Monday, September 12, 2022

"Toning" Your Muscles :

Most fitness professionals cringe when people talk about "toning" muscles. This word has been taken out of context and used as a marketing ploy for women. Understanding what's actually happening with your body when you exercise is crucial to getting results and maintaining them.

Let's first discuss the terminology. Muscle tone is the continuous and passive partial contraction of the muscles, or the muscle's resistance to passive stretch during resting state. To simplify, tone is the amount of contraction in a resting muscle. In order to visually change a muscle, it's not increasing the "tone" of a muscle, it's building muscle mass.

When you lift weights or do repetitions of your own body weight, you are creating tiny tears in your muscles. As the nutrients flow in after your workout to repair those tears (which is why your post-workout nutrition is extremely important), your body builds up those fibers to be stronger for the next time stress is placed upon them. This is called muscular hypertrophy, or, muscle building.

I believe at some point in the business of fitness sales, someone started using the word "tone" as a way to entice women to weight train because telling women to build muscle usually doesn't go over well. Sorry, ladies, but you build if you want to change the shape of your body or you don't build and you stay the same - there is no way around it!

The difference here (and why women get confused) is related to the amount of stress that's placed on the muscle. If you do a workout with little resistance, your body will respond by making those muscle fibers a little bit stronger. If you do a workout with a LOT of resistance, your body will respond by making them a LOT stronger over time. This doesn't mean women should be doing high reps and low weight, though, because that will not get you the results you're looking for. It just means you probably shouldn't be doing sets of three reps with as much weight as you can lift.

There are a lot of other factors involved in muscle building besides how many sets and reps you do. Proper rest and nutrition can make or break your results. Genetics and hormones play a huge factor in how our bodies build and shape as well. Many times people develop unrealistic expectations as a result of the bodybuilding community. Bodybuilders put many hours per week over many years into shaping their bodies. They are extremely strict with proper nutrition and rest. In summary, if being a bodybuilder is not your goal it's not going to happen accidentally.

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