One of my biggest peeves…when people (mostly women) tell me that they only want to “tone” and they “don’t want to build muscle.” I have news for you…toning is a misnomer. Muscles grow or muscles get smaller. You get fat, or you lose fat. It is as simple as that. “Toning” refers to building enough muscle and losing enough fat so you can ‘see’ definition or as many people refer to it as “tone.”
The problem is that most people that just want toning, following up that statement with something like, “I don’t want to build any muscle, I want to only tone.” You have to build muscle and lose necessary levels of fat to look toned or defined.
Even worse, in this scenario is that there are trainers marketing themselves as “toning experts” and training their clients for “toning” only. Are you kidding me?
These trainers have their clients doing extremely high repetition training routines, with very little weight…promising their clients that this will help them “tone up.” High reps will build your basic muscle endurance and for an untrained person, it may even yield some muscle gain…but is it not the answer for people that are looking to “tone.” Further, it is a great way to ensure overuse injuries, such as joint problems and muscle injuries. People get fooled because they “feel an intense burn” while performing 100s of reps. Feeling a burn has little to do with building muscle and losing fat. Rather, it is your body producing lactic acid and getting overly fatigued. While it may be true that you will burn calories with this kind of training, there are much better ways to do so, while not injuring yourself and actually adding some good, lean muscle.
People that have the idea that they want muscle tone, need to build muscle and lose fat. Simple. Lift heavy things, burn off unwanted and un-needed fat.
If a trainer tells you that, he or she can help you tone up and that you will not have to put on muscle to do so, find someone new and do it fast.
I have used muscle gaining programs that are marketed to football players and others trying to gain a lot of size on clients and amazingly, they all got “toned.” These programs are designed to pack on muscle for people that want to get ‘jacked’ and they work well. While following programs like this and a tweaking of the diet, most of my female clients got the “tone” they were looking for without bulking up like a man. The take home message is simple: If you want to tone, you need a program that will put muscle on to your frame. Next, lose the fat and you will look defined and toned. Don’t be afraid to put on muscle. If I can use a program that is proven to pack on slabs of muscle and still get that toned look with female clients, anyone can do the same with a program that is designed to put on muscle. Forget the “toning” programs and simply watch your diet and start lifting heavier weights, while saving your joints the unnecessary stress.