Many women influenced by the oily pictures of 90s-style bodybuilders in bikinis mistakenly believe that using weight will make them bulky.

I wish it were that easy! I have been lifting now for 5 years, and I am still small – but I am stronger and feel confident that my body will serve me well in my everyday life.

The truth is; bulking up for competition is extremely tough.  You need to change your hormone balance, and your diet completely. Never have a drink and dedicate your whole self to bodybuilding as a way of life!

Perhaps I’m lazy…but I prefer a more balanced approach to fitness.

Whether you are above a healthy weight, or a lightweight, the quality of your muscle tone will determine how confident you feel about yourself and the world around you.

Quality (toned) muscles activate powerful feel-good hormones naturally, in fact, no substance can be taken to equal “the toned muscle effect” on the sense of well-being.

Among other reasons; muscle tone aligns the spine and facilitates good posture, making it possible for the breath to enter the body easily, and oxygen to circulate throughout the body efficiently.

Circulating oxygen reduces the likelihood of oxidative stress, that is; an imbalance of free radical production and the ability of your body to neutralize their harmful effects.

In a ground breaking study, the Australian catalyst program 2016 reported on the terrific results in recovery of chemotherapy patients in a Perth hospital. Patients were sent to the gym for strength training immediately after their chemotherapy!

These patients not only reported feeling less sick and having more energy, but they also doubled their chances of survival by decreasing their muscle wastage to nil and in some cases, increasing their muscle tone!

What are toned muscles?

In simple words; muscle tone is the quality and strength of muscle tissue. The downside of muscle tone is: it doesn’t come in a pill, a shake or a super-food. It is the result of consistent exercising designed to build quality and strength in muscle tissue.

Eva and I are united in designing our Shape-Up and 9 minutes to fitness programs, with the sole/soul purpose of combining exercises that build and retain muscle tone and fitness for practical everyday living.

The human body is naturally programmed to generate muscle at any age – why then is it so HARD to tone muscles?

Why resistance training is hard work!

The straightforward answer is, our modern lifestyle sabotages muscle tone because we no longer depend on our physical body for survival.

We live our lives through our mind’s eye and in search of ways to feel better. We have learned to sever the body’s need to be physically strong with excuses not to exercise.

The human race has evolved to be rewarded for creatively finding ways to lessen the burden of physical labor; however, our foundational body is built for strength and endurance.

Therefore, we are almost powerless to resist Mother Nature’s artillery of hormones that flood our psychology with the NEED to do less.

Strength training is the solution

If you are like me and the thought of exercise is harder than it should be, then strength training may be the solution for you.

Here are three strength training benefits that have interested me:

  1. Improvement in my mental health; exercise-triggered endorphins have helped me find ways to overcome obstacles in my life and find purpose and meaning.
  2. Reduced the risk for heart disease. I have a history of heart disease and have inherited high cholesterol. Strength training has improved the functioning of my HDL (good cholesterol) and stabilized my blood pressure – it has been miraculous!
  3. Lower risk of injury. I feel more “grounded” and my yoga teachers will testify that my balance, stability, flexibility, and mobility are improving as is my practice of yoga.

I look at my journey to fitness as an investment in my future well-being. I know that my body will naturally degenerate unless I can work to regenerate its muscle tone. I am motivated to exercise (even when I don’t want too!)  by my desire to be pain-free, mobile and independent for life.

If you  feel this way too then perhaps our 9 minutes to fitness program is the answer for you. Click below for more information and to download your Free 9 minute workout.


Live well with fitness!

Written by Anna: Fitness and Nutrition Personal Trainer