The number one answer I hear when I ask "what is your fitness goal", is "I want to tone". Woah, woah, woah. I want to bust a SERIOUS misconception and LIE the fitness and supplement industry has been feeding you, and everyone believed it. It's the idea that "toning" is even a thing. Because, well, it's not. Its made up. "Toning" is made up of 2 things; fat loss and muscle gain. This catch phrase "to tone up" MEANS you want to add muscle and lose fat. You can't do it without gaining muscle. You can't do it without losing fat.
There became a serious push back from women about lifting heavy, and the average woman believed (and still believes) lifting weight makes you gain muscle, which makes you "bulky" (*cough it doesn't cough*. I'll seriously leave that to another article though...) So women everywhere became terrified to gain muscle. Because of the fear of muscle gain in women, the fitness industry realized that the consumer (you, the person working out) DID want to gain muscle and lose weight, but they didn't know that. So the industry, smartly, created the term "tone" to describe someone who had decent muscle mass and low body fat. This became what women desired. A "toned" body... But you know, without gaining muscle and lifting *sarcasm intended
I want to talk about what Toning REALLY is, and how you do it.
Toning, like stated before, means you gain muscle and lose fat to have an overall strong, slender, and athletic appearance. The women you idolize as "toned" LIFT WEIGHTS. I kid you not. ALL OF THEM SISTER! They are all in the gym with the men! I would bet my life on it. Why?
Well, what do you think is under your fat? It is muscle that gives the body shape. Without muscle, you are bones... You are skinny, with no shape. Therefore, you need muscle to look your desired way.
To be "toned", you must also have a healthy and lower body fat, therefore part of "toning" is also fat loss. We WANT to see the shape of your muscle under that fat!
SO HOW DO YOU BUILD MUSCLE AND LOSE FAT?!
There is another serious misconception out there that you cannot lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Many people think you HAVE to go through a strict "bulk" period and "cut" period. WRONG! You can lose fat and build muscle AT THE SAME TIME, by doing a few things.
1. LIFT GIRL LIFT!
Seriously, stop getting on the treadmill at the gym, and head over to a cable machine or a dumbbell rack. It is actually insanely difficult to gain massive amounts of muscle, even for female "body builders" or women that compete in physique competitions. Not only will lifting start to build muscle and shape to your body, muscle burns fat faster! Your metabolism will go up simply because you have more muscle. Why? Because muscle takes more energy (calories) to keep the muscle there (on your body), and move the extra muscle around during the day.
2. Eat plenty of protein
I am the biggest advocate for diets that include .8-1g of protein per lean body weight. I weigh anywhere from 126lbs to 145lbs depending on the season, and I ALWAYS eat 150g of protein, because it keeps protein synthesis going (building/repairing muscles) keeps you fuller longer (so less hungry and less cravings) and its the hardest macro (thing you eat) to convert to fat. Its almost impossible to turn protein to fat. There is nearly no downside to a high protein diet unless you have a medical condition.
3. Be in a SLIGHT caloric deficit.
You do need to be eating less than your body burns to lose fat. That is the simplest way to explain fat loss. Fat loss doesn't happen unless you consume less calories than you burn. However, you don't want to starve your body, or eat in a severe caloric deficit, because you body will turn to your muscle as fuel. Your body will literally eat the muscles you want to build/keep to run your body if you don't eat enough. However, if you aren't in enough of a caloric deficit, you wont lose fat. You have to find a happy medium. If you're wondering how to find that, head over to my MacroCalculator for a custom macro (and calorie) count for your body and your goals!
I hope I busted the toning myth and gave you an idea of how to lose fat and build muscle for that "toned" look everyone is looking for! If you have any questions about how to lose fat, build muscle, questions about what to eat, what exercises to do, etc, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org , message me via the contacts page, or follow me on instagram @nikellebombshell !