Once upon a time I just wanted to tone. I joined a gym, ate only 1300 calories, did a ton of cardio, group fitness classes once or twice a week or the treadmill for 45 mins to an hour and felt good about it. I felt energized, motivated, and I felt skinny. But I was too skinny. I was in a size 0 but I still had “problem areas” so I “trained” harder, “dieted harder” I still ate 1300 calories, but I controlled very strictly where those calories were coming from…even more than before. But I just couldn’t get rid of those “problem areas” I hired a trainer who prescribed less calories, more cardio and at that point, I was burnt out, tired of people asking me if I was sick, and sick of people telling me that I was “too skinny” I was hurt. After all, I put a lot of hard work and dedication into my body. Blood, sweat and tears mind you. I counted every single calorie, logged in every mile I ran, every step I took, and I still had “problem areas’ I was just skinny. I merely lost weight and toned my bones. I lifted weights too, but I wasn’t doing anything right. It was all wrong.
I dropped the trainers, took a few steps back and invested the time and effort into finding out what the hell I was doing wrong. It was right in my face. While it wasn’t a quick fix and it was going to take some time and more work and dedication, I was finally on the right track. The reason why I still had these problem areas, was simply because I wasn’t allowing muscle growth to occur, which just left my body to hold onto fat in my “problem areas” The solution? I needed to lift weights to build muscle necessary to give my body the shape to “correct” those problem areas.
So how about you?
Do you ever find yourself in the gym on the treadmill or elliptical when your eyes start to wander towards the weight room? You avoid it like the plague because you don’t know where to start and heck you fear where you may end up; like on some crazy machine turned inside out or flipped upside down…
Or maybe you’ve seen muscles on women and don’t think it’s attractive. Maybe you don’t want to look exactly like that but you know you want to do something differently; you need a change because the same old boring routine on the treadmill at your gym isn’t cutting the fat, it’s only making everything face south. And maybe you don’t want to do a group fitness class because you’re not coordinated enough, or are afraid to make a fool out of yourself. Or maybe you even suffer from social anxiety…
And then there’s always the fact that you’ve been doing the group fitness classes and still aren’t seeing results, but you keep going because it’s fun and besides, any exercise is better than none. Not to mention, you don’t necessarily want to look like a bodybuilder either. So… what’s the “in-between”?
You want to tone. The words slipped from your tongue, rolled out in red carpet fashion, you utter the infamous phrase, “I just want to tone up” Cheers come from the crowd, your name is called, you feel powerful; like a bull master, ready for whatever; ready for the ultimate win. Congratulations.
Well guess what?
1. You can’t tone up what you don’t have AND
2. You can’t tone fat. No really, you absolutely cannot tone fat.
3. And I guess you can tone your bones? I did. I guess.
As Sir Mix A lot sings in the song, “Baby Got Back”, “…You can do side bends and sit ups but please don’t lose that butt” he may not of known it, but it’s because doing only body weight exercises, doing excessive cardio routines, or hamster wheel training without really ever challenging yourself will only make you lose more of what you already have, so “if you ain’t got it to begin with, you really ain’t gonna have it after all is said and done.” Same shape of body but smaller. So, ladies, if you want to tone, you’re going to have to be a beast in the gym. That’s right, get your ass into the weight room and pick up something heavy; push yourself, challenge yourself, go for intensity not long classes or long workouts that burn any or all muscle that you may have to begin with.
When you workout in a class, you’re most likely not eating enough to fuel your workouts AND the rest of your day. Most people either eat too much that’s lacking in nutritional value, or eat too little, again leading to a nutritional deficiency. And then you just start doing these long classes or just spending hours at the gym.
It’s quite possible that you could be either one of these two people:
(A) You want to lose weight so you skimp on calories, thereby skipping meals, eating like a bird, and therefore, you’re not getting enough nutrients to fuel your body properly. You also do excessive amounts of cardio or a couple long group fitness classes a week to complement your impeccable eating habits, and burn off the little muscle that your body does have, which makes it impossible to lose fat, maintain or increase strength, and continue to perform daily activities at the same or higher level.
(B) You do lots of cardio, eating like crap in between, not getting enough nutrients to fuel your body properly, continue to perform daily activities at the same or higher level, or maintain or increase strength, and ultimately stay the same weight because while you may have enough stimulation for muscle growth, you don’t have enough nutrients to sustain or build muscle.
To stay lean and “tone” you have to have muscle. You have to eat and train for the body you want, not just a smaller body of what you already are carrying around.
A smaller body doesn’t automatically equate to being stronger or healthier either.
I’m not toning. I’m shaping, redefining; re-creating.
And it’s still a progress people. Trust me, once you see the results, you will become addicted.
So become an addict with me.