5 Reasons You’re Not Getting the “Toned” Look You Want

By Gemma Yates

Brace yourself… we're about to hit you with some mind-blowing fitness myth busting: there's no such thing as getting "toned".

We'll just let that one sink in for a minute

If we had a pound for every woman who came to us saying they want to "tone up" we'd be richer than a Kardashian, but it's Just. Not. A. Thing. What people actually mean when they say they want to be "toned" is that they want a firmer body. The secret to that? Increasing muscle mass while maintaining a low enough body fat percentage to see the definition and shape of said muscles. Muscles don't go from soft to hard or vice versa – they either shrink or grow in size.

If you've been training to get "toned" but aren't seeing results, it's probably down one or more of these common mistakes hindering your progress…

1. You're Not Challenging Yourself

As the saying goes "if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you". This is especially true when it comes to building muscle. Muscles grow bigger and stronger in response to training stimulus, but to keep those gains going, you've got to continually challenge it. That means lifting heavier weights, adding reps, playing with tempo and time under tension or increasing your training frequency.

2 . You're Not Getting Enough Rest

We've said it before and we'll say it again: rest days are where the magic happens. Every time you train you create microscopic tears in your muscle tissue. Resting allows these tears to heal and grow back stronger, as well as preventing injury and central nervous system fatigue. Muscles don't grow while you're lifting weights, they grow while you rest, so stop beating yourself up and schedule a day to chill the F out. Oh, and make sure you're getting a decent night's sleep (we're talking at least 7 hours) to maximise the muscle repair period. 

3. You're Not Eating Enough Protein

To see results, you've got to fuel yourself appropriately, and when it comes to building muscle, that means protein, protein and more protein! It forms the building blocks of muscles and getting enough helps us maintain muscle mass, promote muscle growth and repair after a workout. The average woman should aim for a minimum of 0.75g protein per kg of bodyweight per day, but if you're trying to build muscle you'll need to increase that to between 1.2 and 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. 

4. You're Doing Too Much Cardio

It goes without saying that cardio is super important for heart health and overall fitness, but too much of it can be counterproductive when it comes to building muscle. Overdoing it can put your body in a catabolic state where it burns the muscle you've worked hard for and slow down your metabolism. We're not saying don't do cardio – far from it – just make strength training your priority. 

5. You're Not Being Patient Enough

Muscle and strength gains take serious time. We're talking years. Which is why we always eye roll when women say they're worried about getting "bulky". Building muscle doesn't happen overnight, and it takes first-class nutrition, sleep and consistency to get there. Trust the process and remember it's a marathon not a sprint. 

So if you aren't achieving that look that your yearning for try putting into action some of our tips, be patient and you'll get the 'toned' look you want 😉