What is BODY TONING?
Updated: Nov 12
What is BODY TONING? What are the myths of BODY TONING for women? Is BODY TONING and BODYBUILDING different? Or, is it simply a marketing gimmick? Let's seek answers from science to uncover the secrets of BODY TONING.
The gender specific angle of BODY TONING:
Have you ever been sold a gym membership by your gender? If you are a male, there is a high chance that the membership was marketed to you using the word bodybuilding. If you are a female, high probability, someone sold you the same package titled as body toning. Scientifically, both mean the same: FAT LOSS and MUSCLE GAIN. This is how the same gym service is marketed using different gender-specific terminologies.
Busting 'WEIGHT TRAINING' for WOMEN myths:
Myth 1: Women should follow a workout plan which is gender-specific and vastly different from the workout plan of men: No! No workout is gender-specific. There is no evidence of an exercise being more beneficial to women than to men and vice versa.
Myth 2: Women should not build muscles and focus only on body toning: Body toning is the same as bodybuilding. Muscles can only hypertrophy (grow) and atrophy (shrink). We can not decide the shape of our muscles. Nature determines the shape of our muscles. We can only increase their size and burn fat for a better definition.
Myth 3: If a woman lifts weights, she will develop huge muscles (like men): No! Even if a woman wants to build as much muscle as a man, she can not. Because of lower testosterone levels and higher estrogen levels, it is difficult and highly unlikely for women to build massive muscles unless on anabolic-androgenic steroids. Even for a female genetic freak, it would be difficult to match the musculature of an ordinary male.
Myth 4: Women should only do cardio and not weight train as a woman's body is different: Why would women focus on only one component of fitness? Why not focus on all five pillars of fitness? Concentrating just on cardio will only uptake the cardiovascular endurance and at most muscular endurance. What about musculoskeletal strength and flexibility? Excess cardio may lead to muscle loss.
What is BODYBUILDING?
Bodybuilding is the same as body toning.
Everyone is continually building their body. It can be an animal, the trees around you, your child or yourself. For example, the red blood corpuscles and the white blood corpuscles are continually being formed and destroyed by the body. Humans grow and sustain because they are building their body. Technically, bodybuilding never stops unless the organism is dead.
Difference between MUSCLE and FAT:
Muscle has a shape, a tone and is firm.
Fat (adipose tissue) does not have a shape, a tone, and is not firm. Fat will jiggle and wobble.
If we want a toned body, we need to have more muscle and less fat. It means we need to build more muscle (hypertrophy) and get rid of the unwanted fat (adipose tissue) stores from our body. To achieve this, we have to work hard, eat right at the correct time and have enough rest and recovery periods.
Women and BODY TONING:
A woman loses the tone she had in her youth purely due to a loss in the muscle mass and an increase in the fat stores. With the current-age lifestyle, even women in their prime youth are obese. Women will never develop as much muscle mass as men can, solely for the fact that they have far lesser levels of the muscle-building hormone, testosterone as compared to men.
Women have estrogen as their dominant hormone, which gives them the feminine characteristics. Men have testosterone, which provides them with masculine features. When a woman builds up muscles that a typical female sex hormone balance allows, she ends up looking compact, dense and defined.
Muscles have a definition; fat does not.
Feminine muscularity appears way different than male muscularity. Women should workout as heavy as possible. If a woman does not workout heavy, she is only restricting the potential of toning her body.
Women are insisted on following a low intensity and a high repetition protocol which by itself is flawed and is not the way to tone up the body. The firm look and the tone will be evident when women lift poundages which are challenging for them, restricting to at the maximum of 6 repetitions at the advanced level. Of course, the tone would be evident only when supplemented by a proper micronutrient and macronutrient diet with enough of rest and recovery periods. They will witness their body transform in a couple of months or lesser, and it would get better and better with time.
Impact on EMOTIONAL FITNESS:
Women carry more fat on their bodies than men do. That is how nature has made them. When a woman begins to shed the extra fat and build more muscle, the beautiful curves which were hidden under layers of fat become prominently visible. She starts realising how sexy her body is. Her clothes which appeared too tight now fit her perfectly. She can proudly display her curves without being worried. She begins to fit into clothes that she secretly aspired to wear. She is more confident and feels lighter, not only mentally but also physically.
There is a whole lot of positivity and confidence around her. Her bone and muscle health improves significantly acting as insurance for age-related degeneration.
The goal is getting better and stronger, focusing on all the five components of fitness. In return, it promises us so much, a lean-toned body, confidence, beauty, aesthetic appeal, health benefits, strength and so on.
The STEROID angle:
Women who are competitive bodybuilders appear manly not because they work out heavy but because they are on anabolic-androgenic steroids. Many female and male bodybuilders do not workout heavy as bodybuilding is not a strength sport.
Strength is purely optional for a bodybuilder (whether male or female).
Anabolic-androgenic steroids are drugs that are structurally related to the cyclic steroid ring system and have similar effects as testosterone in the body. A side effect of this is the women who are on these drugs appear manly. Whether male or female, athletes can do whatever it takes to win.
By default, all athletes train hard, are on a strict diet and seek the help of performance-enhancing pharmaceutical aids or STEROIDS.
The MARKETING angle:
A woman would always like pink, green, blue dumbbells rather than the conventional iron made equipment. The reason being, it feels feminine to use coloured dumbbells.
Imagine: Body toning club for women which has coloured dumbbells weighing no more than 10 pounds and Bodybuilding club for women which has conventional iron made dumbbells up to 200 pounds.
Obviously, 99.99% of women would go for the body toning club solely on the perception that bodybuilding is for men to develop muscles and body toning is for women just to tone their body. That is the reason you see health clubs and gyms advertising separately for bodybuilding, body toning, fat loss, muscle gain, etc. All mean the same - building the muscle and reducing the fat.
If this is the fact, then why advertise differently? The answer lies in the perception of the target group. Gyms want to target the men who are associating themselves with bodybuilding and the women who are associating themselves with body toning, giving them the same exercises under different labels. It is just like in a toothpaste advertisement, unless people see a doctor advising on using a particular brand, most people would not trust the brand or use it.
Bodybuilding and body toning is the same but is marketed differently because of the target market perception.
Women and men should follow the same workout regime depending on their experience and fitness level.
Muscle has a shape and tone. Fat does not have a shape or tone.
Muscle is metabolically active tissue. Fat is metabolically inactive tissue.
Just like men, women should also focus on all five components of fitness.
Lifting heavy weights will never make women even remotely resemble men.
Women will never be able to attain men like musculature unless administered with anabolic-androgenic steroids.
Achieving higher levels of fitness is a goal in itself. As we get fitter, the goals keep getting more challenging. By avoiding weight training, all the lovely women are missing the fabulous body of their dreams, not to mention the tremendous health benefits. It is never too late to embark on the journey of achieving the body of your dreams.
Now we understand there is no difference between bodybuilding and body toning and it's just another marketing gimmick.