F & F: Tone
This is month in F & F we tackle one of the biggest misconceptions that I, personally, have come across in the fitness industry. Again, the people responsible for this major misconception are us trainers, we are the ones that are pushing the confusion that is going on. The way to beat this is simple education, educate the client, you, so we, the trainers, can have an easier time speaking to you guys during our sessions.
So, what is this misconception? Well it’s tone. I can’t even begin to count on how many times a female client, my male clients past and present are not interested in this terminology, have told me that they want to tone up this or that. Basically, what I get from that very general statement is I want to lose some more fat so my muscle can show better. When I explain to my female clients what I ‘heard’ they tell me “I don’t want to look like a guy!” I will explain this one a little later in this blog post. This month I am going to state 2 factual and 2 fictitious facts about toning, not because there aren’t a ton of facts and fiction about them but these are the 2 biggest ones out there.
Fact #1: Tone is muscular growth and a reduction of fat. Now I know the female population might be going out of their skin right now with that statement but bear with me for a second. As similar as men and women are there are distinct biomechanical, and biochemical differences between us that we cannot alter. On the biomechanical side men have a bigger upper body (broader shoulder span) whereas women have bigger lower body (wider pelvic gridle). On the biochemical side men produce more testosterone whereas women produce more estrogen. So, the statement above “I don’t want to look like a guy!” for a woman is impossible unless we alter you skeleton and chemically change you. So, grow that muscle nice big and strong and don’t worry if you are a female you won’t “bulk up”.
Fact #2: It is near impossible to maintain the tone for any long period of time. In reality, to keep the body fat percentage to show the muscle in near perfect order (2 -5% body fat) is impossible. The best way to maintain a good lifestyle the best place to be is anywhere between 8 – 15% body fat. At this range, you can still enjoy a night out with your friends or family and still look great at the end of the day. Bodybuilders, fitness models and the such get their body fat percentage down to 1 – 2% but they can only maintain this for at max 1 day any longer then you are going to have some serious health problems and you will need medical attention. So, don’t be fooled by the models in the magazines they took a long time to get there and they went through hell as well.
Fiction #1: Bulking and toning exercises are different and should be trained differently. If any of you guys have been reading these blogs, or have given me the pleasure in meeting you one on one you all know that that is complete hog wash. Muscle do not know the difference between a standing dumbbell curl or a concentration curl all it knows is turn on or turn off. It doesn’t care about if your standing, sitting, lying on your back, or front. It doesn’t care about how many reps you do (unless it’s too many than you are going to get hurt). So experiment with different types of exercise programs, play with periodization, HIIT, CrossFit, German Volume Training. Don’t be scared to play around with tried and tested workout programs that have given so many people fantastic results.
Fiction #2: Certain exercises build long, lean muscles. Uhhh, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but that statement is impossible. First, your muscles are permanently attached in the origin and insertion of its anatomical geography of your body. You cannot get them “longer” (unless you surgically cut them and attach them further apart, we are going to talk about this in a later blog post as well). And second, lean muscles are strong big muscles that can do any form of work that is requested of them. We have exhausted that point throughout this blog post and no specific exercise is going to give you lean muscle. Lean muscle is lean muscle fiber we all have them and the more we have the better the look.
Well I hope you all can see why I only used two facts and two fictions (I could have gone on but that for now is enough) there is just too much to get into. I really hope that has cleared up some more of the fog that is going on in this industry.