The Best Way For Women To Tone Up

I have the privilege of meeting with hundreds of men and women every year to discuss their goals. Women will generally tell me they want to tone up when expressing their goals. At CrossFit HSE we periodically meet with our members to discuss their progress and to set new goals. One of our classes is a 30-minute high-intensity class that works to build lean muscle and burn body fat.

After being in this class for months-years athletes will often express the need to build more strength and feel like they need to tone up more. We hear this sentiment expressed by incoming prospects as well that have been doing boot-camp style workouts or programs that are primarily cardio-based. (Orange Theory)

So what’s lacking or what needs to change in order for a woman to tone up more?


In order for anyone to get stronger, build more lean muscle, and tone up trouble areas, weightlifting is necessary. Everyone is going to plateau sooner or later and in order to continue to challenge oneself, build more lean muscle mass, burn more body fat, and continue to progress, we have to add in more weightlifting.

There is a principle called progressive overload that will be helpful in gaining understanding when it comes to breaking through training plateaus.

Progressive Overload:

Involves continually increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system to continually make gains in muscle size, strength, and endurance. Simply put, in order to get bigger and stronger, you must continually make your muscles work harder than they’re used to.

Women will typically fear getting bulky by lifting weights. Let me calm this fear and debunk this myth. It’s not going to happen unless you overeat and train 3-5x a day. Lifting weights adds lean muscle, muscle density, and burns more calories throughout the day than cardio by itself.

I have a guy that wore his fit-bit in my 1-hour body-building class where we only lifted weights. He burned over 800 calories in an hour. 3.5 hours later he was up to over 1400 calories burned. When you lift weights you’re turning your body into a fat-burning machine!

More muscle = More calories burnt at rest! Who wouldn’t want that?

For change to happen or to force more growth we need to place a new stimulus on our bodies. Pressure creates growth. Remember that. The best way to place a new stimulus on our bodies is to progressively add weight over time. It doesn’t need to be a ton of weight either!

If you are fearful of getting big and bulky, let me calm your fear one last time: Here is a picture of 2 ladies that lift weights at CrossFit HSE.

Toned and Lean.

-Coach Bryan

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