What toning up really means

What toning up really means

Quick short article on “toning up”

“My main goal is that I just want to tone up”

Probably the most common goal I hear from most female clients.-Everyone wants to look better right?

First of all its super you have a goal which is a fantastic start!

But let me really explain what “toning up” means and how you can go about it. There are plenty of myths out there and I’ve heard so many of them over the past few years working in the industry.

Most females and males want the “toned up” image which pretty much means aesthetically to look better.

An increase in muscle mass and a decrease in body fat percentage is what toning up really means and eventually leads you to looking better.


So whats the best approach for you to go about it the right way?

Strength/Weight training

First of all let me crush the myth out there that to get lean you need high reps and light weights and do lots of cardio.

The correct training template involving relative heavy weight training has proven to get the best results.

And what exercises work best?

  • Back squats,front squats,goblet squats,deadlifts,lunges,pressing,pull ups,chin ups along with some other assistant base exercises such as single arm rows,dips,push ups,raises,bridges,GHR,RDL.Then other midline exercises such as planks,side planks,pall-of presses,hollow rocks are all super exercises to help you improve your core strength.-Need any advice on what these are just Youtube them.Need any advice on how to structure them get in touch with me-glad to help you out
  • Generally when I work with clients we work off a 4-6 week cycle focusing on improving overall mobility and strength,which in turn will enhance your “toning up” goal
  • Remember when starting these exercises as a novice always go along the 3 step approach of M/C/I meaning Mechanics (Learn the exercise first with light weight) Consistency (session by session start to get familiar with the exercises) Intensity (Once your starting to get used to the new movements then start to increase areas such as load,intensity etc).This 3 step approach will keep you injury free and generally help your training overall.

Bulking up? Nutrition? Protein shakes?

Something that comes up quite a lot.

Lots of newer female clients are worried about going down the strength training route as they fear they will bulk up

Trust me your not going to walk out the gym looking like a bodybuilder and your not going to bulk up

First of all women have significantly lower testosterone (growth hormone that allows muscle to grow)

Secondly If your really wanted to bulk up you would possibly have to start training a hell of a lot more and even go down the road of steroids and supplements.A good supplement which I advise to men and women is a basic whey protein source. **Yet remember get the important stuff dialed in first (your daily nutrition) then start looking at protein supplements**

Want to know what foods you really should be eating then go read this article I wrote on the back of Danny Lennons and Dominic Munnellys nutrition seminar

I train quite a lot of females now,actually i probably have more females than males at this stage.At the start most are hesitant to start weight training but after educating them about it all,it just brings on so many benefits from feeling strong,looking good and another big thing is the confidence it comes along with it.

Nutrition plays a huge part at the end of the day so go read that article above.

Do more Cardio?

Lots of people actually think that in order to tone up they need to attend the spin class 3 times a week or head out for hour long jogs.

I recently bumped into a lovely lady in Marley park after my session with a client,she was asking me for a few tips because she wanted to loose weight and look better and she was really struggling to run for long distances to help her achieve the overall goal.I helped her out and passed her on my advice.BTW point here is that long distance running is not going to help you that much to “tone up”.Plus another negative here is that so many people don’t actually have the running mechanics drilled into them-your literally running the risk of injury there too(Ever wonder why so many people have banged up joints after a marathon,even my mother who has done over 10 marathons now has severe joint pain,that’s not knocking Marathon running or my mother but in my opinion long distance running isn’t the healthiest.

The best approach in my opinion is aiming to exercise at least 4 times a week with a combination of mobility work, strength work and some form of conditioning work at the end.I used to teach many a spin class back in the day and used to see the same faces day in,day out sitting on the bikes doing my class yet about 80% of them asked me the same question.“Dave I am feeling fitter yet I haven’t seen much difference in my appearance,Why is that?”

Reason is people are focusing too much on cardio and not doing enough strength work/weight training and the condition they are hitting 4-5 times a week is not effective enough.Another reasons is that your spending far too much time doing the same cardio. Believe it or not the conditioning phase of your workout is most of the time the least most important-sure it makes you sweaty and makes you feel like you worked your ass off but it really isn’t the best route all the time.

So to sum it all up for you

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Thanks for reading



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