What Is Muscle Toning
Muscle toning is the same thing as building or growing muscle. They are just different names for the same thing. It seems like women use the words “muscle toning” a lot more than men… I have never heard a man talk about muscle toning 🙂
But for a lot of women, saying I'm working out to grow or build my muscles, is intimidating because they associate muscle building with being manly.
This is not the case. Muscle building and toning are the same thing, and they are what give you the good shape.
You Think That You Want To Lose Weight. But Do You Really?
Growing or building muscle doesn't make any woman manly, but it does give the nice shape and curves that they want.
But this is where a lot of women get confused.
They believe that they want to lose weight, but do they really? Let's say that you weigh 160 lbs but have aesthetically really good looking physique, with strong curves, lean muscles, and great shape. Versus weighing 150 lbs and have nearly no muscle definition and shape — which one would you choose?
Look, there are no better and worse bodies. This is not what I'm talking about at all. But there are bodies that differ in their composition. You can have a lean and fit looking body when you weigh more than what you “thought” you should weigh. And that's because you have a good muscle tone.
So, assuming that you want to focus on muscle toning, and don't care so much about the weight, what do we need to do?
Progressive Overload for Muscle Toning
Today's episode is all about ways to train to tone your muscles better. But before we get there, remember that also your nutrition matters! The most important thing is to increase our protein intake, to get that muscle toning or muscle building effect. I have created two guides for you that help:
Your Ultimate Protein Guide: https://kerstenkimura.lpages.co/fit-physique-formula/
Your Calorie, Protein and Workout Blueprint: https://kerstenkimura.lpages.co/lean-ladies-blueprint/
In this podcast, I'm sharing with you 8 tips that you can try to help with muscle growth.
8 Muscle Toning Secrets For Women
To be able to tone or build muscle, we need to progressively overload our body with resistance training. Progressive overload basically means doing better over time. That can be in terms of weight, reps, sets, etc.
Progressive overload is what makes the muscle grow and strengthen and gives it the toned look.
Here are the 8 ways how you can apply the progressive overload to your muscles:
Lift Heavier Weights
If you're today doing squats with 100 lbs, maybe 3 weeks from now it's time to try 10 extra pounds. If you can lift that weight for the same amount of reps that you did with 100 lbs, you've progressively overloaded the body.
Lifting heavier weights is the one thing that most women don't pay attention to. They tend to often stick with light weights and do high number of reps, and keep it the same month after month, year after year. They are capable for so much more, but just don't know that. But this is important!
So, if you have access to heavier weights, by all means, use heavier weights. Of course, as good as your form allows. Never do your exercises with broken form.
But what if you don't have heavier weights? You can try the following.
Do More Reps
If you always do 10 reps of a certain exercise, now challenge yourself and see if you can do 12. Even though 8-12 is the most classic rep range, all numbers of reps can help you build muscle. You may even want to try 20-30 reps if your weights are very light, or if you only have your own bodyweight to use.
Do More Sets
Are you always doing 3 sets of 10 squats? If that's no longer challenging, increase the number of sets and do 4 or even 5 sets of 10 squats. This will push you outside of your comfort zone.
Slow Down Tempo
Another way to do progressive overload is to change your lifting tempo. This is especially valuable if you don't have heavier weights and you need to find a way to get that overload effect without increasing weights.
For example, when doing squats, slow down the lowering phase and slowly count to 4 or 5 as you descend, then stand up fast, on the count of one. When doing biceps curls, slow down the extension portion, then bring the weights back up fast. You'll notice that it burns differently than when just getting through your reps fast.
Work Out More Frequently
This one comes with a big caveat, especially if you are someone who tends to overtrain.
I am not suggesting to do two 90-min gym workouts a day. I am suggesting doing 2-3 short, about 10-minute workouts a day. This is a perfect option for parents whose only workout time is their kids nap time, or if they can fit a small session in between running errands.
And of course, another way to work out more frequently is bumping your workout days up to 3-4 if you're currently doing only 2.
Increase Your Range Of Motion
How low can you squat? The closer to the floor you can get your butt, the more muscle you use.
If your squat currently stops at 90 degrees, it's time to work on that depth. It might be your ankle or hip mobility that's holding you back, or you may have tight calves or quads.
Work on these underlying issues. Your squat will get deeper and you're going to recruit more muscle to perform your exercise. That is progressive overload too.
Try Unilateral Training
That means, do single arm or single leg exercises.
The options here are more limited, but here are some options: You can try single leg squats, one arm planks, one leg planks, and even one arm push ups! Just start on something elevated: For your squat, sit on a chair and try to get up from there, or for push ups, put your hand on a desk. The higher the surface, the easier it will be.
I hope this was helpful, let me know if you have any questions about progressive overload and muscle toning!
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