Sculpting comes from the word sculpture which refers to a structure that have been carefully carved or molded by very experienced hands resulting in harmonic lines that please the eyes. Well, body sculpting is not much different.
One thing to keep in mind is that as with the plastic arts, body sculpting is a long-term project not an easy-fix measure. You may have seen those late-night infomercials promising a super-toned perfect body if you only use their gadget every day for five minutes. Those ads are mesmerizing – it looks so simple! Then we buy their product and soon enough realize that we’ve been duped. The problem is that they hire very fit models who have been working on their physique for years, physiques that we all dream to have one day.
Does this mean that you will never get a better body unless you were born with good genes? Absolutely not – all it means is that you need to train appropriately.
Body sculpting is not much different than body building. Both use weight lifting techniques to improve body composition, aka reduce body fat and increase muscle mass. I would say that the term “body sculpting” is used to sell strength training to females because the term “body building” scares women away.
The goal of body sculpting is to increase lean body mass as you decrease fat deposits, creating a more defined toned look. Most women don’t want to show off some serious muscle definition; all they want is to be firm and not jiggle. However, to get this look, you must lift weights and lift a little heavy. All right, calm down – YOU WILL NOT GET BULKY! Trust me on this one; getting muscles to grow is hard work. You would need way more than a couple of strength training sessions per week to get big.
Many women seem to go to the gym every day, but can’t seem to get the results they expect. They spend hours on cardio machines in the hopes of getting toned legs but in reality they are just wasting their muscles away. Don’t get me wrong – cardiovascular training is a valuable tool to improve heart and lungs health, but it won’t help you building muscles. Keep in mind that one of the most important principles of training is specificity which means that the results you get are closely related to the type of training you do. Therefore, if you want a lean body that shows off some muscle definition, you must train for this outcome.
Ask yourself what you really want to accomplish. If it is a sculpted, toned, firm look, then you must lift weights in order to build some muscle. And I don’t mean doing bicep curls with “Barbie dumbbells” (those pink one-kilo dumbbells reserved for females) for tons of repetitions. You must choose exercises and loads that challenge different muscle groups to elicit change. Otherwise it is just a waste of your time.
Now if you never trained with weights and have no clue how to start, you are better off hiring a trainer to help you set up a balanced program that addresses your particular needs. You can discuss with your PT what you want to achieve, how much time you can commit and by when you would like to get the results.
Keep in mind that it is a lifelong process – not a short-term goal. As you become more proficient, your body will suffer adaptations and you will need to redesign your program in order to keep getting results. A competent trainer can guide you through this process and help you get the best looking body you’ve ever had.
Carla Torres is an AIF Master Trainer based in Rhodes, NSW. Her mission is to promote exercise, proper nutrition and healthy habits as a way to empower individuals to make decisions leading to better quality of life.