I have to be honest...the first thing I do when someone tells me they "just want to tone up" is slap my palm to my forehead and groan. It's not because I'm frustrated with that person...quite the contrary!
The reason is the whole insidious but popular myth that it's possible to just "get toned" in the first place!
It's a myth that is found every aspect of popular fitness and it's time to put a stop to it once and for all before it robs yet another unfortunate person of their results.
Please realize, I'm NOT frustrated with the the person asking me the question about how to "get toned," but I AM frustrated with a fitness industry and popular media that leads people to believe they can make changes to their body without any real meaningful work and without actually building any honest-to-goodness, fully-functioning, metabolism-boosting muscle!
To be blunt and to put it another way, tricep kickbacks with a soup can will not stop your underarms from flapping in the wind.
You see, I'm frustrated because this is a myth that keeps people doing useless training that gets them nowhere. And then they give up and may write off all fitness and training as useless for them.
This is something I can't stand to see because I desperately want you to succeed in changing your body and getting healthier (it's why I'm in the business I'm in). But ineffective training information can stop you right in your tracks.
Now if you're reading this article because it's your goal to "get toned," PLEASE keep reading because I'm going to lay it all out for you right now...
1. You can't "tone" muscle. You can build muscle. You can lose muscle. Or your muscle can stay the same.
2. You can't "tone" fat. You can gain fat. You can lose fat. But you can't "tone" it.
The look that most people would describe as "toned" is ALWAYS a result of building muscle (or keeping the muscle you've got!) and losing fat...PERIOD. If you don't have muscle mass, you can lose fat but you'll just be a smaller version of what you are right now.
The problem arises when a person uses exercises and programs that bend to the desire not to build a single extra ounce of muscle for fear of "getting big bulky muscles." By doing that, you basically throw out most, if not all, of the most effective things you can do for fat loss!
Unfortunately, what you pretty much achieve with a goal of "toning up" is nothing at all.
And please believe me, I'm not saying this to be mean or discourage anyone from exercising. I'm saying this becuase you deserve to know the truth...
Toning up is a myth.
If you want results, you just need to train with challenging exercises and targeted fat-loss programs. It's not glamorous but it works!
And before I go any further, I do need to lay another myth to rest really quickly...merely touching a dumbell or barbell is NOT enough to build massive muscles and make you "bulk up," especially if you're female.
I can only WISH it were that easy! To really build the amount of muscle it takes to get that "bulky" look, you need to train specifically for muscle growth and eat plenty of food. It's hard work and it definitely doesn't come as easily and many people fear!
But by staying away from those challenging weight training exercises, you're not going to get the best fat-loss results possible.
You don't need to do bicep curls with a jar of pickles. You need to do squats and lunges and work the big muscles of your body that drive your metabolism to burn fat 24 hours a day.
You don't need to lie on the floor and do five hundred crunches to tighten your stomach. You need to do interval training for cardio to burn the fat off to show those abs!
Bottom line: if you are serious about wanting results for the effort you put in but an exercise or program isn't challenging you, it won't get you there.
If you DON'T want results and you prefer to spin your wheels, no problem! Just grab a magazine at the grocery store and do the latest toning program that "all the celebrities are using!"
Like I mentioned above, it takes more than touching a dumbell to get massive muscles...but a little hard work will go a LONG way towards building the body you want!
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of BetterU, Inc. and has been inventing new training techniques and exercises for 17+ years. Nick has written many training books including "Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass" & "Metabolic Surge - Rapid Fat Loss" - http://www.fitness-ebooks.com