Monday, May 9, 2022

To Tone Your Muscle You Must Do the Opposite of What You Have Been Told :

To Tone Your Muscle You Must Do the Opposite of What You Have Been Told

Many times women come to me for training to look and feel their best. This often ties into weddings, the bikini season, class reunions etc. Probably the two most common requests is to lose fat and to tone their muscle which leads me into my story here.

Now this is probably going to go against what you have heard in the past and I'll just have to ask you to trust me on this because just about everybody has the concept of "toning" wrong and that is what this article is intended to prove. To learn, you must first empty your cup.

The first myth that I want to dispel is this whole "cardio tones muscle" nonsense. This is going to go back to how I found my muse. My muse is an underweight girl who wants to tone her muscle. Her plan of action is to do Zumba (a Latin dance based cardio routine) to do it. I am sorry but cardio doesn't work at toning. If you want proof please take a look at some of the marathon runners you see. A lot of them look like they just came out of a hospital bed. Hardly the toned look you are looking for.

The next one is this whole "high reps tone muscle, low reps produce bulk" myth. If low repetitions always produced bulk and high reps don't then why do bodybuilders have such large muscles? Rep ranges common to bodybuilders are typically somewhere between 8 and 12 repetitions. When you train with high reps your muscles get pumped full of something called "sarcoplasm". It's kind of like a gooey substance that sits between your muscle fibers, gives them an inflated look and does little to nothing to improve strength. That isn't tone.

"But I don't care about being strong. I just want to look toned." That is something I hear from my clients quite a bit. The fact of the matter is they are the same thing. They are not mutually exclusive.

So then what is tone and how do you get it? Tone is actually a function of your nervous system. It is the flow of ions across cell membranes. It is residual tension within a relaxed muscle. It is kind of like a relaxed but ready state for your muscle fibers to do something that requires strength. The way you get it is with heavy and high intensity strength training without burning out your nervous system. Learn how to generate tension properly and use it properly in your program. Stop looking at workouts as being toning workouts and instead think of it as a strength workout. If muscle tone is the destination then strength training is the road to get there. Keeping your reps low will prevent you from having unwanted bulk and of course you have to be lean enough to see the tone but that is largely a function of a proper nutrition plan.

Here is a sample strength training (for muscle toning) session.

Squat 3 - 5 reps
Rest 1 minute
Overhead press 3 - 5 reps
Rest 1 minute
Pull ups 3 - 5 reps
Rest 3-5 minutes and repeat 3-5 times 3 times a week.
Don't forget to go heavy but not to muscle failure.

Train smart, be strong and look amazing.

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