Time to Retire the Term “Toned”


If we told you that there was a pill that could add years to your life, make you able to better defend yourself against things that wish you harm, improve your vitality, appearance, and physical ability, while also enhancing your ability to burn and consume calories…would you take it?

Of course you fucking would.

So knowing and agreeing on that, why then do so many change their minds when that conversation turns from taking a pill to “building muscle?” Because all of those things that we just described to you? That’s what muscle brings to the physiological table. With science in indisputable agreement on this, it is so perplexing that many still deeply emotionally reject the addition of the healthiest tissue we can add to our bodies, instead wishing to be “toned” because they are afraid of getting “bulky.”


Answer: bullshit marketing

It can come in a few different insidious forms. It’s the social media influencer who promotes her body weight workout program she’s never once followed, when she instead lifts four times a week, because she wants to sell you her at-home “weights free” program. Bypassing the difficult journey of muscle building education for the easy dollar. It’s the studio that encourages you to toss on technology and chase calories because they know the euphoria of sweat is the greatest fitness drug in the world. Rather than encourage you to slow down and go heavier, they want that heart rate reading as high a possible so you feel great about your “splat points.” All subliminally and passively reinforcing the messaging that weights = bulk, and bulk = bad. Instead, “get toned.” Never mind that the traditional “toning” approach doesn’t work.

Folks…do you know what creates “tone?” It is the active addition of new muscle.

One pound of muscle occupies 82% less space than one pound of body fat – fat takes up 1.1 liters per pound while muscle requires just .9 liters per pound. Now pay attention here for a minute, because this is really, really important.

If you replace 5 pounds of fat with 5 pounds of muscle, you are getting “toned” by reducing 1 net liter of bulk.

If you really want to be “toned”, then you need to understand that process is one of actively pursuing the addition of muscle. Training it. Feeding it. Growing it. After all, the reduction of your body fat percentage is the direct proportion of your body’s muscle to fat composition, so by adding muscle and while reducing fat, you are in fact becoming “toned.” You know what doesn’t add muscle, thus doesn’t “tone”? 10 pound dumbbells and hopping all over the room for an hour.

Never ever let someone sell you that the way to your aesthetic is to make yourself unhealthier by fearing your body’s muscle. Nothing, NOTHING, is more important than it when it comes to your longevity in life. We urge those of you in this habit look to stop thinking about your fitness journey as one of becoming toned, and instead shift the paradigm to one of becoming strong.

Do that, and watch everything you wanted from going to the gym happen quickly and permanently.