Personal trainer Emmet Rushe examines the common fitness goal of looking 'toned' and looking good in skinny jeans.

Have you ever looked at a model on the cover of a magazine and thought, ‘I would love to look like that?’

Maybe you have taken the 4-week workout; you know the one that the magazine said the cover model did to achieve their body? You may have even pinned it to your fridge, have been doing it religiously, and still don’t look like the photo.

How about the latest ‘celebrity diet’ that all the rich and famous are doing? Maybe that is the secret to finally getting that ‘toned’ look?

Unfortunately, it isn’t and neither is the workout from the magazine.

Before you start to try and look like the person on the front of the magazine, you have to understand;

A) What it is you are after
B) What you have to do in order to get there.

So what exactly is being ‘toned’?

What you are looking for when you talk about wanting to be toned, is having lower levels of body fat and having visible muscle mass.

Don’t be worried about the muscle mass.  You won’t end up looking bulky or manly.

Thankfully this myth is starting to disperse and we are seeing more and more females starting to realise how resistance training can help them achieve their goals.

However, you have to be realistic with the time it will take you to achieve what you want and how you should go about it from the start, based on where you are physically, right now.

The reality is, that none of the models or celebrities actually do any of the workouts that the magazine posts up.  They are there simply to get us to spend our money.

Getting my casual lean on thanks to @gaiam and @kohls… more info in my bio! #Ad

A post shared by Jessica Biel (@jessicabiel) on

Most of these celebrities, male or female, have trainers who put them through fitness routines that are appropriate for their individual goals.

Every one of them who feature in a magazine or are on the cover, have been heavily photoshopped and retouched, so even the celebrity themselves, don’t look like that.

What you may need to do to get in better shape is based on a few things.

The chart below lays them out in a simple manner.

  • If you are overweight and have excess body fat to lose, you will need a combination of a structured diet, resistance training, cardio training and patience to help build muscle mass and burn fat.
  • If you are skinny and have very little shape, you should drop the cardio all together and focus on resistance training to build muscle and increase your calories in order to help feed the muscle and get the shape you want.
  • If you are slightly overweight but have a good shape and have some muscle mass, you need to start dieting down in order to reach your target weight, so you can see the progress already made.
    Diet and resistance training are the priority here, cardio should be used as necessary and not be made a priority.

A post shared by Jessica Alba (@jessicaalba) on

For females, the toned look is usually associated with people like Jessica Alba, Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz, Heidi Klum, Jillian Michaels, Miranda Kerr, Kaley Cuoco among others.

These celebrities will train daily, know exactly what they are eating and make sure that they rarely mess up, such are the joys of being in the media spotlight.

I’m willing to guess that the majority of you reading this may not have the luxury of having every day to dedicate to training and your nutrition may not be as regimented as the ladies listed above, and that’s ok.

What you might need to do, is decide if looking like one of these cover models, or celebrities is actually what you want.

The majority of my clientele is female, and from my experience, most women want to look good in their clothes, especially their jeans and that dress you really like.

You don’t need to train like one of these cover models in order to achieve that.

  • It doesn’t have to be every day.
  • You don’t have to eat with the discipline of a monk.
  • Your life doesn’t have to revolve around training and eating.

If you want to do those things, and you have the time to do it, that’s fine too.

For the majority of you, it doesn’t have to be that hard.

Training 3-4 times per week with an even mix of resistance training and cardio can get you great results.

The most important thing to remember is that being healthy always comes first, no matter what your goal is.

From there, you can take your body goals as far as you want. Just remember to have fun along the way.

Work with trainers if you need to, or bring a friend. Who knows where you could be in a year!

Maybe being toned and looking like a fitness model is for you. If it isn’t, remember that that is fine and having a less strict goal might be the right choice.

It could leave you feeling comfortable in your clothes and more importantly, in your own skin.

There are limited spaces left on my NEW Lean in 2018 program, where we show you how to fit into your skinny jeans the right way.

If you would like to join us in our LEAN IN 2018 program, the next one starts on Monday the  14th of May.

We had numerous members lose over 3 stone in 2017 and from the start of 2018 and they now know how to keep it off.

If you want to know how to make a real difference in 2018, have a look at our Letterkenny gym plan where you can train with us in our fully equipped and modern gym.