Q: How do I "tone up" without building muscle?

A: "Tone" is actually an improper term made up by the fitness industry to deal with peoples’ (especially women) fear of building muscles that are too large. The correct term for what is desired is "tonus." Tonus is the residual tension that exists in a muscle that’s not actively contracting. Muscle is the only tissue in the body that has tonus. The degree to which body composition can be altered to increase muscle mass relative to body fat and other tissue will increase tonus and thus improve definition.

We all posses a genetic makeup that controls how large our muscles can become. Our bodies want to obtain the most strength with the least amount of increased size of muscle, which is the most efficient structure in which to function. Less than 1 percent of all people possess the genetics that allow unregulated muscle growth in response to exercise. These are the people who develop physiques seen in elite bodybuilding competitions. These people are already very muscular before they even lift a weight. The average person will never become bulky or overly muscular regardless of his or her efforts.

Q: What factors determine the production of visible results?

A: Three factors produce the shape of the human body: skeletal frame, body fat, and muscle. The skeleton is the permanent, supportive framework onto which everything is attached. Body fat accounts for every undesirable shape of the human body. Underlying muscle creates every desirable shape on the human body. The degree to which body fat is decreased and muscle is increased will determine to what extent your appearance improves.

Q: Should I perform more exercise to burn more calories?

A: Exercise doesn’t burn many additional calories, especially in comparison to the total amount we burn each day. When the treadmill displays 300 calories burned after a 45-minute jog, it doesn’t display the approximately 200 calories that would have been burned for basic metabolic requirements. Therefore, jogging only burned 100 additional calories above the baseline. If we were so metabolically inefficient that we burned an extra 300 calories for 45 minutes on a treadmill, we never would have survived as a species. We would have starved while hunting and gathering-at the same rate we might starve while shopping in the grocery store.

Unfortunately, the only reliable way to create a calorie deficit is to restrict the number of calories consumed each day. What proper exercise will do is create a circumstance where weight is lost discriminately. A strong stimulus to build additional muscle present during a sustained calorie deficit will specifically direct weight loss as fat loss. IBI