The Myth of Toning

Ever since i have been a personal trainer i have had to deal with a very common fitness goal that relates to people’s muscle. It is said by both male and female but most of the time females. This word continues to headline articles for all the popular fitness magazines, marketing on protein shakes and celebrities continue to use it with their own fitness journeys. Have you guessed what it is yet???

TONING! This is a confusing word that is associated with some very large misconceptions about the way muscle responds to exercise. Tone is associated with muscles that appear attractively fit, healthy and defined without being too bulky. But how do we look like that? If i said the solution was weight training and any form of it some females would run from me. The common misconception is that weight training or heavy weight training will bulk women up. I mean let’s think about it for one sec. Can we really “tone” our muscles to look a certain way? I mean can i honestly “tone” my arm to show definition and shape through using 1.5kg pink dumbbells and running on a treadmill all night and this will burn fat and show a nice defined and “toned” muscle? In reality the only thing we can do is either Lose body fat to reveal more muscle (which in most situations isn’t the case) or build and HYPERTROPHY the muscle to grow bigger. I know a lot of females would run from me saying that last part but it is the truth. But ladies please understand two simple facts.

1.)   Women have 15-20% LESS testosterone than males, which is the main anabolic hormone for bulk muscle[i]

2.)   Bulking up is very diet/nutrition dependant whereby the individual would need to be taking in a very large amount of calories to fuel growth


So for all the ladies out there if youre interested in assessing your current workout routine feel free to book in with a trainer and have them write you a program for the main gym.