Tips and Tricks

We have years of experience in building better bodies. With our Tips & Tricks articles we aim to share the benefits of our experience with you.


Article date: | Author: Mark Bone |

Whether you are wanting to lose body fat and “Tone Up” or you are wanting to generally build some extra muscle to improve your body “shape, image and confidence”. Phoenix Gym has Norwich’s largest range of resistance and functional training equipment in Norwich, as well as a friendly, relaxed and welcoming atmosphere, to provide the best motivation and results possible.

Building a better body shape, can be more about symmetry than size

Toning means different things to different people and can depend on your starting position. If you already have a frame with a decent amount of muscle and just have an excessive layer of fat over the top, then losing fat, whilst maintaining muscle may be the best strategy for you. This way you can then see the shape and “tone” of the muscle underneath as you lower body fat.

On the other hand, If you have a low muscle mass and low body fat also, especially in the areas that you want the toned look, then you will want to focus on getting some muscle on you, through resistance training and possibly even increasing your body fat slightly. Just increasing body fat can make you feel what we call in the industry “skinny fat”, so the priority here is adding muscle.

Now it’s not just about getting bigger muscles, it’s about getting bigger muscles in the right places. The legendary Arnold Schwarzennegger was not the biggest man on the stage, but he always looked the best and he would beat the bigger guys. The same goes for Bikini athletes!

The classic Arnold shape is called “the adonis factor” which relates to the size of the shoulder in relation to the waist. Studies show that “statistically” women are attracted to certain ratio’s unconsciously. The same typically goes for men and the hour glass shape for ladies. This is why these are goal posts in competitions. 

In reality, we don’t all want to look like fitness models, or have to put in all the work and sacrifice to maintain it. We typically want to just feel better about ourselves, be healthy, maintain mobility, have good energy levels and feel generally good.

Genetics and height have a huge part to play in your overall symmetry, as well as your body type. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so it’s about fine tuning and choosing the right exercises to focus on for you, when you lose weight and or build muscle.

After all, if you are 5 foot 5 with shorter arms and legs, then you will actually build muscle easier and shape up very differently than if you are 6 foot 4 inches. Taller people can find it harder to build muscle because their muscles are longer.

As a result of all of these factors, your training will need to be focused differently. Our personal trainers can help by designing a programme around your goals, body type and posture.

You will often find that the exercises that are right for you initially, will change over time, so working with a trainer to set and achieve, then revise new goals, will make a huge difference to your results and “overall symmetry”.

Building Muscle to be Healthier 

So, as we can see, building muscle isn’t just for bodybuilders. Your health can in part be measured by your body composition, which includes how much muscle that you have. 

Maintaining a healthy muscle mass by exercising regularly with strength training has been shown in numerous studies, to keep your bones healthier and more resilient to injuries, your metabolism faster, your hormones and energy levels more balanced and positive, a happier mental and emotional state and general balance is stronger, preventing falls and better able to play sports with your kids more enthusiastically.

You find doing every day physical activities just easier and more manageable.

Being physically fitter and stronger, means that you are able to burn more energy during workouts also, so is a great way to maintain your bodyweight and enjoy a few treats as a result. Think – more energy burnt per minute by having more muscle, then burning more energy after the workout also for free. You even burn more calories whilst resting and sleeping!!

All of these things improve your mental attitude and sense of wellbeing also, so having more body confidence can give you more psychological confidence. 


All new DD and annual memberships provide 2 x FREE 60 minute personal training sessions, to help design a Phoenix specific tailored workout plan. Our trainers are nearly always on the gym floor, available to help you when needed and Phoenix is home to Norwich’s most experienced team of personal trainers.

If you want to improve your body shape and “tone up” then an exercise programme should be tailored to your height, shape and posture, taking into consideration your existing proportions, strengths, weaknesses and level of experience. 

Phoenix Gym has Norwich’s only FIT3D Body Scanner to assess your current body composition, body fat, muscle mass and body shape, posture and symmetry. Our personal trainers can use this detailed information to work with you on goal setting and monitoring progress results. This is also 100% accountability for motivation.

You can then build on your foundations and then work up strategically from there. Change takes time with resistance training, so you want to make sure that you are training the right exercises, body parts, volume and repetitions for your body type and goals.

At Phoenix Gym Norwich, we have experienced personal trainers that can help you really focus your training towards the body shape that you desire as well as give you honest feedback for realistic goal setting. Getting you mind set in the right direction is an essential first step. 

Mark Bone

About the author

Mark Bone is the Managing Director of Phoenix Gym Norwich and has been a Master level personal trainer and sports therapist since 1998. Mark has an extensive background and experience in all aspects of personal training and lifestyle coaching, from fat loss, general health improvement, motivation, strength and conditioning with professional athletes and currently specialises in corrective exercise.

Mark has written articles for magazines, assisted Channel 4 for a short weight loss series, done interviews for Norwich Radio (and most local and some national new outlets including the BBC) and taught weight loss programmes. Mark now uses his skills and experience to train Personal Trainers within Phoenix Gym to ensure that the trainers, clients and gym members all get the best results and most enjoyable experience possible.