T Nation

I Just Want To Tone!


Toning...is bull shit. After reading yet another thread somewhere about some beginner wanting to "tone" I fought back a heart attack a la the Superfans and decided I'd let all the beginners in on a little secret:

You can't "tone". When you say you want to "tone" what you really mean is that you want muscles that show and are not soft, without getting huge. The problem is, there is no one way of working out that makes your muscles hard and defined and another that makes them large, soft and formless. Being "toned" is simply a function of having muscles and being lean enough to show them. This rant also applies to "lean and lengthen" muscles, it's just a function of having muscle and being lean.

Gaining muscle is not easy, so when you say "I don't want to get too big" and do some limp dick wokout, you aren't accomplishing anything. Even if you don't want to gain 50 pounds of muscular weight, that doesn't make it any easier to gain the 5 you do want. You need to lift hard, using sensible exercises and rep ranges. Ladies, this means you can't exclusively do thigh adductor and glute machine for a million reps and guys, you don't need to be doing set after set of curls six inches from the mirror.

The kicker, I think, is that myogenic tone, the actual tonus of the muscle actually improves with heavy training and not with the sort of training people associate with "toning".


Bump... good info for the newbie!


Thank god! I thought it was another 15 year old metrosexual wannabie wanting advice, but prefacing with the: "i d0n7 w@nt 2 g3t hy00ge" tripe.


But with Bowflex, you can tone and shape your muscles ....and have a strong and sexy core......?


And have plenty of space to hang your clothes after you stop using the dust magnet....errr exercise equipment.


Damn, I was going to issue my first tubesteak boogie.


Bastard. I really wanted to flame someone when I saw that title.


Yeah, I'm very mysterious like that.


I got an even better one for you: "I just want to get cut." Similar idea - you need to be lean and have some muscle.

It really amazes me that people think it's so easy to gain muscle that they have to avoid lifting heavy. I tend to gain muscle relatively easily and even I need to work at it. At what happens if one of these guys does gain "too much" mass? Stop lifting for a month and run long distances. They'll be good as new.


Key point.

Dan "I was fully prepared with a TSB bomb" McVicker


That attitude always amazes me. I doubt seriously if they would make that much progress. Most of the gym goers I see look the same as when I joined. I've been going to my gym for the past 6 months, and I've been asked by 2 different trainers at my gym if I'm on anything. Just lots of protein, fish oil & creatine. Training=10x3 with core lifts and kettlebells thrown in for gpp.

Not meaning to hijack or blow my own horn, just shows that smart training and adequate nutrition=gains. Aimlessly hitting the gym as most do= mediocrity.


IP, that was really the point of my post. If you say "I just want to tone." and do some half assed workout because you "don't want to get too big" then you will make zero progress. You need to work out hard, is if you want to be the biggest, hardest strongest person in the gym. Then, when you make the amount of progress you want, you can scale it down a little bit.

The fat isn't going to disappear and the muscles aren't going to magically inflate without damn hard work.