It’s a common question. Can you skip the resistance training and just stick to cardio if you want to get toned? Here’s why even the strongest cardio proponents should consider stepping off the treadmill once in a while and picking up some weights.
Many people believe that cardio is all they have to do to get that much desired toned look.
What do we mean by toned?
Getting ‘toned’ is such a vague concept. So first let’s define what we mean by it.
When we say we want to get toned, what we usually mean is that we want to change our body composition. We want to decrease our body fat % and increase the % of lean muscle in our body.
Imagine two women (or two men… whatever you prefer). Both are 5.5 feet tall and both weigh 136 pounds. However one has 18% body fat and the other has 34% body fat.
The difference? Even though they weigh exactly the same and are the same height, the woman with 18% body fat wears size 8 jeans… the other woman size 14. This is because muscle tissue is four times denser than fat tissue.
So, to get toned we want to reduce our body fat percentage… but we also want to increase our percentage of lean muscle.
Cardio is great… but
It’s true that cardio helps burn calories, lowers body fat and increases endurance. Cardio is a great way to improve your cardiovascular system. Hence the name.
However, one thing cardio doesn’t do is provide you with the lean muscle that’s so important if you want that much sought after ‘toned’ look. You really need resistance training for that.
Even worse, performing too much steady state cardio will actually put your body in a catabolic state. Especially if you are also cutting your calorie intake by following a restricting diet.
When this happens, instead of building the lean muscle mass that is responsible for that toned look… you will be burning it!
This is also why it’s best to avoid extreme crash diets. You should also make sure you’re eating enough protein to maintain your lean muscle mass.
Not only will loss of lean muscle reduce strength, but it will also slow down your metabolism. A slower metabolism – in turn – makes it harder to burn fat.
Enter resistance training…
If you don’t already have sufficient muscle volume, too much cardio can leave you looking skinny-fat rather than toned-and-fit.
In other words, you need lean muscle mass if you want to look ‘toned’. It doesn’t matter whether you are male of female.
If you’re a woman and you’re worried about resistance training making you look bulky, just look at Becky Holman.
Becky is in her fifties but she looks fitter and more toned than many women half her age. Her secret? The moderate weight, high fatigue training taught in this system.
Resistance training helps build and maintain lean muscle. This results in the kind of toned physique that most people looking for. It also helps speed up your metabolism. This will help you burn more calories, even after your workouts.
Besides building and maintaining lean muscle mass, resistance training has many other benefits. It will help:
- Increase your bone density
- Decrease your risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Increase your production of growth hormone
- Decrease the risk of diabetes
No powerlifting required
When we say strength training or resistance training, we don’t mean you have to become a powerlifter or bodybuilder. Actually… you don’t really need to lift any weights at all!
Your workouts don’t have to be very long either. Just 30 minutes, three times per week is enough to burn fat, build lean muscle and develop that much desires toned look.
Conclusion: Can You Get Toned Just Doing Cardio?
Although cardio definitely has its benefits, it is not the most effective way to get a toned physique. Resistance training helps build the lean muscle that is essential for toning your body, as well as providing many other important benefits.
For the best results, combine your workouts with a diet that’s designed to boost your metabolism while at the same time maintaining that hard-earned lean muscle… like this one.