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That 'Toned' Look

As many women embark on a fat loss journey and begin to embrace heavy weightlifting for the first time, there is often a fear that the ‘toned’ look they’re after will translate into huge, hulking, bulky muscle. ⠀ Spoiler alert: it won’t. ⠀ In fact, after your first year or so, it’s actually really quite hard to add muscle mass. Certainly not impossible, but conditions have to be optimal to continue building, especially as women, since we don’t have nearly the same hormonal profile as men (for whom putting on muscle is much faster, thanks in large part to testosterone).⠀ Furthermore, even once you have put muscle on your frame, provided you are not carrying high amounts of body fat, it’s really hard to see, unless you are either flexing or very lean.⠀ If you’re unsure whether you want to first build up calories and muscle or begin a cut, ask yourself:⠀ ⚡️Am I carrying a lot of body fat? Maybe cut first, but include strength training and prioritize protein to preserve lean muscle mass (avoiding the ‘skinny fat’ look). ⠀ ⚡️Am I under consuming calories? If yes, this is a good time to build them up and strength train to put yourself in a position to be successful when you do cut.⠀ ⚡️Am I at maintenance calories? You could go either way OR embrace the power of being here and see some long term body recomp by simply prioritizing protein and following a consistent lifting program, focusing on progressive overload.⠀ Question: Is there a more gratuitous muscle to flex than the bicep?! I mean, it’s not a great marker of functional strength, but it sure looks pretty in a selfie 😂⠀

September 3, 2019

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