I've always been curious to know what exactly is muscle tone and how exactly do I obtain the chiseled Greek-God or Goddess like appearance.
Particularly how long does it take to get toned bod (I'm super impatient). I decided to do my home work and research just how these fitness models actually achieve a shredded toned body.
I was pleasantly surprised with what I found and I think you will be too!
In this article you will learn:
I found that, in general, you will see muscle tone within 3-4 weeks. Following a healthy diet plan while in a calorie deficit. Combining strength training and HIIT on average of 3-5 days a week, you will begin to see changes in your body composition.
Other factors include gender, age, genetics and body fat percentage.
Recommended to exercise around 45 minutes to 1 hour a day, following a healthy diet plan all while tracking your macros. I found a popular macro-nutrient profile for losing weight and getting toned is around 40 percent protein, 25 percent fat and 35 percent carbs.
You will likely see definition in your arms, legs and shoulders first. Buttocks, thighs, abdomen and love handles generally will be the last areas holding stubborn fat.
Men have higher levels of growth hormones and testosterone, so they will generally see results and get muscle tone faster.
There is a lot of confusion around toning and how to get toned.
Part of the confusion probably comes from the media, but also from the word “tone” itself.
Muscles shrink or grow, they do not technically “tone” or get harder.
So, there are many different ideas of what toning is, but in general it is defined as lowering the body fat percentage to show muscle definition or "muscle tone".
When I personally think of looking toned I think of my arms and legs, but technically any muscle you can work out can gain muscle tone, it all comes down to the body fat percentage and your genetics.
The fact is genetics determines where your body will burn fat from first to reveal your underlying muscle definition or tone.
To speed up the process of getting toned, try high intensity interval training (HIIT) or Tabata training for three or four days a week in conjunction with some strength training.
Haven't heard of Tabata? Watch the video below on what is Tabata.
HIIT workouts have been linked in multiple studies to boost your metabolic rate.
HIIT workouts have also been shown to have positive impacts on both people who are new to working out as well as highly trained athletes.
Not only does HIIT help you build muscle and boost your metabolism, but it has also been shown to increase endurance and general health.
HIIT is also a great workout regime for those of us with busy lifestyles, as the amount of time needed is generally lower than most workouts. I personally like doing one HIIT workout in the morning and one in the evening since I do not usually have one big chunk of time to workout.
It is important to realize even though HIIT workouts require less time, intensity is a very important part of HIIT, so I definitely would not consider them an “easy fix.”
When doing HIIT workouts you usually try to push yourself in a short amount of time, so it is kind of like running sprints instead of running a marathon. Like a sprint, you are not trying to endure for long periods of time, you are more focused on pushing yourself.
With HIIT the more intense the exercise, the more fat you will burn. Still, be aware of your personal limits and do not hurt yourself.
The intensity can take some time to get used to. For me personally, I like using Youtube videos for my HIIT workouts, I find they help me push myself to keep up with the video and not be as tempted to give up until the end.
It is also important to remember HIIT, just like any other type of exercise must be balanced with calorie intake in order to lose weight and gain muscle.
Unfortunately, most of us cannot just do HIIT and eat cake all day and still expect to lose weight.
I heard my friend at the gym the other day say “abs are made in the kitchen” at first I laughed and thought it was odd.
When I started to look more into muscle toning though, I figured out what my friend was talking about. In addition to working out, nutrition is a major key factor.
Protein is known as “the building blocks of muscles” so it is important to take in more protein to help build muscle definition. It is also important to be aware of your calorie intake and calorie expenditure.
If you are trying to get muscle tone it is a good idea to eat fewer calories than your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE). A good way to calculate how much you should be exercising and how many calories you should intake is through calculating your TDEE.
Your TDEE is a breakdown of the total amount of calories you are burning in a day based on various factors, including age, gender and activity level.
For more information about macros and how intermittent fasting can help you reach both your weight loss and muscle building goals, see this blog post.
From your TDEE it is easier to tailor the amount of macro-nutrient and calorie intake to your personal needs and goals.
Related Article: How Long Does It Take To Tone Flabby Arms
1. Incorrect form
Be careful to use proper form when working out to get the most out of your exercises and to prevent injury.
If you are not sure if you are using correct form try looking in a mirror as you perform the exercise or ask a friend to help check your form.
2. Not getting enough rest
Whether it is through taking a rest day or just not sleeping enough in general, your body needs to recover. Working out is technically tearing muscle fibers, so if you do not give them enough time to rest, recover and grow you are not going to get the full benefit.
That is also why you should vary the muscles you exercise.
3. Neglecting your diet
Diet is a vital part of muscle toning. If your muscles are covered by fat you won't be able to reveal your muscle. People trying to obtain muscle tone will focus too much on exercise and forget the importance of diet.
Do not forget to drink water regularly both during the day and during your workouts.
4. Flying solo
Finding a workout buddy is a great way to motivate yourself and a great way to build friendships. Whether it is an accountability partner, personal trainer or using an app like Pact, it is a good idea to find someone to keep you accountable and motivated.
Wrapping It Up
So, all in all, it takes about a month to start looking toned but through HIIT, watching nutrient intake and being mindful of common mistakes are great way to help you reach your health goals and obtain muscle tone faster.