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Tag Archives: toning

  • Protein Powder and Toning - Will Protein Supplements Help Tone?

    Traditionally, protein powders were marketed to bodybuilders seeking to gain significant amounts of muscle mass. Although protein powders are certainly very effective in accomplishing this goal, can protein powders also be effective in helping you to tone up?

    Many men and women alike wish to tone up without adding "bulk". Before we get into how protein powders can (or can not) help you to accomplish this goal, let's actually define what the goal is.

    What is toning?

    Toning is a term synonymous with sculpting, defining and shaping. Although we all understand what the end result of toning is, the processes behind accomplishing this goal is often not completely understood. Toning is effectively the combination of two processes:

    1. Fat loss
    2. Muscle Gain

    The degree to which these two processes are required depend on the individual. For example, someone who is naturally strong yet quite overweight may need more fat loss than muscle gain. Meanwhile someone who is very skinny may require minimal fat loss and more focus on muscle development.

    Because the processes required to accomplish a toned physique will vary greatly between people, the actual training and nutritional approach will vary greatly too. The focus on resistance training, cardiovascular training and diet will vary greatly.

    Protein Powders and Toning

    Now that we've defined exactly what toning is, let's consider how protein powders come into the equation.

    Protein powders are simply the protein extracted from foods and made into a powdered form. They help to boost your protein intake, which is particularly useful if you are unable to consume adequate protein through dietary methods.

    Further, protein powders have the unique ability to be absorbed extremely quickly by the body relative to food. This makes them particularly useful to aid in recovery after a high intensity workout.

    If your toning goal is more muscle gain dependant (we're not talking bulk though), protein powders are almost a necessity.

    Immediately before and after your weight training session, consuming a serve of high quality protein powder can provide your body with the essential nutrients required to develop muscle mass. Without consuming a protein shake, you will not obtain optimal muscle development results.

    During the day time, you will have a heightened requirement for protein due to the focus on muscle development. A protein shake in the morning is very important (having gone all night without eating). For this reason, a slow absorbing protein in the night time is also a good idea to deliver a steady protein source into your body.

    During the day, if you are unable to obtain adequate protein from food alone (which is often the case), it is a good idea to be consuming a protein shake to bump up your protein intake.

    Don't be concerned that you're going to bulk up (whether you are male or female). Muscle growth occurs very, very slowly. It can take years to gain significant bulk for a male and even longer for females due to differing hormone levels. Remember, protein is only an extract from food - you're simply consuming a higher quality protein source, since it has been processed in a way to optimize absorption.

    If your toning goal is more fat loss dependant, protein powders can be very effective in a number of manners.

    Following an intense training workout (whether cardio or weights), you will require a high quality protein source to facilitate recovery. Without recovering effectively, your body will secrete stress hormones as a protective mechanism which can actually inhibit fat loss.

    Also, protein powders can be a very effective tool during the day to utilize as a convenient low calorie meal. One scoop of protein powder is generally about 100 calories, so this can help you keep your calorie intake down and thus facilitate weight loss.

    Protein powders, when used correctly, can have a profound impact on your toning goals. It's important to be smart about your protein powder intake so you obtain optimal results. You may wish to speak to your personal trainer to help advise you more specifically.

    If however you've made the decision and are now looking to purchase a protein powder, look for a whey based protein powder. Whey protein powders are of the highest quality. Here are some recommendations from our store:

    Toning geared toward muscle development:

    Before/After workout protein powder: Optimum Nutrition Hydrowhey

    Breakfast: Optimum 100% Whey

    During the day: Optimum 100% Whey

    Before bed: Optimum Casein

    Toning geared toward fat loss:

    Before/after workout protein powder: BodyScience Hydroxyburn Pro

    During the day: Dymatize Elite Gourmet

  • What is Toning?

    Toning is a term that is often misunderstood. We discuss toning and answer the question, "What is toning?".
  • What is Toning, Trimming and Sculpting?

    I'm sure that you have heard the terms "tone", "trim" and "sculpt" thrown around here and there. They are very common terms used regularly to market fitness products or to communicate some form of desirable physical changes. Yet do you know exactly what these terms refer to?

    Toning, trimming and sculpting are all synonymous in the health and fitness industry. These terms are very general terms and refer to a desirable physical recomposition whereby you obtain more shape and definition. Whilst this may be obvious, what is not so obvious is how this is related to your fitness, flexibility, strength and body composition.

    What is toning?

    So, what is toning, trimming and sculpting? In terms of physiological processes, the specific definitions that these words take on will vary from person to person. However as a general statement, they generally refer to two separate processes:

    1. Muscle gain
    2. Fat loss

    The primary reason as to why these terms vary between individuals is because we all have different body compositions. So:

    • For a large bodybuilder, to tone up may require muscle loss
    • For someone who has an above average muscle mass, yet is overweight, they would require fat loss and minimal (if any) muscle gain
    • For someone who is underweight, toning may require muscle gain and possibly fat gain too

    Of course as you can infer, to tone up is a very subjective term and will vary from person to person. In a general sense, most people seeking to tone will require some muscle development and some fat loss. So let's discuss this aspect to toning.

