I hate dating myself but my first gym membership was in 1992, I am a “gym rat” and I do not miss workouts. Times are changing now but I saw drastic contrasts used by men and women at the gym. I frequently remember women curling two-pounds dumbbells for 30 reps in an effort to “tone” their arms. Little effort or concentration was applied, while the guys would use upwards of sixty pounds in an effort to put on muscle and increase strength. The men looked angry and were forced to concentrate due to the sheer weight alone.
The lightweight, high reps craze was marketed to help lose fat and make a muscle more “toned”. In my opinion, it was to sell programs or products. The toning workouts have no scientific proof because it does not work. The two-pound dumbbell curl is not weight training at all! Rather, it’s a form of movement and movement does not stimulate muscle-building hormones! Therefore, using ultra high reputations and lightweight, without applying intensity, in nonsense. The people that promote this should realize that they are wasting people time and what they are doing is downright unethical! On the other hand, lower reps using heavier weight stimulated muscle growth and increase strength. And muscle is the number driver of your metabolism!
Toning up is about building muscle and burning fat, that’s it! I hear from my female clients all of the time, “Jack, I put on muscle too easy!” However, that’s not true because the primary muscle building hormone “testosterone” must be high for this to occur. Females levels range from 6-86 ng/dl compared to males 270-1100 ng/dl. I have over twenty years trying to build muscle and working with hundreds to do them same and it’s a hard thing to do. Now, for wide bone structured individuals that are naturally “muscular” embrace what God gave you, stop trying to be someone else and love you for you, that’s sexy!
In order to build muscle, I use a systematic approach that we cover in the Best YOU Ever Challenge. We make formidable changes in six key areas to form your new daily habits. It’s about using a system for working out smarter, recovering properly and supplying you body with real nutrition. But this article will focus strictly on building muscle and weight training.
Building muscle (muscle hypertrophy) is the process of muscle-fiber enlargement that results from progressive weight training. A number of sets, reps, training volume and frequency are critical, but the most important piece is intensity! Intensity isn't about adding more sets or having a longer workout - it's about how much force, power and effort you are putting into working the muscle tissues. Concentrating on stimulating the muscle tissue to the best of your given ability is the goal here. Depending on your exercise level, you are going to want to aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps for each exercise you are performing. However, you should always start at a higher rep range and lighter weight until you get a feel for the muscles you are working. If you are a beginner, I recommend that you use lighter weight, concentrate on form and aim for the higher end of this range, especially if you are taking your muscles to failure. For the more seasoned weight trainers, you can push a little harder and also take your muscles to failure. However, if you choose to push your muscles to the level of failure, it should occur within the rep range of 8-12 and increasing ways to recover. This is going to provide you with the best opportunity for muscle hypertrophy, which will, in turn, lead to a loss of body fat aka toning up!
To recap achieve muscle hypertrophy (aka increasing your metabolism to burn fat), maximize your intensity and recovery efforts. The best way to increase intensity is by remaining mentally focused on the task at hand and allowing your muscles 48-72 hours after intensely training it. Stay Strong! Jack