By: John Kecman, Fitness and Personal Training Director
Are you trying to “tone up” a bit? Are you doing lots of reps with lightweight? Is this working? There is no singular method of training that makes you “tone.” The concept of toning is a false construct. You can change your body composition by building muscle or preserving muscle as you lose fat. Muscles do not get soft and you cannot train fat.
Doing high rep exercises and very light weights alone will not help body composition. Eventually, you plateau and there will be no visible change. Modifying your rep ranges and weights used makes all the difference. Lifting moderate to heavy weights with compound movements is by far the most efficient way to either build muscle or preserve it while losing fat.
If you are trying to crunch and triceps extension your fat into muscle stop wasting your time. Fat loss is systemic. The body will not take fat from a given muscle you are training and turn it into muscle. You cannot spot reduce fat. Hypertrophy or growth of muscles is a systemic process that heavily involves the endocrine system. The best exercises that produce the greatest increases in muscle size are squats and deadlifts.
Are you spending excessive amounts of time running on a hamster wheel so you don’t get bulky from the other side of the gym? If your concern is that you may turn into the hulk and rip through your clothes spontaneously after picking up a few weights let me assure you there is a 0% chance of that happening. Women do not have enough testosterone to build giant muscles and men won’t get bulky without a diet to match long hours at the gym. Testosterone is an important hormone for both men and women and this is increased through resistance training. Decreases in testosterone that come with age correlate with a loss of bone density and an increase in fat. I think we can all agree those aren’t the results anyone desires. By adding 3-4 pounds of muscle to your body you can increase your daily energy expenditure by 200-300 calories.
In combination with diet, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training using systematic planning and periodization will change body composition for anyone. Talk to one of our trainers about how you might be about to get the desired body composition change you are looking for.