How Do I Get Toned?

I hate that word – TONED. People ask me often how do I get toned. Honestly, until I lost my 100+ lbs and got into weights I had no idea that toned was a myth and building muscle meant looking good. When I worked toward having an actual PHYSIQUE versus just being a “happy weight” I realized it’s freaking HARD! Building muscle means work and if you eat all of your muscle OFF losing your weight it sucks adding it back on.

I would give anything if someone would have stopped me DEAD IN MY TRACKS when I was losing weight, made me lift heavy while dieting, and stopped me from just riding the elliptical, going to spin classes, kickboxing, and jogging for an hour every day.  If I ever even lifted a weight is useless. I might as well carried groceries in the house daily and called it my weight training! Those bags weighed more than what I ever picked up in the gym.

It was a lot harder the way I did it and was a total mind-f if you know what I mean. In my head when I weighed 135lbs I would be hot crap and wearing anything I wanted. Well, I did look good and was proud when I was 135lbs. But I also had no definition, lots of loose skin, slumping shoulders, and zip shape. Oh, and I wore a size 8. Nothing wrong an 8! I love me an 8 now. It was just that at 135lbs I could have been in a 4 or 6 as I found out YEARS after losing weight and changing what I did.

This blog inspired me to write this one. Everyone should read it. My Beef with the Word Toned. The author says…

So what’s my “beef” with the word? I mean after all, it is JUST a word. But the truth is, this word gets in the way of results. It gets in the way of progress both mentally and physically. People get so caught up being afraid of the myths I mentioned above and focusing so much on what they falsely believe this word to be, that they don’t train hard enough to ever reach their goals. Think about it this way, if you are like me, you probably toss anything and everything into your large purse. By the time you’re walking out the door, the thing weighs a good ten pounds! Does lifting that purse make you “tone”? Does lifting your hair dryer, water bottle or back pack make you tone? Now if those don’t…. why would a 5 pound dumbbell do that? It won’t… and that’s because in order to build muscle, you must CHALLENGE your body with heavy weights! I constantly challenge my body with heavier weights, and by no means do I look “manly” or “bulky”.

IMG_4374 feb2013 IMG_4383The pictures of me in the red bathing suit I was 135lbs in March of 2007 prepping for my first figure competition. I actually had been lifting weights about six months so you imagine before that I must have had less “tone”. The middle pictures are me clowning in the gym February 2013 after six years of lifting heavy weights on a weekly basis. I’ve done several shows, over 35 half marathons, 2 fulls, and some triathlons since then.

It took a lot of work. More work than needed. I may not have needed as much surgery on my loose skin had I been lifting. Who knows. I don’t feel bad about it, but I do know I look so much better now. Guess how much I weigh? 147 most days. I am 12lbs heavier than when I hit my HAPPY GOAL weight. I also wear a size 6 now versus the 8’s and 10’s I wore at 135lbs.

Don’t look to get toned. Look to build you some muscle. You’ll never get “big” if you lift and eat in a moderate calorie deficit. I think you’ll find the road less bumpy, lumpy, and easy to enjoy.

  • christy says:

    ok great, thanks for the info!!!

  • christy says:

    how often do you recommend lifting each week and how much weight should you start with and how do you know when to add more weight. I know what to lift and how to lift, I just never feel like I see results? If that makes any sense at all I’ll be surprised lol. 😉

    • I do a lot of this answering and education in my private forums. What I have my girls do who register for my site is start a workout log. They choose one of my programs I’ve written or they do one they have (DVD like Chalene Extreme or work with a program they’ve used before) and they log their workouts, weights, cardio or whatever. I watch it and then tell them based on their goals and such what to do.

      If you are not seeing results you either aren’t lifting enough or your nutrition isn’t dialed in properly. Most body composition is a result of the kitchen workout and not the gym. If you know what to lift and how to do it and still not seeing results then I “think” from the types of clients I typically work with you are at a stage where the food is holding you back.

      But in general, I always lift 3 or more times a week. I’m in marathon training now and still lift three times a week. Only when my weekly mileage gets really high do I cut back to two days.

      As far as how much weight to start with, you start with what it takes for the rep range you work in for you to struggle. Higher reps you feel a burn and lower reps you feel a struggle to keep moving the weight. Most people, men and women, stop short of about 3-4 reps of where they truly should work. I add more weight WEEKLY. I’ve lifted for years and I always try to go a little heavier until I KNOW without a doubt I’ve topped out for the range I am working out in.

  • Angie says:

    This post is just what I needed to hear .. read  I finely got to my goal weight but I look nothing like I thought I would I want some definition in my arm and legs and now I know how to get it I am not afraid of hard work shoot that is how I lost the 40 lbs. your post has me super juiced thank you so very much !! PS you look AMAZING girl

    • You can do it Angie. My biggest regret was dieting off a bunch of muscle then working years to get it back plus some! I hope others will learn from me. Just get to lifting heavy!!!! And, keep me posted on how you are doing. I have a Facebook page so feel free to like it. 🙂

  • Regan says:

    Can you do a blog on healthy drinks to drink, if you don’t want water at the moment?

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