Hey! Welcome back to part three of the #RegimentalHabits series. In this series, I'm showing you how to lose weight, get toned, and increase your self confidence. build that muscle girl!
If you missed Part 1 - my story about my ups and downs with weight or Part 2 - My Nutrition Guidelines and how to lose weight, you can check them out below:
Now, on to today's topic - How to Get Toned! In this post, we are going to talk a little bit about the different kinds of strength training, and then which one is best for which kind of result. But, first let's talk about muscle. But, before we do, I have made this fun How to Get Toned Strength Guidelines and Workbook, check it out below:
There are two types of muscle fibers: Type I and Type II
Type I - slow twitch - which are your endurance muscle fibers - these resist fatigue, and are great for aerobic endurance and muscle efficiency.
Type II - fast twitch - which are your speedy muscle fibers - these are great for high-intesity exercise and help with explosive and short-duration types of activities. These however are more susceptible to injury.
What types of muscle contractions are there?
Concentric - when the muscle shortens - think of the upward motion of a biceps curl
Isometric - when the muscle tension stays constant - think of a plank or a wall sit
Eccentric - when the muscle lengthens - think of the downward motion of a biceps curl
Types of Strength Training
Endurance - high reps and few sets
Strength - moderate reps and moderate sets
Power - low reps and moderate to high sets
Okay, so now that we have the basics of strength training...
I have to address one HOT TOPIC...
Can women get bulky?
This is a question I hear a lot, and I hear a lot of people saying - no, women can't because we don't have the genes like men, but that's not true.
The answer is YES! Have you seen Olympic sprinters quads? Just for an example.
Women may not have the potential to get muscles as large as the potential in men's muscles, due to our levels of testosterone being lower than men, but no doubt if you want larger muscles you can have them. Have you ever seen a crossfit girl? So, that myth has been debunked. What has happened is, these women started training for max rep efforts! Low reps and heavy weight.
I can tell you from personal experience, I bulk up really easily. If I start lifting heavier weights, my muscles hypertrophy (grow in size) like nobody's business. Personally, I prefer a leaner longer look, that's what happens to make me feel confident, but women can have the ability to "bulk up" if they choose to. I do not say this to scare you away from strength training, but more so to tell you, you have to strength train for muscle tone, but depending on what type of muscle tone you want, is how you should choose to strength train.
Today I want to just address how to create some muscle definition without a lot of hypertrophy (which is the enlarging of muscles). We need a little bit to create definition but the key is to focus on high reps and fewer sets.
Body weight exercises are a great place to start. Practice push-ups, squats, and then you can start to add a bit of plyometrics to the exercise to increase the difficulty, or add more weight, or increase the amount of reps, sets, or time.
When you stop feeling as sore or as fatigued, that is a great sign that you are ready to take on more weights, more reps, sets, or time.
If you decide you would like to build muscle tone even more, move to moderate reps and moderate amount of sets. This would be about 80-95% of your 1rep max. The idea is to add enough resistance that you can only perform about 6-12 reps until you need to rest (mind you without your form going awall :)).
The hardest part is "staying toned". Your body will adapt to the load you are putting on it, eventually, as long as you stay consistent, in order to maintain and or continue to see improvements, you will find that you have to change it up. That is one of the keys to continuing to see results. That could be as simple as adding more weight, increasing your reps or amount of time for an exercise, reducing rest periods, etc. There are TONS of ways to continue to see results and/or maintain.
The most important thing?
You want to see results? Be consistent with your strength training, and prioritize it. Muscle burns fat, and you need to build muscle to burn fat. That's why strength training is so important for the metabolism. Yes, cardio burns a lot of calories, but it doesn't create muscle definition. Strength training is a must to get that muscle to tone and pop!
The combination of The Regimen's Nutrition Guidelines, and Strength Guidelines are sure to help your body shine!
Want more strength training tips and also learn more about where you are at personally with your strength training? Click below to download my Strength Guidelines and Workbook.
Happy Strength Training!
Fitness and Life Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer