I want to look toned!
“How do I do it?” ” How can I start?” “What do I eat?” “What exercises should I do?” “How about cardio?” ” How much protein?” “How much calories?” “Nothing is workiiiing, help me!”
This are the most common questions I get asked and I’m gonna try answer all of them in this article. Of course, I’m gonna divide this article into 4 or 5 other articles because otherwise this would be a long-ass read that you are never gonna finish lol But don’t worry, we will get there, step by step. I believe this way we can properly digest and store all the information inside our brain.
So, the word toned is derived from the Greek word tonos and as we know, the Greeks were some of the very first pioneers of working out and training for muscular physique.
Being toned basically means “having firm and well-defined muscles”, therefore without having a good muscular structure, you can never achieve that toned body that you dream of.
We need to lift a lot of weight to develop our beautiful muscles and we also need to reduce the body fat to reveal them, fortunately this happens naturally as part of the muscle building process.
I know most of you must be thinking right now “but I don’t want to look bulky or get too big”, “I rather just do cardio because cardio burns more calories”, “I don’t want to have big muscles and look like a men”.
I know all these questions because I used to think it myself and repeat them to my poor (very patient) boyfriend/trainer every single day. I used to fear the weight room so much until one day I decided to forget about all I thought I knew and follow the plan properly. Only then I could see the changes and the results for myself.
I can guarantee you my girls… you will not build big muscles if you lift weights, and if you do, is not something that will happen in a month, is something it will happen over the years.
I’m not just saying that, it is actually genetically impossible for a woman to look like a man because we do not produce the same amount of testosterone (hormone that stimulates muscle growth) as men, therefore, we can not build muscles like them, unless we are under a very strong supplementation, a very specific training system or steroids.
Below is My First Tip on developing that beautiful, toned, firm, attractive and healthy body you’ve always been dreaming about.
Achieve the 3 M’s:
There are 3 primary mechanisms for muscle growth: Muscle tension, Metabolic stress and Muscle damage. I’m gonna try explain them to you in a way that is easier to understand.
From my own experience, progressively overloading the muscles is one of the most important keys to muscle growth.
Lifting heavier and heavier weights each training, places those muscle fibres under a “new” level of tension that they aren’t used to. This causes the muscles to tear, which is the beginning phase of muscular growth. Our bodies and us as a species were built to survive and as a survival mechanism, your recently torn muscles want to protect you next time you are under heavy load like that. Therefore (provided you feed them sufficient nutrients and give them the rest they need), they will rebuild as a larger muscle, enabling them to carry that load and more next time you put them under stress.
When you perform a heavy weight exercise through a full range of motion, you can get your muscles under that mechanical tension I mentioned above!
But doing heavy weights only once every two weeks, will not be as effective for gains because our muscles need more stimulus than that to optimize growth (2 -3 times a week would be more optimal). I learned that thanks to the scientific experiments that Brad and Bret Contreras did together on the topic.
Also, heavier weights alone won’t do the job. You will need to get that metabolic stress and muscle damage on the game too. The metabolic stress you can achieve by doing higher reps or band work, and keeping the muscle under tension the whole time. You know that burning sensation when you think you can’t really do any more reps and your muscles are on fire? That’s metabolic stress!
Now muscle damage is pretty much those two factors combined. The key is aiming for muscle failure and lots of strain (the good one) on the muscles. So make sure you rotate your lifts, incorporate variety, and get strong in low, medium, and higher rep ranges on different exercises and angles.
Putting it all together:
Ok, so firstly you need to warm up before each and every session to avoid injuries and get your muscles ready for the workout.
Than once you are ready, you can start off with your heavy compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, hip thrusts, military presses, chin ups, pull ups and rows, and try to set a Personal Record for these ones. Take longer rests as needed so you can do the all the sets with your best performance.
Let’s suppose you have to do 3 sets of 8-10 reps on a barbell squat. These sets need to be heavy, and you must be struggling by the time you get to your last 2 reps on each set. If you managed to finish your 10threp in every set, then you know you should add more weight to that exercise for your next training.
Each week your goal is to increase that PR you did the week before, either by weight, reps or sets.
How much weight should you add? Once you have found you “difficult” weight you can add an extra 2.5kg on each side of the barbell or 2.5kg on the dumbbells each week.
Than when you are finished with your heavy stuff, you can choose some targeted movements such as, glute bridges, curtsy lunges, squat pulses, band crab walks, leg extensions, leg curls, cable exercises, lateral raises, etc, and seek for the metabolic stress. You will need to keep the reps medium to high, and a short rest period in between sets. Don’t worry too much about how much weight you can lift on these ones, only focus on really feeling the targeted muscle taking weight and fully fatiguing the fibers.
How often you should workout:
If you choose full body workouts with mostly compound exercises, I would recommend training 2 to 3 times a week, that way you have a 48 hour window rest in between workouts, which is crucial for muscle building. This is especially true for begginers as they usually get really good results from these type of workouts. So if you are a beginner, pick this option!
Now if you choose to have a split program because you need something more specific or you have been training for many years, than you can workout pretty much 6 days a week as long as you are working different muscle groups each day and getting the appropriate rest in between them.
So there you have it, this is pretty much how you should be training to achieve muscle growth. But remember, every person is different and responds differently to stimulus. Some people may benefit better from heavy weights, others from high rep training, some will only need 3 sessions a week, others will need 6, so you need to adapt your training accordantly to your needs and what works best for you.
On the next article I will be talking about Recovery Time. What happens to our body’s when we are resting, and why is resting as important or even more than the training, when talking about the muscle building process, so tune in!
Let me know if you guys like this article and if you have any questions, just comment bellow !
Lots of love XX