Everyone has an idea in their head when it comes to looking their fittest and healthiest. For some, it’s fitting perfectly into a certain outfit, or walking on the beach in a bikini with total confidence.
For others, it may mean seeing a defined midsection reflected in the mirror, or having strong, toned shoulders or legs. We all have our own goals for how we want to look and feel. Although your specific goals may be different from those of others, almost everyone wants to look and feel toned and fit.
But what does “toned” really mean? And is it different from “bulking” up? This article sets out to define just that—and to dispel some myths about toning, strengthening and bulking up.
What Is Toning?
When most people say that they want to “tone up,” what they usually mean is that they want to become leaner. Basically, they want to lose fat, and add a little muscle definition—but not so much muscle mass that they look like a bodybuilder (much more on that later).
In the fitness world, there is no real definition for toning that is greatly recognized. Rather, toning is a term used to describe the end goal, which usually results from a combination of basic weight-lifting and fat-burning.
What about Bulking Up?
Typically, men want to “bulk up” and women usually wish to avoid building big, bulky muscles. Although there is no strict definition, “bulking up” means adding a lot of muscle mass to the body and possibly (although not always) reducing one’s body fat, too. Bulking up harkens images of bodybuilders and big football players—usually male and usually beefy!
Toning, on the other hand, typically refers to aerobics instructors and Hollywood starlets who have lower amounts of body fat and some visible muscle, but not huge muscles.
So now that we have our definitions straight, let’s move on to facts and the fallacies about toning up and bulking up.