“I really want to tone my body!”
I hear this statement all the time and it makes me wonder if women truly understand what they want from a fitness program. It’s actually not their fault that they ‘re confused. There are contradictory notions of the ideal woman’s figure denoted by society: firm but curvy, thin but voluptuous, small but strong. These conflicting ideals lead to a plethora of misconceptions by women aspiring to fit the mold. The falsehood I have to debunk most often is the idea that lifting weights correlates with building massive muscles. Mortified at the thought of bulkiness, women have become fearful of purposeful weight training.
“Long, lean, toned muscles” are music to women’s ears but their pursuit usually leads them away from the weight room and into yoga or the Pilates studio. The fact is, most modern women today want to look good in a tank top (shapely shoulders, etched back muscles and tight triceps) or a bikini (defined abdominals, shapely butt, and tight legs). To achieve that, they need to build muscle.
Muscle definition, or for lack of better words “a toned body,” really means having muscle without a significant amount of body fat obscuring the lean body mass underneath. The phrase “muscle tone” is actually a misnomer as it refers to the muscle’s resistance to passive stretch during a resting state. What women really want is “muscle definition.” But in order to achieve better muscular definition, they must have a substantial amount muscle with sufficiently low body fat. Ladies, small muscles will not give you a nice shape in your jeans.
If you find yourself suffering from muscle-phobia, a shift in your perspective is in order. Significant weight must be lifted to achieve muscular hypertrophy (increased muscle mass). Do not worry about getting “bulky.” As women, our bodies produce such a small amount of testosterone that achieving gigantic muscles is nearly impossible. Besides, the more muscle you have the more calories you burn. (One pound of muscle burns 20-30 calories per day versus one pound of fat that burns only about 5 calories a day). A combination of total body strengthening, a well-rounded clean diet, cardiovascular exercise, and the right supplementation are the keys to getting that lean and defined physique.
My Secret Weapon
Hopefully, you are now embracing the idea that building muscle is the first step to achieving the look you want. Now what if I told you there was supplement that available that gave you an edge, that helped you recover faster, increased your energy, built lean body mass, and decreased body fat? Well, this supplement is available and it’s one of my secret weapons. It’s actually not that big of a secret as it was named the “best selling intra-workout supplement” by one of the leading online supplement stores.
Scivation’s XTEND is a 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, commonly known as branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). XTEND is further enhanced with glutamine, electrolytes, antioxidants, and vitamin B6. Best of all, XTEND has zero calories, zero grams of sugar, mixes easily in water, and tastes great. XTEND yields great results and can be added into the regimes of athletes who require strength, endurance, power, or by anyone who is yearning to build muscle and burn fat.
According to a study performed in Sweden and published in the Journal of Nutrition (2006), “BCAAs have anabolic (muscle building) effects on protein metabolism by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation in resting human muscle. Also, during recovery from endurance exercise, BCAAs were found to have anabolic effects in human muscle.”
If you think BCAAs are just for guys, think again
XTEND has been at my side in the weight room, on the track, and even on long recreational hikes. This supplement helps me push my limits, minimize muscle soreness between workouts, and sustain intense cardio sessions that burn fat, all while protecting my muscles. This is immensely important to me during my competition preparations when my calories are low but my activity levels are high. Running two businesses, training clients, and competing as a professional athlete I don’t gamble my time or the ingredients from the supplements I put into my body.
Plan of Attack
Since XTEND is calorie and sugar free, extremely satisfying in taste, and comes in an array of different flavors I drink XTEND throughout my day. Early in morning before I attack my cardio I start sipping on a serving and throughout the rest of the cardio workout I finish drinking it. When it’s time for my weight training, I ingest another serving that I add into my water bottle. I start sipping on it during my training and finish it off during my post workout cardio. Given the fact I am usually exhausted by this time, XTEND kicks in by supplying me with that last little bit of energy to push my body to burn more body fat. Later in the evening, I mix up another serving to drink between my fourth and fifth meals. If I add in another workout or more physical activity to my day, I may have a fourth serving. When first using XTEND I recognized amplified intensity, prolonged endurance, and increased strength. Overall, my consistent usage of XTEND has given me astonishing results.
Ladies, hopefully “toning” is a word you’ll drop from you vocabulary and you’ll use XTEND to build lean muscle! If you’re an elite athlete training for an event or competition, or somebody who wants to be healthy and look great, this may be the missing piece from your regimen that will help you reach your goals.
Contact me if you have any questions about weight training or supplementing with XTEND!
Monica Mark-Escalante is an IFBB pro figure competitor and owner of Mon-Fit, a company that provides personal training, nutritional counseling and personalized meals.