One of the questions we often get asked by our Limitless ladies in store is how to tone up without bulking up. Many women, particularly those who are just starting out on their health and fitness journey, have a fear of getting big as a result of using supplements, lifting weights and working out in the gym. What you might not realise is that the right protein supplements and strength training routines are actually going to make you leaner, not bigger.
We asked Reece McCaffrey from Recreate Personal Training to explain how getting lean works...
How to get that lean, firm body
- Advice from Reece McCaffrey, Personal Trainer and Owner of Recreate Personal Training
When initially meeting with women and setting out their goals, I am frequently told: "I don't want to get big, I just want to get toned." I want to discuss the goal 'get toned' and how you can go about it.
Firstly, let’s set the record straight: muscle tone is actually a medical term. It refers to the constant state of tension of the muscles in a healthy individual. You already have normal muscle tone, unless you have some type of medical condition. A muscle does not get more 'toned' through training, it gets thicker through increased muscle fibre density, and stronger - normality combination of the two.
Having said all this, I understand what my clients mean when they talk about 'toning'. They are referring to looking leaner and firmer, without being overly muscular. Most chicks don’t dig having a rippling 6-pack and big guns - I get it!
1. Lift weights
So how do you get leaner and firmer? First and foremost, I'd recommend the same compound strength training exercises that men do. Yes, I'm talking about lifting weights.
Now let me explain a few more things before you panic with visions of the she-hulk:
In most cases women just don't get 'big' from weight training. One reason has to do with they type of muscle fibres women have. Women tend to have a higher make up of slow-twitch (endurance) fibres, which have less potential for getting bigger.
Secondly (more importantly), women just don't have the hormonal make-up to get as big as their male counterparts. Men, for example, have 15x the amount of testosterone women have. That’s why we grunt and do man stuff!
2. Interval training
Next I would recommend some interval training. This has been scientifically proven to shed body-fat faster than long slow cardio. If you have read my content before, I hate that stuff!
Last (most importantly), you have to get your eating under control. The 'toned' look comes from having low body-fat levels, which requires a calorie deficit. Burn more energy than what you eat! It’s that simple. Once you get it and have the ‘aha’ moment, you will never look back!
You'll need to have a balance of lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. There's simply no 'golden ticket' or diet pill you can take to change the basic calorie-in vs calorie-out equation.