Recently, I was talking with someone about fitness and they were asking me some questions about weight training. This person exercises plenty, but it’s mostly cardio and he was looking for a little advice. I gave him some pointers and asked him what he was trying to accomplish. I then got the dreaded answer I hear so often: “I don’t want to get too big, I just want to tone.” This answer always bugs me. I think the reason it bugs me is because people tend to say it like getting big is something that’s easy to do. Like it’s truly something they should be concerned with.

Do people really think that packing on muscle is that easy? Do they think if you just start doing a little weight training here and there that muscle mass will start taking over? I understand that not everyone wants to get big, but people act like they can pick up some weights, do a few bicep curls and all of a sudden look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime. Unfortunately for those of us who do want to get big, it doesn’t work like that.

Gaining a lot of muscle and getting big takes a ton of hard work in combination with the right diet. Chances are if you are worried about getting too big, whatever it is you are planning on doing isn’t going to get you there. Even if I was to give you a plan on how to get big, it still probably wouldn’t get you “too big” unless you are going to really alter your diet and put in some serious work. Let me tell you a little secret – gaining muscle, while having a lower body fat level, is what gets you that toned look. It’s going to be pretty difficult to have nice muscle definition if you don’t have much muscle mass, as well as a low body fat.

In my experience it seems like the majority of people who worry about getting too big are already relatively thin, so body fat usually isn’t the issue. My best advice to those who already have a low body fat and want to have a “toned” look would be to pretend you do want to get really big and go from there. Honestly that’s probably going to be your best bet to get you where you want to be.  Besides, if you really did get bigger than you want to be, couldn’t you just reel it back a bit? Trust me, it’s a lot easier to lose muscle than it is to gain. One thing I can say with complete honesty is I’ve never heard someone complain and say something like “Oh man it happened, I gained too much muscle!”

If you are a woman, then working on gaining muscle is even more important if you want that “toned” look. It seems like so many women avoid weights with the fear of getting too bulky. There are several reasons why this doesn’t make a lot of sense. Women lack the testosterone men have, so gaining a lot of muscle mass is extremely difficult.

Not only is adding muscle important for women wanting that toned look but it also helps in other areas. It helps you stay leaner as adding muscle speeds up your metabolism and helps your body burn more calories naturally. Burning those extra calories will help with losing fat and in turn help uncover those muscles you want to show.

Since we’ve established losing fat and building muscle is the key to having that toned look, it would seem there is no better way to do it than through weight (resistance) training, right? So women if you want that toned look, put away the pink weights, grab some serious iron and start lifting!

If you need some advice on how to build muscle or anything else always free to contact me. Also, there are tons of great articles here on LifestyleandStrength.com to steer you in the right direction.

Happy Lifting!

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