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What women get wrong about getting toned

4 Things Women Get Wrong About Getting Toned (Fix Them!)

I think people highly overrate the rate of building muscle. A lot of women say, “I want to look toned, but I don’t want to build too much muscle.” If only it were that easy. 

The men and women you see online with muscles aren’t a result of casually working out. 

They built their bodies through years and years of hard and consistent strength training, and most of them are even enhanced. 

The definition of “being toned” is losing fat while gaining some muscle to improve body shape. This means that getting toned requires you to build some muscle.

A lot of women are afraid of looking muscular, but what you don’t know is that building significant muscle is intentional.

You will only build huge muscles if you train like an athlete, and for most women, you’ll only look muscular if you’re enhanced. 

So, rest assured, ladies, if you’re aiming to look toned and lean, you won’t look muscular or bulky. 

There is a factor that may make you appear bigger, which I will cover at the end of this post and give you tips to avoid. 

That being said, let’s analyze some common myths about getting toned. 

Common myths about getting toned

4 Things women get wrong about getting toned

You need to change your perception of getting toned. 

A lot of women believe that if they want to get toned, then they need to be extreme with both how they eat and how they work out.

However, it doesn’t have to be that way; you can get toned “minimalistically.” 

Let’s clear up some misconceptions.  

1. Cardio Is the Only Way

People think the only way to get lean and toned is to go crazy on cardio. They go to the gym and hop on the treadmill for 2 hours.

You will lose weight, but getting toned and looking skinny aren’t the same thing.

If you’re aiming to get toned, I’ll assume you want some fat to go to the right places, like your glutes. 

Additionally, most of us don’t enjoy cardio, so the thought of having to do intense cardio may stop us from starting our goals.

You don’t need that much cardio to get toned.

2. Avoiding Strength Training to Prevent Bulking

You probably think that if you lift weights for a month, you’ll build muscle. And you’d be wrong.

Building significant muscle takes lots of time and intentional training, especially for women. 

Pretty much no natural woman has ever complained about “having too much muscle.” If you do get that muscular, it won’t be by accident.

Strength training is needed for looking toned and without it, you may just lose weight and look skinny fat.  

Related: How to Get Lean Without Getting Bulky (Women’s Guide)

3. Extreme Dieting is Necessary

“Buy this 30-day weight-loss drink-only diet and lose 20kg in 1 month!” 

How many of you have seen these ads? 

You too, right? 

PS: They don’t work, and even if they do, losing weight like this is very unhealthy. 

You don’t need extreme diets to get toned. 

If you go to extreme lengths to lose weight, not only will you have a high likelihood of gaining all that weight back, but you’ll also most likely end up feeling skinny fat. 

Extreme diets burn both muscle and fat, and when you have little to no muscle, you may end up with stubborn fat in your arms, stomach, or back that just won’t go away despite how much weight you lose. 

Plus, extreme diets just suck; they make the whole process of weight loss feel like hell. 

4. If you lift lightweight, you’ll get toned; if you lift heavy weight, you’ll get bulky

A very popular myth in women’s fitness is that when you lift lightweight, you won’t build too much muscle, thus avoiding the bulky look. 

But there’s no such thing as building light or bulky muscle; there’s just muscle. 

You either have it or you don’t. 

What happens is that most women use light weights to turn exercises that are supposed to be for building muscle into just plain cardio.

Related: Balance Your Social Life and Weight Loss with these 9 Creative Tips!

Woman Strength Training to get toned

What does science say about women building muscle?

According to one source: “In general, it takes women around four weeks for an adaptation, eight weeks to see some structural changes, and twelve weeks to really notice a difference.”

However, how much muscle you build will depend on how frequently you work out and your intensity. 

Women who are new to the gym will experience “newbie gains,” which is when you gain muscle relatively quickly for some time. 

When your body gets more familiar with lifting weights, this rate of muscle growth reduces.

Studies also say that although women build muscle at the same rate as men, their muscles won’t look as big as men’s muscles. 

Here’s why: Women naturally carry a higher body fat percentage (around 20–30% body fat) compared to men’s body fat percentage (around 12–20% body fat). 

Due to men being relatively leaner, their muscles appear bigger. 

Additionally, it is harder for women to build muscle than men because women don’t have much testosterone. 

This is all fancy talk for: women can’t build the same muscle size as men, and they won’t look bulky unless they vigorously pursue being bulky. 

Related: Does Weight Loss Reduce Breast Size? 

Here’s what makes women look bulky instead of toned

I’ll keep it short: the major reason some women get bulky in their pursuit of being lean is eating lots of calories while strength training.

Here’s a common scenario:

A woman decides to pursue her goal of getting toned, so she does some research and realizes she has to build some muscle through strength training.

She starts going to the gym and lifting weights. After her gym session, she rewards herself by eating all her favorites for the rest of the day. 

Do you see what’s wrong here? 

If you lift weights, you will grow some muscle, and if you consume too many calories while lifting weights, you’ll gain muscle and fat. 

When you progressively gain muscle and fat, you get a bulky look. 

As long as you don’t make this common mistake, ladies, you won’t get bulky. 

In Summary…

For women aiming to get toned, you must debunk common myths. Forget the idea that cardio is the only route or that lifting weights leads to bulkiness. 

Toning involves a mix of strength training and cardio, paired with a balanced diet—no extreme measures are required.

Craft a workout routine that blends strength exercises targeting different muscles with enjoyable cardiovascular activities. 

Food-wise, focus on a balanced diet, steering clear of extreme dieting myths.

Understand that building muscle doesn’t come easy, so getting bulky will rarely be the case for most women. 

In cases where some women report getting bulky instead of getting toned, it’s more than likely that they just gained a lot of body fat. 

Faysal Tahir
Faysal Tahir
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