It doesn't matter if you want biceps like Arnie, a washboard stomach like Rihanna, slender arms like Jessica Biel or ok...my celebrity references stop there.
My point is that if you want toned body-parts then here is how you get them.
There are two simple factors that you need to consider to get this look - Low body-fat, high muscle volume. It really is that simple (notice I used the word "simple", and not "easy")
Low Body Fat
This is by far the most important of the two and there is no getting around this one, whatever you might read. And the most important thing to remember about this is that you cannot spot-reduce body fat. You will see many, many articles titled something like “How to lose belly-fat” but I promise you, the only way to lose belly fat is to lose your overall body fat. Everybody stores fat in different places, and this is 100% down to genetics. No ifs or buts and unless you know something about molecular biology that I don’t – there is nothing you can do to change this. It’s individual to you, and it could be that you store fat around your stomach, bum, arms or wherever and that is never going to change. Sorry. However, if you reduce your overall body fat, this area will reduce accordingly. The way to reduce your overall body fat is calorie deficit. Having your body use more calories than you are taking in. Here is a link to another post I wrote all about that.
Why is low bodyfat important in muscle tone?
Very simply, if you have a thick layer of body fat over the top of a very toned muscle, you will never ever see any definition. Is it easier to tell what someone looks like in a tight lycra leotard or a big woollen jumper? This is why body-builders compete with very little on – so you can see the definition of the muscle.
High Muscle Volume
This is where your exercise choice can make a difference as when you have low body-fat (and only then) will we see the muscle underneath. Now we all have muscle, so regardless of where you want to tone, if you reduce your body fat you will see it, but now you need to work the muscle correctly to give it the best shape. This is where your personal trainer comes in to make sure you first of all are working the right body part, and very importantly, doing it correctly. Are you working at the right level to get the most effective results and build the most muscle in the right way.
Unfortunately, most people go about this the wrong way if we take our abdominals as a good example.
Most people dream of having a washboard flat stomach yet when they look down, all they see is a roll of flab – and so they do hours and hours of sit-ups crunches and leg raises with no impact on their waistline. The truth is, they will probably have developed their abs underneath but it will not be showing because of the fat layer over it.
But surely all those crunches will burn off some fat?
Well yes and no – after all, exercise is exercise so no doubt their calorie loss will have increased but let’s take a look at the stomach muscles – are they a big muscle group? Not really, if you compare it to let’s say the quads (thigh) muscles. And so this is why doing squats will give you a flatter stomach than doing crunches.
I hope that clears it up a little bit in your mind, but as always I encourage you to come and speak to one of our friendly female PT’s and find out what is best for you, and as always eat healthy and exercise regularly!