Archive for January 2014

i don’t like the tone of your voice! (or your muscles. especially your muscles)   Leave a comment

new year! 

i decided to put a little info out there that i have amassed in my last 18 years of working out. (the last 8 years i have also been a personal trainer)

so, this is my opinion, and it is based on countless conversations and encounters with people and fitness marketing.


that stupid word infuriates me. it is a word that i first encountered in fitness marketing. products will tone you. what does that mean?

the thing is… usually the word tone  is associated with products that do not build any real amount of muscle, and neither does the product cause any loss in body fat. so what does the product do? well it tones you.    


so, people come to me and they tell me that they want to lose weight and tone their __________. (pick a body part. usually thighs, arms, belly)

through many conversations consisting of me prying for detailed info i find that what they mean is they do not want to jiggle, and they want to see some muscle.

fat jiggles. muscle does not. bones do not. on some rare occasions skin may. these people grasp the problem area and squeeze a sizable amount of jiggly material to emphasize and illustrate their point.

 so what they are asking me to do (when they say tone) is to reduce their body fat and make sure there is muscle there to see. 

here is the nugget. the gold. the steak on the plate… all people want to have less body fat. a “toned” person is a person with little body fat and some muscle. most people do not want large, veiny musculature. they want to look trim. lean.

fitness products sold in tv infomercials usually do not do that. you want a lot of muscle? you have to lift weights. heavy weights.

you want some muscle? you have to lift weights. heavy weights.

you want just a little muscle? if you do not have it already, you have to lift weights. heavy weights.

the word “heavy” that i am using here is relative. it refers to weights that you can not already lift.


i mean… you need to start doing something that your body cannot already do. your body is already shaped and able to do what you do now. you don’t want that. you want a body that is shaped to do bigger and harder things. why would your body change and adapt to your training regimen if it is already capable of doing it.

first piece of advice- learn the difference between the word Can’t, and the word Won’t.

hint: can’t is usually a lie. I get can’t all the time from people.

to have a toned body you need to get lean and have some muscle. 

toning is still lifting weights and eating right. there is no middle area called toning. 

exercise is not lifting heavy on one end of the spectrum and toning on the other end. it is all the same. 

all great bodies are hard work. you don’t want to work hard? that is fine. but it isn’t some process called toning.


Posted January 4, 2014 by john b in Uncategorized