Love,

Annie


Want to learn more about:

learning + loving your body

eating to fuel your body

getting sleep + how more sleep = more fat loss

having a sustainable workout lifestyle

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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