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Posts tagged "Toning"

1. You have all the muscle fiber you will ever have by the time you’re in your early teens! You can make the fibers bigger (more toned) or they can shrink, but once damaged they cannot be replaced.

2. You have as many muscle fibers as the biggest body builder guy you can think of. His are just bigger. :)

3. The term ‘ripped’ is derived from the process that makes your muscles grow. When you hurt yourself, your body sends cells to repair the damage (like a scab). When you work your muscles, you cause tiny little tears (ripping them). Your body sends cells to help heal these tears, causing the formation of proteins which increase the size of your muscle. (This is why protein is so important for your muscles!) No pain, no gain. Literally.

4. Fast & slow twitch fibers do different things for your body. Fast twitch muscles are the ones you use for quick, short bursts of exercise or power (sprints, plyometrics etc.). Slow twitch fibers don’t produce much power, but are perfect for longer, endurance based activities (think long distance running). If you’re looking to train for endurance, think lighter weights & more reps. For power? Heavier weights & fewer reps.

5. Your muscles don’t have memory… they have efficiency. Every movement you make, your brain sends signals to the muscles involved to contract. As you repeat movements over and over, the communication between your brain & muscles becomes more efficient: you become more coordinated. That’s why riding a bike feels so natural after years, or why you get better at dance moves the more you practice them. This applies to your workouts too. Moves that require coordination will get easier with practice.

6. For once and for all, lifting weights will NOT make you bulky. Men gain muscle more easily because of their hormones; hormones women don’t have. Female body builders spend hours in the gym every day, training intensly & heavily (think using 100+lbs), often take supplements for size & eat very specifically for YEARS to get that look. Picking up a 10lb dumbbell will NOT make you bulky. Or a 25lb dumbbell. Or a 45lb barbell. Relax.

7. Where you’re likely to tone up first? Your shoulders. Women don’t have a lot of fat in that area, so you’ll see definition there first. Having wider shoulders will also make your waist appear smaller: a little trick from the supermodels.

8. There are NO muscles in your fingers! The muscles that move them are in your palm and mid-forearm: they are attached by tendons that run up to your fingers, making them move when the muscles contract (like a puppet).

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Turbo freaks & instructors! In case you missed it… Chalene Johnson was on Live! With Kelly today!

Woot, Turbo in the house!

Great job! I get giddy whenever I see Turbo doing well!

Check her out working with Mark and Kelly above. If you’re new to Turbo, know it’s tough to learn at first, but both Kelly and Mark did incredibly well and picked it up in no time! Turbo Kick is the original Turbo Jam (and Turbo Fire), so if you get a chance to check out classes in your area, DO IT!

(This is the workout that completely got me hooked on fitness, and I still Turbo at least a few times a week (and teach). It’s addictive!)

Shared via The Fitocracy Facebook page.

Years of blood, sweat, training and tears go into body building. Years. Seasoned body builders spend hours in the gym daily, have specific nutrition plans, use supplements and sometimes drugs to help them get the bodies they need to compete. They don’t train like you or I, AND they don’t look like that all the time (typically, they have on seasons and off seasons - it’s not possible to maintain that physique all year).

They do not get those bodies with 10lb dumbbells.

It can take months or years to gain a few (FEW) pounds of muscle. MONTHS. YEARS. Women are simply are not designed to pack on muscle quickly, (some women will die trying). Many women assume the ‘bulk’ they might see post workout is the result of muscle growth - in most cases it’s swelling or, over time, a TINY amount of muscle growth with a large amount of fat under it can appear to be more muscle than you expected. It’s not usually muscle though - muscle doesn’t grow that fast. We have fat on top AND beneath our muscles. If you’re concerned about bulking, you need to control your diet.

We burn fat at the same rate all over our bodies, and women have what I like to call ‘deep ends’ and ‘shallow ends’. Shallow ends are the places we tend to lose fat first (for me, that was my arms/bra line and boobs, but NOW I’d say my legs). Deep ends are where we tend to lose fat last (for me, belly all the way). Shallow ends can usually be taken care of with diet & moderate exercise, but deep ends? Not so much.

To take care of deep ends, you need to change the total composition of your body! Adding muscle (or if it helps you feel better about it - “toning up”) gives your body the metabolic edge to burn off the excess fat from the deep ends. It doesn’t mean you’ll be bigger (muscle is dense remember - needs less room, but heavier. Less room = smaller you). And it’s not just the areas that bother you where your focus should be: just like fat gets reduced at the same rate everywhere, muscle burns fat from everywhere too. Many women ignore massive fat burning muscle opportunities in their back, legs, chest (perks your boobs too!) and more. Bottom line: you need to do more than just crunches and squats once you’ve gotten the hang of them.

