The Myth of Toning

Of all the fitness jargon that’s used on a daily basis, there’s one word I absolutely CANNOT stand.  Nope, it’s not “Crossfit,” nor is it “cardio.”  Today, I’ve got my crosshairs on the word “toned.”

Getting toned is a myth.  Plain and simple. In fact, the best way to break down this word is to look at what it actually means: building muscle and losing fat.

 Now THAT'S a six pack..

Now THAT'S a six pack..

Let’s begin by looking at the latter part of that equation, that is, losing fat.  I think we can all agree that you can build a pretty good set of muscles, but they won’t be seen if you have layers of fat on top of them.  In fact, Mike Boyle has a great quote where he talks about suggesting the “push away” diet for all those people who want six pack abzzzz.  It’s a pretty simply concept - see that food you’re about to consume? Now push it away.

The problems lie when people believe they’re eating correctly, when they could be doing a better job.  There’s a reason why my dietary advice to people is simple and straightforward – if man made it, don’t eat it.  And if the product is making health claims?  Don’t buy it.

The other component to getting “toned” is building muscle, and unfortunately, there tends to be some irrational fear that even sniffing a weight will automatically transform some people into Arnold Schwarzenegger.  In fact, I find that there’s a peculiar irony when the same person tells me they want to “get toned” but don’t want to necessarily build muscle.

But, that’s simply what “getting toned” is all about!  As I see it, what people mean when they talk about toning is muscle definition.  How does one get better definition?  Through actually putting on muscle!  It’s science.

You can absolutely disagree with what I’ve written above, but, the proof is in the pudding.  If you’d like to get “toned,” look at your current routine and ask yourself if what you’re doing is working.  If it is, that’s terrific.  But if not, maybe it’s time to try something different, and switch your focus to getting a lot stronger.