"Getting toned" or looking "toned" are phrases you hear often within the fitness industry or on socials and it is a common "look" that a lot of woman strive for.
It feels like there is a stigma still for women to say they want muscles and want to be stronger so people go with the phrase "toned" for some reason instead. I'm here for embracing straight up having muscle.
First things first, muscle "toning" Isn't a thing and there aren't specific exercises that "tone". What actually is happening is simply just muscle growth. Let's not be afraid here ladies and just call it what it is... muscle growth and having muscle tissue. The "toned" look that most people want in life is actually just having skeletal muscle and those muscles being more defined as they grow and levels of body fat drop.
How do you gain muscle? Aka get toned
You have to lift heavier (relative to you) weights to stress your muscles regularly in order to gain muscle mass. Lifting weights causes stress to the muscle fibers. The muscle fibers breakdown, the fibers fuse back together and adapt through recovery which then leads to an increase in the overall muscle size/mass and strength.
The second part of this is you'll likely want to work to lower your body fat a tad for the muscles to pop or show more/ be defined. If you have a higher amount of body fat it may cover your muscles and cause them to be less defined than you'd like.
Heavier weights? Why?
This is a huge eye opener for most; you actually have to lift HEAVIER weights to get the stress needed for your muscles to adapt and then grow. Heavy meaning - the intensity is challenging to YOU. You are not just going through the motions with ease and able to do rep after rep. The stress (resistance) on the muscles should have you feeling like you can only go on for a few more reps towards the end of your set .. not indefinitely. On a scale of 1-10 the difficulty should range from 7-8 by the end of your sets.
Will you get bulky?
No, plain and simple no.
Let's NOT forget the MANNNNNNNNNNNNNY benefits that come with regular reistance training - both physical and mental. Check them out here.
Being toned = having muscle and it showing
We build muscle through stress via resistance training aka lifting
Now let's enter into your muscle building era and get to lifting.
Not sure where to start? Check out these programs