September 1, 2009
Here it is…what you’ve all been waiting for- the well kept secret to achieving that “buffed” look….
Ok, there really is no secret- the answer has been right under our noses all along. The best approach to achieving a well-toned, firm body is to participate in a balanced exercise program (aerobic conditioning and strength training) and to eat sensibly.
I feel pretty strong already…I just don’t look it.
Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is you are not alone, as many individuals have strong muscles, including washboard abdominal regions. The bad news? Unfortunately for most of us, a layer of body fat covers our abdominal region and subsequently sends our six packs into hiding.
So are you saying I’ll never be big and buff?
Not at all! Everyone has the ability to increase muscle strength and muscle tone to some degree, however what is important to note is that relatively few adults (male or female) possess the genetic capability to develop large muscles or the cut physique of the models seen in many of the popular fitness magazines.
Well what if I only want to tone my muscles?
Physiologically there is no difference between toning and strengthening a muscle. Often individuals are confused regarding the relationship between muscle strength, muscle tone or definition, and muscle size. As muscle strength improves, muscle tone also improves due to a greater density of the muscle fibers.
Ok, bottom line….is it possible to look cut?
Yes! If your desire is to achieve that cut look, you must develop reasonably significant levels of muscle mass while simultaneously reducing the amount of fat under the skin. When this effect is achieved, the well-developed muscles can be seen from under the skin.
Remember, a well-rounded exercise program, comprised of aerobic conditioning and strength training, and a sensible diet are key to helping you reaching your individual health and fitness goals…whatever they may be.
So while it may not have been the bombshell “secret” you were hoping for, isn’t it refreshing to know that our goals are well within our reach?
Jessica Matthews, MS, E-RYTContributor
Jessica Matthews, M.S., E-RYT is assistant professor of exercise science at Miramar College. As a leading fitness expert, writer and educator Jessica is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including Shape and Oprah.com. She holds a B.S. in physical education teacher education from Coastal Carolina University and M.S. in physical education from Canisius College. She is a certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) as well as an Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT) through Yoga Alliance and trained stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga instructor. Prior to teaching at Miramar, Jessica worked full-time ACE, serving in a number of key roles including exercise physiologist, certification director and senior health and fitness editor. Her past work also includes serving as aquatics director at Conway Medical Wellness and Fitness Center and designing health and physical education curriculum for grades K-12. Full Bio Jessica Matthews »