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Real Life Nutrition Questions Answered

Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Emma Brown

Janet Aylott

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant


Can I use pilates/yoga to tone instead of machines?

Hi, I'm not a huge fan of the weight machines in my gym and body pump didn't appeal much either I am only trying to tone up my muscles and wondered if yoga and pilates could be an alternative? Or am I just going to have to bite the bullet and use those machines? Thanks


Our expert says...


Resistance exercise is the main and most effective way to tone muscle tissue, however, weight machines are only one tiny option available to you within the category of strength training / weight training / resistance training.

Machines do not appeal to most generally as they aren’t amazing inspiring and to be fair become boring pretty quickly! The key is for you to get a structure to your resistance exercise and have a program that involves a variety of different methods to targetting muscles, i.e. bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, cables, swiss balls etc.

I am afraid that yoga and pilates is not an alternative for toning as only a small degree of muscle tone is achieved in comparison. The main benefit to such holistic exercise is mental and physical relaxation. If you were to reply on these classes I am certain you will be disappointed with the progress (lack of) with relation to your muscle tone.

Strength exercise is a fantastic way to train and only boring if you get stuck in a boredom cycle (easily achieved when sticking to just weight machines). Personally, I do little isolated cardiovascular exercise because I love strength training and incorporate my aerobic demand into my strength training with the help of super-setting (doing exercises back to back with no rest). I try and utilise as many different methods as possible, i.e. using cables, then  bodyweight, then a BOSU ball and so on.

What I strongly recommend so that you start 2009 in the best possible way, with a greater degree of motivation for achieving muscle tone, is to see a fitness professional. The majority of gyms have instructors who can provide programs as part of your membership (no extra charge). If however, you find you are uninspired by the program you are given then I would not hesitate in sorting yourself 2-3 sessions with a personal trainer to show you the best ways to train for motivation and successfully achieving muscle tone fast.

If it is worth doing, it is worth doing right, so don’t settle for boredom because it really doesnt have to be, you just need to find the right person to show you what needs to be adjusted from what you are already doing.

Hope this helps,


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