Quick Fix – Will cardio or weights get me toned?
You joined a gym, you went on a diet, you lost weight and you feel good but what you really want is to ‘look toned’.
You want to look good in that summer dress and what about some of those toned abs all the fitness models have?
If your aim is to ‘tone up’ you need to focus your training in the right way.
So which is best cardio or weights?
Lately women have been looking more for that athletic look sported by athletes and fitness models, it seems the days of hitting the step or aerobics class are beginning to dwindle.
Sports psychologists have been studying the effect of aerobic activity on self-confidence for decades. And they keep coming to the same conclusion: Runners, cyclists, swimmers, and other athletes have high confidence levels because of the sense of accomplishment they feel at achieving those distances.
I don’t know about you but a good session of sweaty cardio like running always makes me feel good and so you will feel better about your body if you focus on cardio.
If that is enough for you then great you may find that is all you need. However increasingly women want to see more muscle tone than cardio will give them. They want to see that definition in the arms and legs.
When you focus on cardio alone you may see a change in your weight and your body shape but you will not see a dramatic change in muscle tone of your arms and your abs.
This is where the strength training comes in.
Immediately after a weight training or strength workout blood has rushed to your muscles. This makes them swell and appear more toned.
It’s what anybody who has ever been to a gym on a Friday night will recognise as the young lads who are ‘getting the pump’ before their night out.
Beyond vanity, you feel confident because you worked pretty hard and your body is showing you that it has worked.
You will also see improvements in the the long term, your clothes will fit better and your body will feel tighter.
In 2006, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario tested subjects' body image - how they felt about others checking them out, and how satisfied they were with their own appearance before and after 12 weeks of strength training.
The women made significant improvements, and they were particularly influenced by the physical results of increasing the amount lifted.
Strength training has many benefits the main one being that the more muscle you have in your body the more fat your body will burn. Muscle takes up less space than fat and so makes you look slimmer.
The upshot is that if you want a toned body you have to do some strength training to get it.
My advice would be that both strength and cardio training make you feel good.
Weight training for women should not be overlooked and will make you feel amazing about your body so stick with a mix of both, tipping more towards the strength training when you need to see a dramatic quick change.
I’m off to get my barbell out! If you have any questions about building strength training into your routine feel free to hit reply. Or join our Facebook group and ask away!
p.s. Next week look out for some breakfast ideas for your morning quick fix.