How many times have these words been said, (usually from female clients), “I just want to tone, not be bulky”? Then, they tell us about how they found this great home routine where they just use a can of soda to perform 100 reps to achieve this “toned” look. Let’s look past the fact you have a can of soda and get to the issue of what does toned even mean? Often, when we dig a little deeper with clients most of them will tell you what they mean is, they want to have a little more muscle but with more definition and not bulk. OK, how do we achieve this?

The only way to get their toned look is to add some lean muscle mass while losing fat mass. Unfortunately, women have the misconception that if they pick up weights, they will turn into the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger. The problem with this theory is that unless they are also consuming a large amount of anabolic steroids, this simply cannot happen. Women need to be encouraged and coached to use a heavy weight load, due to the fact that most women will underestimate their strength. Not only that, but also using heavier weight can also result in increased self-confidence, which is a happy effect of training. We can never under estimate the ability of strength training increases going side-by-side with emotional and mental strength.

It is important to remember that no one ever became a body builder by accident, it takes years of training with a strict nutritional plan. Whenever a female client talks about a celebrity they want to look like, rest assured that celebrity got there by lifting weights under a challenging strength routine. It is important for clients to understand that muscle bulk is largely dependent on testosterone, and compared to men, women just cannot create as much testosterone. Even under a “hardcore” strength routine, women gain muscle mass much more slowly than men.

Do not be afraid to lift heavier weights as long as you’re being supervised. During any program, increasing weight should be your goal, and the fear of lifting to much should not enter your mind. For example, if your Actualize programming says 8 reps, you want each rep to be as challenging as the last rep…and if you did a 9th rep the form would begin to breakdown.

Coach Jenny

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Actualize Sports & Fitness is North Central Washington’s premier performance enhancement training, health and nutrition, and mental achievement coaching center. We exist to educate, encourage and empower Actualize Sports (competitive athletes, teams & coaches) & Actualize Fitness (fitness enthusiasts of all ages & abilities) clients to actualize their unique purpose and potential in athletics, fitness and life.

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