"But I just want to tone."
Wow! I wish I could have a nickel every time I heard someone tell me this! How many times have you heard this statement or even said it yourself? Does anybody even know what the word tone really means?
Tone is actually defined as the constant state of partial contraction of the muscles. So everyone is constantly experiencing muscle tone. We probably realize what people mean when they say, “I want to tone up.” They want to be able to see muscle definition and be leaner, right?
Well, this is done by losing or burning off the layer of fat covering the muscle. So the question is how is this best accomplished? Many people, especially females, think it is best done by lifting light weights multiple times. Females do this because they don't want to “bulk up” or “get big,” they just want to “tone,” right? WRONG!
As I stated earlier, in order to see muscle definition, the layer of fat surrounding the muscle needs to be burned off. Do you really think that a person is burning more calories and more fat by using those 3 lb and 5 lb dumbbells or by busting out the 10s, 15s and 20s? Women are not going to get “big” by lifting heavier weights. Women do not have high levels of testosterone like men and thus cannot put muscle mass on like men can—especially if women are following a healthy diet and not overconsuming calories.
The best way to burn off the layer of fat surrounding the muscle is to increase your overall calorie burn and decrease your calorie intake with a healthier diet. In order to burn more calories, you need to increase your heart rate or work rate. The higher your heart rate, the more calories and fat you are burning. Here are just a few tips to really rev up your workout, get your heart rate up and burn more calories to get that lean, defined body.
- Decrease your rest time between exercises.
- Increase the weight you are lifting.
- Increase the number of repetitions.
- Work large muscles groups (legs, chest, back and abs) because they burn more calories. -
- Do complex exercises—instead of just doing a squat or a lunge, include an arm curl or shoulder press with it.
- Include intervals in your cardio workouts.