LAST LITTLE BITS: Those jiggles you don’t like, that pooch you have left, that last 5lbs, that bra fat = all things you can only fix with strength/resistance training and a cleaner diet. All the cardio in the world won’t help if you’re stuck on those last little bits.

Each day I get dozens of questions related to people wanting to get a firmer belly, tighter tush and lower their body fat percentage and EVERY answer I give will include some sort of weight/resistance training. I worked for years to get my weight down, BUT didn’t see an improvement in the texture, composition or firmness of my body until I started seriously adding strength workouts to my routine and upping my weights (my mini-dumbbells are adorbs now). There’s a REASON why every fitness blog, trainer and youtube fitness video SCREAMS the praises of strength training for women to get the bodies they want.

  • If you’ve been using the same dumbbells forever, it’s time to get new, heavier ones.
  • If that DVD has gotten easier, it’s time to get a new DVD or use new equipment.
  • If you’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to turn up the intensity. Don’t think about quantity: think about quality.
  • If you’ve been doing the same exercises over and over, it’s time to find new, more challenging ones.
  • If you’ve been scared to get into the gym or break out of your routine, NOW is the time!


Afterthought and side note….

In the spirit of body love, I feel I need to address ONE body image issue that often goes overlooked.

I’ve been careful to avoid body bullying, and tend to avoid comparison talk or commenting on other women’s bodies on this blog. After posting this, I realized that I may be reinforcing the message that muscled women aren’t sexy, aren’t desirable, and aren’t a body type women should want to have.

This aversion to muscle can get mean sometimes, and when you post images of gorgeous, muscle ladies (like the one above) to comment on why people wouldn’t want that body, it’s harsh and insulting.

There’s no right way to have a body, and no such thing as a more feminine body. Strong is beautiful too.

The intention here was to address the fear women have of bulking up, but I want to be clear: if muscles are your thing Mama, then you’re just as bad ass beautiful as the rest of us. You also deserve respect. Feminine is a state of mind, NOT a body type.

I’ll keep this posted, but if your aversion to muscle has ANYTHING to do with how you think a woman SHOULD be, do your best to try to expand that definition, ok? There’s no right way to be a lady. Strong is sexy, and some of these women are dedicated athletes who are living out their passions, working incredibly hard, and doing what they love.

Stuck at a plateau? You might want to remix your workout. Try the Hip Raise also!

If you’ve been doing the same routine over and over, it’s time to switch things up a bit. Aside from staving off boredom, you’ll get more bang from your workouts over time. Just like our brain, our muscles get better and better at tasks the more often we practice them. This is good and bad: you’ll gain confidence by being able to complete reps more easily but you can slow your results since the muscles are not working nearly as hard to do the moves. Again, like our brains, our bodies need to be challenged to grow.


If you’re not ready to try a new class or style, start by throwing in 1-2 new exercises per week. They should be challenging, focus on more than one muscle group, are unfamiliar & done with good form. Typically, you should aim for 12-15 reps of each exercise for 2-3 sets, mixed into your routine. (15 reps should be pushing it! If not, you need to pick a different exercise or bump up the resistance)

See instructions after the jump!


I love this butt toning exercise. Really hits the obliques too. It’s challenging, but not complicated. Try it if you haven’t already! Nothing to lose but your muffin top. :)


1. LIE ON THE FLOOR on your left side, knees bent 90 degrees and left leg in front of you. Lean on your left forearm, elbow aligned under shoulder, and rest right hand on hip.

2. PLACE A WEIGHTED BALL behind your right knee and raise leg to hip height, foot flexed and slightly higher than your knee. (you can also do this with no weight, a tightly squeezed dumbbell, a resistance band (looped around your bottom leg) or with ankle weights).

3. KEEP YOUR SHOULDERS and hips square as you lift your right leg a few inches. Lower leg to hip height and repeat. Switch sides to complete set.

Do 12-15 per side. Repeat 2-3 times.

Intensity Challenge! Too easy? Try doing this move in side plank. Straighten your lower leg and raise your hips off the floor. Keep your elbow on the floor below you, or straighten your arm and come up on your hands.

Equipment: Chair and maybe a mat

Time: Approx. 35 minutes

Level: All. Push yourself but listen to your body.

Femme Fatale playlist included but you can make your own!

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