One of the most common goals I hear is, “I want to tone up, but I don’t want to lift because I’m afraid I’ll get bulky.” So many people (particularly women) shy away from lifting weights because they’re afraid it will make them too muscular or too “bulky.” What they’re missing is that the only way to tone up is to lift, or to do some other form of strength training (e.g., calisthenics, resistance with bands).
Sure, cardio has its place…sort of. I mean, if you enjoy cardio, it should definitely be a part of your program because doing things you enjoy helps you stay motivated.
But if your goal is to get toned then two things absolutely have to happen.
First, you have to lose body fat around your muscles. Second, you have to have well-defined muscles. The best way to achieve both of these things is by lifting. And by lifting I mean working, not curling 5 pound weights and barely breaking a sweat.
Here’s why lifting works better in a nutshell:
- Lifting burns more fat because it depletes your immediate energy sources (like stored glycogen and blood glucose) much faster than cardio, meaning you will start to burn stored FAT sooner
- Lifting has been shown to boost your metabolism for up to 36-hours post-workout and with a much shorter workout than that required to get the same result from cardio
- Lifting builds muscle, which is basically a fat burning machine and, by the way, ESSENTIAL to getting a toned, defined physique
- Lifting makes you stronger, which actually makes your other workouts more effective because you can go longer and harder
Aside from being better for toning, lifting also provides health benefits that cardio doesn’t
The weight-bearing nature of lifting protects against osteoporosis, cancer, chronic disease, aging, and age-related muscle atrophy. It stabilizes joints and helps prevent injury. It also improves flexibility, balance, and coordination — all of which are important to protect against fall-related injuries as we age. Finally, like cardio, lifting can reduce stress, alleviate depression, and increase energy.
So don’t be afraid to add lifting or other strength training to your workout program. It will not make you bulky, but it will enhance your overall performance and get you the results you want!
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