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Five Secrets to Building Muscle Tone People Will Notice

By HealthLife Contributor
Updated: August 23, 2008
As a woman, exercising can be difficult, but not because it is hard to do. Many women are afraid to do a vigorous enough workout to get their heart rate up and build muscle tone because they are afraid that they will build bulky muscle, and few women out there are willing to look manly. Doing hour after hour after hour of cardiovascular workouts is not going to give women the defined muscle tone they are looking for, but that seems a sacrifice they are willing to make when it comes to such a thing so long as they don't have to deal with bulky, 'manly' muscles.

Luckily, there are ways of going about building muscle tone people will notice without having to worry about bulkiness. Before long, people will be complimenting you on your slim, trim muscular tone!

High Reps, Low Weight

Pick a weight that you can lift and do four sets of 15 repetitions. This means lift the weights up and down fifteen times, take a breather, and do it three more sets of those. Take thirty second breaks in between, and before long you will see a difference in the tone of the muscle in that area.

This is the most common way to set up your repetitions, but do what is comfortable for you. If you need fewer reps at a time or fewer sets at a time, so be it. The point is that heavy weights and low reps build bulk, and in this case that is not what you want.

Don't Force It

Forcing yourself to lift weight that seems to heavy for you is not a good way to stay away from the bulk. As a matter of fact, this is one of the ways that bodybuilders build up that bulky muscle mass that they vie for. If it seems too heavy for you to do one set without being completely exhausted, pick the next weight down.
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As you gain strength, the weights that you used to use will be easier and you can upgrade from there, but don't force yourself in that direction. Not only do you risk injury, but you risk bulky muscle as well. Exercise is not a contest, and if it is you should be the only one in the competition.

Make Sure to Rest

If you are always working out, you are actually working against building muscle tone. It may seem like it would be the other way around, but there is research that proves that we build muscle when our muscles are resting. The reason why you notice a difference after lifting is because your muscles have blood flowing through them, but the fact remains that the long term muscle gain happens when you aren't working out.

Choose Supplements Wisely

If you have decided to use supplementation to help build muscle tone, be careful what you make use of. Some of the more popular supplements out there are designed for men who want to bulk up, so check the bottle and read up on what you make use of. The best way to supplement exercise is with a healthy diet, but if you must take supplements in a pill form, be careful of the ones that you use.

Use Wimpy Weights

Okay, so maybe wimpy weights aren't the way to go. If you want to build any type of muscle you are going to have to get some resistance, but women don't need fifty pound hand weights—hands down. Anything between five and fifteen pounds should be fine, depending on your fitness and endurance levels and the type of look you are going for.

As a woman, you probably don't want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and that is okay. Women should be lean and fit, but not bulky unless you are competing or that is the look that you are going for. Rather than stay away from exercising altogether, make use of these five tips the next time you exercise. Before long you will have that lean, mean muscle tone that people will be complementing you on every time you turn around.
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