Understanding the Difference Between Muscle Toning and Muscle Building
There is a great deal of confusion regarding the nature of muscle building compared to muscle toning. Women, in particular, are often dissuaded from attempting to achieve the latter by fears that they could become overly muscular and too masculine in appearance. That said, there are certainly some very impressive female bodybuilders on the circuit today. While there is a degree of overlap in the methods used to get toned and those aimed at promoting muscular hypertrophy, the important difference lies in the degree to which such methods must be applied in each case.
Firstly, regardless of our external appearance, we are all equipped with sufficient musculature to handle the requirement of day-to-day living. That this is more obvious in some than in others may, to some extent, be the result of genetics, but in most cases, the presence or absence of visible muscle toning is simply a product of our differing lifestyles. Those whose jobs tend to place heavy physical demands on their bodies will normally display well-developed musculature, while those whose lifestyles are more sedentary may need to rely on exercise to achieve this.
The process of exposing those hidden assets is a twofold one that combines measures to burn off the excess layer of fat beneath which they are hidden and to bulk them up to the desired degree once exposed. Whether you like it or not and even though you are not aiming to become a bodybuilder, even basic muscle toning is going to require strength training exercises, which means the use of free weights or some other form of resistance workout.
Let us assume that you choose the option of free weights – you will need to start with a weight that you can just manage about eight repeat lifts with. In subsequent sessions, once you can manage 12 reps, it’s time to repeat the process using a slightly heavier weight. Allow at least a day between workouts for recovery and repair, and once you have achieved the desired degree of muscle toning, sticking to the final weight will enable you to maintain that toned appearance.
On the other hand, if you should decide that you might fancy a shot at the Mr Universe title after all, then just carry on increasing the size of the weights and upping the number of reps. To maintain the necessary energy level, you will need to load up on carbs, and building all that muscle will also require plenty of protein. Becoming South Africa’s answer to Arnold Schwarzenegger is not going to be easy and you can definitely be forgiven, should you decide to settle for a little muscle toning instead.