Congratulations on selecting the goal to get toned! Committing to this goal will make you leaner, stronger, and all-around healthier. But before we dive right in to working out, you should first have an understanding of what achieving the goal of “Get Toned” will entail.
What “Get toned” really means:
There are a lot of misconceptions about what it really means to get toned. Most people think of it as “thin and lean”, or “shapely muscles”, or “look better naked”. All of these are correct, to a certain extent. Getting toned means that you are building muscle and losing the layer of fat over these muscles, so that you achieve a healthy body shape. This means that to get toned, your workouts should be a combination of strength training to build lean muscle mass, and cardio such as running, swimming, or biking to lose fat.
Lose the fat coat (conditioning):
You can develop your muscles, and they can be the nicest, strongest, shapeliest muscles in the world, but it won’t matter if they are hidden by fat. The truth of the matter is that a 300 lb. man actually has pretty large, strong muscles from constantly carrying around all that body weight. But when you look at this 300 lb. man, you don’t think “muscular”. Do cardio. Lose the excess fat. Show off the muscles underneath. Look toned.
Build those muscles (strength training):
To get toned, you have to build muscle. This applies to both men and women. Doing a lot of cardio and losing weight, without building muscle, will make you look skinny, breakable, and underfed. Lifting weights and doing resistance training (and eating right!) will develop muscle tone so you look shapely, not sickly. Along with weights, you can also do exercises such as barre, CrossFit, and yoga to get toned.
Also, it’s time to discard the irrational fear that weight training will make you look huge and bulky. Developing huge, bulky muscles takes years of intense weight lifting, combined with a specific, protein-heavy diet. So stop being afraid that lifting weights will make you freakishly muscular. It’s not going to happen unless you eat and work out like a bodybuilder.
Proper weights and reps:
It is also time to disregard this “low weight, high reps” myth about getting toned. If you are doing high reps of low weights, your muscles are not working very hard, thus, they will not grow to be nice and shapely, thus, you will continue to look the same as you always have. And you will have wasted a lot of time flapping your arms around the gym, looking the same. To get toned, you should be lifting weights that push your muscles to the limit for each and every set of 6-12 reps you do. This means you will naturally be increasing the weights you are lifting with each workout as your muscles get stronger. As a rule of thumb, if you can do more than 12 reps per set, then your weight is not heavy enough.