‘I bend so I don’t break’
Everyone knows that stretching can help your body to become flexible. Improving body’s flexibility is important and ideally, stretching should be performed before exercising. This helps in preparing the muscles for gruelling workouts. The question is – Does stretching tone your body?
As a reader, you need to understand that stretching alone cannot help in toning up your body. Your mind probably thinks in the other direction and it resembles the following scenario: Practicing yoga also involves stretching of body. It helps you to lose weight and get a toned body. Now there is a difference between toning up and losing weight. What is the difference? Keep reading to understand the difference and then we shall move on with how stretching helps to tone up the body.
Toning V/s Losing Weight
Weight loss can be seen on the weight scale. It is just the numbers that decrease on the scale, but you are not really toning up in the process of losing weight.
When you lose weight, you are seeing a difference in your overall body, but it may also lead to loose or sagging skin. Now toning up basically means fat reduction and the increase of the muscle mass percentage. Muscle toning would mean that there are big or bulky muscles. The idea is to trim the excessive fat in your body and get a defined shape.
That’s precisely why a personal trainer is needed. Losing weight is quite different from toning up. Toning means there is low level of body fat and one sees a noticeable and proper muscle definition. When you combine HIIT and strength training, toning up becomes easier.
The Real Deal
Coming back to the question that we started with, it is important that you include stretching as a part of the exercising routine.
As per fitness trainers, taking your workout and body to another level requires dedication and inclusion of stretching exercises. If we go by Google or any other resource, stretching is used for improving flexibility. It lengthens the muscles beyond its actual capability and helps you to become flexible.
Stretching alone cannot tone your body and thus, you need to follow a proper workout routine. Stretching works as a performance enhancer or improves the elasticity of the muscle.
Does it tone? Well, the answer to your question is – NO, stretching alone does not tone your body. Even women with high percentage of body fat are flexible. They probably perform stretching exercises, but their bodies are not toned.
How to get a toned body?
Firstly, you must stretching before and after the exercise. Any workout routine out there on YouTube or any fitness DVD will instruct you to stretch before and after. It prepares your muscles for the gruelling workout.
Performing HIIT workouts
High intensity interval training workouts are becoming popular. It focuses on short workouts, but these are extremely beneficial for the body. These workouts can last for 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes or even more. Gone are those days when working out in the gym for 3 hours straight was the only way to tone up.
HIIT regimen is effective when it comes to toning/fat mass reduction.
Majority of the workouts that you see on YouTube will say the following things: Get Shredded in 15 minutes. Best HIIT workout to Tone Your Body. Get Snatched with HIIT workouts at home.
A classic example of an HIIT workout is mentioned-below:
EXAMPLE – Lower-Body HIIT workout:
‘Complete the following circuit x 4 times, rest for 1 minute after calf raises workout in each round.
Duration: 30 seconds.
• Squat Jumps
Duration: 45 seconds.
• Calf Raises
Repetitions: 50 times’
Similarly, you can add your favourite workouts in your HIIT regimen and repeat it. You can add jumping jacks, lunges, squat jumps, sprints, situps, crunches and much more. This is a highly effective workout regimen and works for most people.
Ideally, you should search YouTube or find a genuine source. Even your gym trainer may help you with the HIIT workout.
Many people believe that giving up food can get you a toned body. This is a myth! Putting your body on starvation mode is not correct. Your body requires fuel and stopping food intake can make you weak.
Start with six small meals in a day. Do not fall for diets that are short-term in nature. Can you follow GM diet on a long run? Does the salt water flush out diet work wonders? These are fine as long as you have short-term goals. Think about investing your time on productive workouts and eating a balanced meal. Include high fibre foods and reduce the carbohydrate intake.
Lifting is the answer
It is a myth that lifting weights makes your bulky. You must join a gym and ask your trainer to include lifting of weights. It takes a long time to build muscles like a robust man that you see in the magazines. Strength training helps in burning calories and building muscles.
Cardio is good
While cardio is a must to lose weight, you would need to add strength training in the routine. Cardio will kick-start your weight loss journey but toning up comes from lifting weights, eating well and remaining stress-free.
Please understand that stretching is great! You should even add yoga workouts to your routine, but do not underestimate the power of strength training. Ideally, focus on HIIT workouts and include lifting of weights. Do the latter under a personal trainer. You can speak to people who have been on a ‘toning up’ journey.
In fact, YouTube has a wealth of knowledge too! Do your research before performing any exercise and never starve. The key to toning up is to follow a disciplined lifestyle and getting rid of bad habits such as drinking or eating junk.
Take care of your body and it will love you back ten-folds.