Toning vs Sculpting What's Best for You

Can I get toned from 5 lb weights?

Sure, why not? Start with the lightest weight if that’s what you have available. I mean it won't benefit you to wait another day. So grab up those 5 and 10 pounders and start pumping! But don’t stop there.

Sculpted Female

Lifting heavy results - I wouldn't consider myself to be bulky or manly.

You can’t stop there and expect to see real change in your body. You’re just spinning your wheels and not getting closer to your goals.

The only way to continue to see results and changes in your body is with progressive overload. The driver of adaptations responsible for producing a lean, sculpted physique. You have to train with purpose and that purpose, when trying to get “toned,” is to continually increase the weight and challenge. Body toning vs sculpting: Tone comes from the Latin word tonus, specifically referring to the normal tension (firmness) of a muscle not being flexed. Tone can be improved by lifting weights, but it’s not actually a visible adaptation. Even if you succeed with your goal to tone you will not see any real results... and putting it that way, it seems pretty lame. Right? Now sculpting refers to the reduction of excess fat with simultaneous growth of muscle that leaves you with a “sculpted” physique. The more muscle you build, the higher your metabolism, the more calories you burn, the better you will look and feel. Sculpting happens with heavy weights. How heavy is heavy? Heavy is a relative term depending on your skill level and strength. I usually keep it between 5-12 reps. If you’re not feeling the burn after 12 to 15 repetitions then your weights are too light and you risk falling into that “toning” or arbitrary phase. Worried about bulking up to Ms. Olympia size?

Please have no fear...really. It shouldn’t even cross your mind...unless you happen to be a genetic freak, spending several hours a day lifting weights, and taking performance-enhancing drugs. Women don’t have enough testosterone to get big-bulky muscles, but that also means that you have to work a lot harder than your male counterparts at achieving the same growth in muscle. Sidenote - and just because this happens a lot. Women are still spend waaaaaay too much time on cardio machines. Even people I know. Think your hour at the gym pounding away on the treadmill will get you the look you're after.

It could... if you want to look exactly as you do in this moment... a year from now.

Warning - science lingo ahead. There are two types of muscle tone; myogenic and neurogenic. Myogenic refers to muscle tone at rest. It's affected by the density of your muscles. Greater density - the harder and firmer you will appear. Heavy lifting increases your myogenic tone through the hypertrophy (growth) of the contractile proteins myosin and actin.

Train in higher rep ranges and it promotes more sarcoplasmic (fluid) hypertrophy, which yields a "softer" pumped look. i.e. If you want to be firm and tight low-weight high-rep training won’t offer much help...but focus on low reps of heavier weight and you'll see changes in the mirror.

And then there's neurogenic tone, expressed when movements or contractions occur. Again, heavy lifting comes out on top.

Now I'm not saying you should never ever perform higher reps. I sprinkle in high rep sessions here and there to change things up, but if you rely solely on high rep workouts then you'll stop seeing benefits real quick.

Send me a message if you have a question about genetics, rep range or anything else that may affect your ability to achieve your desired results or if you have any ideas for topics you'd like me to discuss at my Facebook page

Need help with getting sculpted? Check out the link to my Strong Sexy and Sculpted 28 Day Complete Program that teaches you absolutely everything you need to lose weight, get sculpted and never go back.

Stay strong and sexy.

Talk soon,