Toning workouts for women are now available at most gyms and wellness clubs. Every year, thousands of people sign up for barre, Pilates, or spinning classes to tone their bodies and lose fat. Believe it or not, there is no such thing as “muscle toning.” This term is mostly used for marketing purposes, or as a way to make fitness more appealing to women.
Any workout that claims to “tone” your body will increase muscle definition by burning fat. However, it will have little or no impact on muscle growth and development. Strength training, on the other hand, builds lean muscle and torches fat by increasing your metabolism. Compared to the so-called “toning” workouts, weight lifting will bring you closer to your goals in less time.
The Myth of Toning
Most women looking to tone the muscles either do hours of cardio or perform high reps with light weights. Some also engage in “toning” workouts consisting of bodyweight exercises, dance-inspired moves, and yoga poses. Unfortunately, these strategies are often a waste of time. What women want is a firm body with muscular definition and shape. This is what they mean by “toning up.” Mistakenly, they believe that using high reps and little resistance along with steady state cardio is the best way to achieve this state.
Toning occurs when your body fat levels are low enough to see muscle definition. However, toning itself has nothing to do with lean muscle growth. Muscles can only grow or shrink in size – they do not go from soft to hard. What is referred to as “toning” is a state of tension in the muscle that enables you to maintain good posture and coordination. The only way to achieve muscle definition is to build muscle and lower your body fat levels.
Is Weight Lifting Good for Women?
The truth is that most women are afraid to lift heavy. They mistakenly believe that strength training will add bulk to their bodies instead of slimming them down. If building muscle were that easy,
everyone would look like a bodybuilder. It takes years of strict dieting, supplementation, heavy training to achieve a muscular physique. As a woman, you don’t have enough HGH and testosterone to get big. Poor nutrition, not strength training, is what makes women bulky.
Female powerlifters are massive because of their high-calorie intake. These women lift hundreds and even thousands of pounds to gain strength. They would not be able to do that on a low or moderate calorie diet. Some eat over 10,000 calories a day to get big and strong. Anabolic steroids play a role in this process too. Female bodybuilders have a low-calorie diet, but use peptides, hormones, and cutting-edge supplements to achieve extreme muscular definition. They also go through bulking and cutting cycles, load up on sodium and carbs before a competition, and dehydrate themselves for this purpose. Unless you’re a pro athlete, no one will ever ask you to do these things.
Strength training alone isn’t going to make you bulky. It will actually enhance your curves and make them more appealing. Your booty will be firmer and rounder, your arms will look toned, and your waist will get small
er. Weight lifting for women will also improve your self-image and make you more confident. Its beneficial effects on immune, cardiovascular, and brain function are well-documented.
Weight Lifting vs. Toning Workouts
If you want a firm, lean body, hit the weights. Toning workouts for women promote overall health but have a negligible impact on body composition. For example, spinning classes support cardiovascular function, boost your overall fitness, and torch calories. However, they won’t help you build lean mass or rev up your metabolism. If you want to enjoy better health, go for it. But don’t do it for the sole purpose of “toning up” because you’ll end up being disappointed.
Strength training is the most effective way to achieve a lean physique, with firm muscles and low body fat. Don’t be afraid to go heavy in the gym. The whole point is to work your muscles to fatigue and keep your body from getting used with exercise. If you only use light weights or do the same workouts over and over, you’ll hit a plateau.
Diversify your exercise routine and keep trying new moves. Switch from dumbbells to kettlebells, and vice versa. Increase the weight once every 10-14 days. As long as you use proper form, you can go as heavy as you wish. For best results, work mostly with free weights. Gym machines are a good choice too, but they may limit your gains. Training with free weights will make you stronger and leaner in a shorter time. Also, it’s important to work all muscle groups. Focusing only on “vanity” muscles, such as your abs and glutes, will lead to muscular imbalances and injury.