Lil Miss Fitness Freak

"And though she be but little, she is fierce"

WTH Is Toning? Fitness Friday 14

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Did you know that there is actually a definition related to exercise for ‘toning’ ?

..give greater strength or firmness to (the body or a part of it).
“exercise tones up the muscles” (source: Google)
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This annoys me because, friends, truth be told, there is no such thing as ‘toning.’ This is some weird word that has been used in the context of leaning down or getting ‘tighter’ through exercising. Personal trainers tend to love this word because it’s a buzz word that brings all the ladies to the gym. Yes, I’m being sexist here because lets be honest with ourselves…what male have you heard say:
I would like to be more toned
Yeah…said no man ever, or maybe 1% of the entire male species.
Friends, in general muscle does one of two things:
Either it grows OR is gets broken down. That is the simple scenario here.
A muscle doesn’t tone up. What does that even mean?
I feel like to most people this means that you will build muscle that is not bulky and makes you look slimmer…

Yet another myth that just doesn’t seem to die…

Muscles lead to bulky women.
WRONG!
Exhibit A: Heidi Somers is tiny (like lil me!) and lifts heavy…
Does she look bulky to you? 
Disclaimer. Remember that exercise is only a small part of body composition. Nutrition is also key to how the body will respond to exercise related stimulation and how your body will appear aesthetically. If you think that a female has gotten ‘bulky’ due to lifting, her body genetically may just be more responsive to exercise related stimulation. However, that would be in addition to her eating and training regime. 
I think toning is seen as a safe word for females because building muscle still appears to freak them out because they assume it makes them larger. Why wouldn’t it though, it does that for guys?

Testosterone friends.

…One big contributor

Us women, yeah, we don’t have the level of testosterone that males have so while they are focused on their bicep peaks and can get quads the size of a small child, it ain’t happening for a female. …naturally that is..
Plus, without getting too much into physiology of the sexes, their bodies are better able to put on muscle mass PLUS they are eating generally double the amount that females are. From an evolution standpoint, females are meant to have babies and muscle building is not really helpful for that purpose. So can we stop worrying about it already?

Okay so back to toning….

So what then really happens with muscle building?
I’m going to be very general here because this is a simple concept. When you lift weights with enough intensity, you tear the fibres and then, provided they get enough nutrients and recovery, they will repair. This repairing is part of the building process. Now, building muscle doesn’t mean that you will start to grow like hercules. Ladies, building muscle takes a lot of time and when it does start to make an appearance, it’s a good thing.
Lean muscle mass provides us ladies with curves. Don’t have a butt? Build one. Have a straight figure? Well then work at providing your body with some shape through your strength training if that is what you desire.
Once again, I think what this idea of toning really is just thinking you’re going to get smaller. If you want to get smaller, that is fat loss ladies and gents. Fatty tissue is bulky. Muscle tissues are lean and dense.
So therefore, if your goal is to get smaller then weight loss will have to be part of the picture. That being said, I don’t think anyone wants to be scrawny, so this is where muscle comes in. As I have mentioned a few times already in this post, adding muscle to your frame will not lead you to getting puffy and big, instead, it will add some definition and shape to your figure

So, the main point of this point…

There is no such thing as toning. Lifting ‘baby weights’ as they call them for 30 million repetitions is not weight training and will not “tone” your body. That’s basically a cardio session.
Instead, lift heavy weights, get stronger and add beautiful, athletic shape to your body through your training. If you’re diet is in check and perhaps throw in some cardiovascular training here and there, you will not become the next woman on roids I can promise you that.
…notice how I threw in a diet component there. If you’re eating too much for your body you may indeed bulk up, but that’s not from muscle…
Of course, that all being said, if the idea of a flexed muscle is what you consider bulking up and is thought of as ugly, then suite yourself and don’t lift weights. Simple as that.
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I happen to love the way muscle looks on a female. I don’t consider myself bulky at all. But hey, thats my opinion. 

So I hope you enjoyed this weeks rant fitness talk. Happy Friday friends! 
-Chelsea
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