Move more, eat less – when it comes to getting fit we often think that is exactly what we need to do to achieve that perfectly sculpted, toned body.
But fitness coach Claire Spence says no. She says that’s where so many people go wrong, and emphasises that, in fact, doing more cardio and restricting calories won’t help you to get the toned physique you’re after.
Instead, Claire, who runs Aberdeen’s Naked Clean Health, stresses that you should be thinking about fueling your body with appropriate nutrition.
That will then help to build and tone muscle after adequate strength training.
“When women want to get more toned and look good, they tend to use the concept move more, eat less,” said Claire.
“The problem being both these things is that you can burn out really quickly, and it is really unsustainable. So, you’re probably going to fall off the bandwagon.”
‘We need fuel for our muscles to grow’
One of the important things to think about when beginning your fitness journey is what you want to do and what your goals are.
Claire, who works exclusively with women, said: “So, if your goals are to create a toned physique, ‘move more, eat less’ won’t work for you.
“This is because basically, the definition of being toned is that you want to have lower body fat and you want to have muscular development.
“If we move more, we’re probably getting more exercise in the form of cardio, but we aren’t lifting any weights.
“We aren’t creating a stimulus, and therefore we aren’t building any muscle.
“And if we eat less, we’re not actually adding any fuel to grow.”
‘Doing cardio seven days a week probably won’t help tone muscle’
In order to have the toned look we desire, we need to build the muscle – and in order to build muscle, our body needs to have stress stimuli put against it.
The best way to achieve this is by strength and weight training.
And many women might think the way to do this is by getting on the treadmill more times a week than needed.
“In order to lose weight we need to be in a calorie deficit – but in order to lose weight sustainably, your calorie deficit should only be a very small one,” Claire explains.
“A lot of girls go wrong with the concept of building, like using weights.
“They think they have to go to the gym, six or seven times a week, but your body is not getting any time to recover.”
Claire added that the optimum number of times a person should hit the gym if they want to tone up is around three to four times a week, while following a plan which is directed towards what muscles you want to grow.
Don’t treat your body like a phone
“If you treat your body like a phone, like when our phone reaches the end of the day, we always put it down and it recharges,” said Claire.
“Our body is the same. If we put it under too much stress, our battery will run out until we need to be recharged again – and it’s the same with our muscles.
“They can’t just grow. You’ve got to allow your muscles to repair within the process of it.
If we put our body under too much stress, our battery will run out until we need to be recharged again
“We have to eat enough to sustain this, if we eat little we’ll just lose all our weight.
“But if we eat at that maintenance phase, then we’ll build muscle at the same time because we’re fuelling our body correctly.”