    Muscle tissue, fat tissue and toning

    It is important to understand that muscle tissue is a completely separate tissue to fat tissue. Muscle cells (responsible for force generation and structural balance) perform completely different functions to fat cells (responsible for insulation and energy storage). So to tone, you cannot convert fat into muscle. You must treat both tissues separately by reducing fat mass and increasing muscle mass. In a sense, assuming that you can concert fat to muscle tissue is comparable to alchemists converting other compounds into gold.

    Building muscle to tone

    In order to develop muscle tissue, some form of exercise will be required. The most effective way to build muscle tissue is to perform some form of resistance based training (or weight training). When you have a focus on toning, your goal is not going to be to bulk up (or build large amounts of muscle). Toning requires a small amount of muscle development to provide the desired shape and definition of a toned body. Fortunately, muscle growth is a very slow process (slow for men, even slower for women due to hormones), so anyone seeking to tone can undertake a resistance training regime without the fear of becoming too bulky.

    Losing fat to tone

    The other side to the equation is fat loss, which is accomplished most effectively through the implementation of cardio in conjunction with weight training and an effective approach to nutrition. All three of these aspects are (by far) the most effective way to lose fat tissue.

    It is a common misconception that you can lose fat from a specific area of the body to tone that in isolation. For example, to tone up the back of the arms or to tighten your stomach. This leads us to believe that tricep exercises (back of the arms) can reduce fat tissue stored in this region and that abdominal exercises (eg. Crunches) can reduce belly fat. However, this is not true. Whilst these exercises may develop muscle mass, you cannot choose an area of the body from which to lose fat. This myth is known as "spot reduction". It is quite acceptable to go for a run and lose more fat from your arms than your legs (even though the leg muscles are doing all the work!).

    Some other toning misconceptions

    Due to the amount of confusion with terms that are regularly used in the health and fitness industry, this has lead many of us to believe that toning can be affected by your strength, flexibility and fitness. This is not necessarily true:

    Strength: Your strength is a consequence of the effectiveness in which your muscles are able to develop force. Interestingly, strength is not an indication of how large your muscles are. You may be very strong, yet have minimal muscle mass. Thus, your strength does not indicate how toned your body may be.

    Flexibility: Flexibility refers to how far you are able to stretch a muscle. When you perform stretching movements, you aim to enhance the flexibility of a muscle (or a group of muscles). Your flexibility has no bearing on your physical appearance. Though flexibility is important for recovery and injury prevention, it has no direct relationship to toning.

    Fitness: You can be grossly overweight and quite fit. Your fitness refers to the efficiency of your cardiovascular system and it's ability to deliver oxygen throughout your body. As a result, your level of fitness does not indicate how toned you may be.

    Toning in summary

    I hope that this article has cleared up what exactly "toning" refers to. To tone is to shift the fat and muscle balance within your body. Both are individual tissues and thus both need to be considered independently in order to accomplish a toning goal.

  • I have lost 7kg, but I still have some flabby bits under my arms. How do I lose this fat?

    When you have extra flabby bits, this is going to be the fat that hasn't yet gone.  Unfortunately our bodies are very stubborn - they won't let us choose where to lose fat from!  For example, if you wanted to lose fat from your legs you might perform some running.  But because your body will determine where it wants to lose fat from first, you might lose it from your stomach before your legs.

    In your case, the only way to lose fat from underneath your arms is to continue to lose fat through diet and exercise.  Underneath your arms may be one of the last places your body is predisposed to losing fat, you don't really get much say in this.

    You can perform arm exercises to help build up a bit of muscle on your arms.  When you finally do lose the fat, you will have a nice 'toned' effect.  Keep in mind that building muscle is an extremely slow process, particularly for females due to lower testosterone levels.

    We have a few Q&A's that go into a little bit more detail:

    What are the best exercises to tone up the back of your arms? 

    I am a petite woman. I want to tone up but I'm scared of getting too big by lifting weights! 

    I want to tone my chest. Are there any magical tricks? 

    What does toning mean? 

    I saw an advertisement on the television for a cardio machine. They said I could turn up the resistance and "sculpt" my muscle. What does this mean? 

    Hope this is of help!

  • What does toning mean?

    "Toning" is a very misunderstood term.  There are two things you can do to alter your physique:

     

    1. Build/lose muscle mass
    2. Gain/lose fat mass

    For the typical untrained person, "toning" is essentially a combination of building muscle and losing fat.  You need to build a small amount of muscle mass to give shape to your physique.  At the same time however you need to lose the fat that surrounds that muscle mass so you can actually see the definition of the muscle.

    Toning, shaping, sculpting (and all those other fancy terms) are all synonymous.  Build some muscle, lose some fat is the bottom line...easy as.

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