Why There is No Such Thing as ‘Toning’

For years and years and years people have used the word ‘toning’. People talk about how much they want to get ‘toned’ or ‘tone up’. People sell their exercise plans talking about how it’ll help others to tone. Tone this tone that! The word toning is one of my pet hates. You’re probably thinking a) what the hell is she talking about, and b) who is she to say toning doesn’t exist? Well, I’ve done lots of research, and from what I understand, it really isn’t a ‘thing’.

What is ‘Toning’ REALLY?

So, when somebody appears more ‘toned’, what’s happened? They’ve either lost fat, built muscle, or done both simultaneously (which is difficult). Some people think that to ‘tone’, they need to use light weights with loads of reps, but this is a massive waste of time. To get a leaner look, you can either work to burn fat or work to build muscle. You can try to do both if you’re brave enough. This means making sure both your exercise routine and diet are spot on. Some people try detox weight loss diets to help them ‘tone’. In reality, nothing will help you to ‘tone’ other than hard work!

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picture from flickr

You will never get a flat stomach from crunches, sit ups, or anything of the like without sorting your diet out first. You’ll never get slim arms from trillions of tricep dips if you continue to eat rubbish. People think that they can do a few bodyweight exercises and they’ll instantly ‘tone up’. If your diet isn’t on point, nothing much will happen at all! Plus, once those exercises start to get easier, you need to make them harder to continue to challenge your body. If you don’t, you’ll hit a plateau. This is when weights and resistance bands should come in.

Toning is literally shedding fat and building muscle. You can’t ‘tone’ your fat either, like so many people seem to believe. I read an advert for body wraps the other day, where it falsely claimed to ‘tone the fat’. This is not scientifically possible! The only thing those wraps can do is give you a quick, temporary fix by getting rid of your water weight. Do you think that a body wrap can help you shed fat (that probably took you ages to put on) and help you to build muscle in 30-60 minutes? Or in any time frame at all? No? Then it’s not going to tone you at all, is it?! Let’s be brutally honest here.

People do have different body types. Some people look slim and ‘toned’ because they have a very low body fat, and do a lot of bodyweight/plyometric exercises. Some people look fit and defined but curvy, usually because they lift weights to build certain muscles. People who focus only on cardio will have a low body fat, but they won’t have much muscle mass either; this gives a skinny look with little definition.

The way the body shapes up is actually quite simple to understand. The more muscle we have paired with a low body fat, the fitter and more defined we look. The less muscle we have, the more out of shape/skinny we can look.

I hope I made this clear and didn’t ramble too much. Leave your thoughts below!

Give Spa Style Massages With My Tips!

I love getting massages, but I can’t always afford to go for one. It helps if you have somebody on hand to give you a massage, but it’s no good if they don’t know what they’re doing. Usually, they’ll ask you to return the favour too. Whether you’ve roped a friend or partner into giving you a massage, make sure you both read this guide first. These tips will make your experience much better – almost spa style!

Make Sure You’re Well Equipped

First, make sure you’re well equipped to give a massage. You should have a suitable cream or oil to use. Body lotion is something many people reach for, but it can absorb quickly which can knock you off your massage ‘stride’. You can buy reasonably priced massage oil and cream from lots of health shops.

Never Massage a Bone

I realise how hilarious this sounds. I’ll let you giggle like a schoolgirl for a sec before I carry on…ready? Stay away from those bones people! The goal of a massage is to manipulate the muscle, releasing tension and easing any aches. Massaging a collarbone, for example, will feel very uncomfortable. Pay attention to the areas you’re touching rather than just massaging willy nilly. You should also steer well clear of the spine, as any damage to this can be fatal.

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Ask How the Pressure Is

Instead of just massaging away thinking you’re doing a great job, ask the person how the pressure is. Would they like it lighter, or harder? Everybody has their own preferences when having a massage. Massage places like Bodyworks would never give a massage without asking about the pressure!

Keep Your Movements Smooth and Flowing

The key to a good massage is to keep your movements smooth and flowing. Focus on making them nice and fluid. Take your time with them. If you rush the movements, the person having the massage will feel this and won’t be able to relax. Really take your time. There are plenty of different moves you can use, so I recommend watching a few YouTube videos and then practicing them. Don’t try to remember too many, or you’ll get confused. Just remember a handful and then alternate them. Effleurage movements are a must, as that’s what you start and finish every massage with. You can then learn movements like chopping and pinching which can be great for easing tension.

Always Push Towards The Heart

A major rule of massage is that you always push towards the heart. Let’s say you’re massaging the leg; you’d always massage from the foot, upwards. If you need to get back down to the foot, you’ll use a light sweeping movement and then begin your technique again. You should never massage away from the heart, as you want as much blood there as possible. When massaging the face, you’ll always use upward, sweeping movements to help reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles.

I hope you love these tips and put them to good use. Leave any tips you have in the comments!