Is there really such a thing as “toning” muscles?


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“Hey look, I came here to tone up, not to get like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1967 Mr. Universe pageant.”

This phrase represents the ignorance of many people regarding the issue of ‘toning’.

What is toning?

And why is this doubt found more in women than in men? For women who start going to the gym, the first thing they hope for is to achieve “a more toned and marked body” or “to tone a specific part of the body, such as the arms or legs.” Why? For the simple fact of thinking that by lifting dumbbells they will increase their muscles too much, because aesthetically they would end up looking bad (which is not totally true) and because they do not want to look like a professional bodybuilder.

I am in favor of seeing a woman train like a man, that is, intense and heavy (adjusting the workloads to her needs and abilities, obviously). It really is the most effective. She’s never going to get a big, muscular body naturally, so I think women should do it right too, and shouldn’t be fooled by an industry that benefits from these things. Yes, those industries that sell you “magic tips and tricks” to tone your body.

But beware, not only women confuse this term with getting a movie body. Some beginning men also believe that toning is the answer to their prayers. In general, people with some type of overweight or thin people who hope to firm and tighten their muscles, always have that happy word in mind. Yes, tone.

Toning is NOT a precise goal. You have to set a specific goal. We can set stages such as those of increasing muscle mass or stages of muscle definition and fat loss. But you will never get toned, because this word is associated with losing weight and modifying our muscle composition, that is, increasing muscle mass at the same time, something really impossible to achieve.

In addition, we also associate this term with the performance of multiple exercises with a weight below our possibilities and a large number of repetitions, mixed with many minutes of cardiovascular exercise. Clearly, this is not the best way to achieve our goal, whatever it is.

The main conclusion of this post is that you understand that toning is not an appropriate goal, and really, it cannot be treated as such. There is no special routine that allows us to “tone our body in a few days.” Achieving a specific goal can take between months and years, so do not be tempted to follow the easy path that can be sold.

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