“I want to tone-up or get muscle tone!” An exercise goal I often hear; I am sure at some point it has been one of your exercise goals.
When you set this goal, were you thinking aesthetic (tone-up) or health benefits(muscle tone)? In-fact what does tone-up mean to you?
I am guessing you were thinking aesthetic, you want to be able to see muscle definition – you want your muscles to clearly show their shape. Achieving this goal requires both physical effort (strength training) and a controlled diet (body fat lose), to let the muscles show through. This is a great goal, you can feel good about the effort you are putting in. Remember that without the necessary diet changes, this goal is difficult to achieve.
Do not despair, strength train effort won’t go to waste, you are still building muscle tone. This is the amount of tension in a muscle at rest and is also an indicator of good health and has life changing benefits.
For either goal, my advice is to make strength training, resistance or body weight, a part of your weekly exercise routine. Here are four of my strongest reason to keep trying or to start to exercise for muscle tone even when tone-up seems to hard.
4 reasons to exercise for muscle tone
- Posture:Muscle tone means muscles are partially contracted when you are resting and good muscle tone allows you to maintain a balanced posture. Lose muscle tone somewhere and your skeletal system starts to be forced in varying directions. Think stooped posture, head slumped forwards and rounded shoulders.
- Skeletal-muscular balance:Muscle tone helps your whole body share the load. Rather than allowing one set of muscles to bear the burden of physical stress. Toned muscles distribute these stresses over the muscular-skeletal system. This reduces the strain on muscles, ligaments, and tendons and can help you avoid injuries.
- Live longer by reduce your fall risk: Adults over 60 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls. Muscle tone contributes to muscle balance and your posture. Being able to not only avoid falling in the first place through strong, balanced, and toned muscles, as well as absorb the stress of a fall increases your prospects of a long and active life.
- It is good for your health: Tone comes from having a low body fat to muscle ratio. Lower body fat levels we know helps us avoid many chronic health issues. It is important to realise that just having low body fat doesn’t mean we are healthy. If you have low muscle tone and low body fat, it is likely you are in poor health.
How to tone-up or improve your muscle tone?
Genetics will always play a part in toning up and you can’t do anything about that. If you are still struggling to achieve the “look” you want, don’t forget what is under the surface will make a difference. Here are a few tips.
- Workout and work at maintaining a low fat to muscle ratio with a combination of exercise and nutrition. A healthy diet is a big part of lowering this ratio. Strength training or even circuit training which combines resistance and cardio are great for building strength and burning calories.
- Don’t be afraid to progress your resistance training by lifting heavier weights. Light weight and high reps aren’t a magic combination. This would be a very inefficient way to train and it will take longer to achieve the desired results.
- Machine or free-weights, whatever works for you. It is doing the workout often enough which matters. You don’t need expensive equipment to achieve results, body weight exercises will develop muscle tone.
- There aren’t any quick fixes. Supplements or machines that promise magic results in record time are not worth the money. Time, patience, and consistent effort are the key.
My closing piece of advice, “tone-up” is a fabulous fitness goal, think beyond how you look and realise your health, not just your physique will benefit by improving your muscle tone. They are both great goals.
If you have any questions or would like to know more, you can contact Richard at refresh YOU Pymble or your local refresh YOU trainer via email or our website. Refresh YOU putting fresh air and fun into exercise, try us!