2 min read

The Best Way to 'Tone Up'

“I just want to tone up.”

This is perhaps the most common answer to the question, ‘so why did you decide to join the gym and hire a trainer?’


The most ridiculous fitness device ever created?

Obviously, they didn’t try the ‘shake weight’ first…

The problem (numerous) with this statement, for most people, is that there is not really any way to define this as an outcome to training.

Very few people know what it means, even if they could define it. When I ask for further clarification, this is the answer I often get:

‘You know, I just want to be defined. I don’t want to look all muscly or anything. You know, look like my body is just fit and toned.’

Say what?

I want to set the record straight.

If you cannot define what it is that you want to accomplish, then you’ll probably never achieve it.

Write that Down. Trust me.

You should take the time and write down your own definition of what it is that you want to accomplish at the gym — ‘I just want to be healthy,’ is in the same vein, you need to define what ‘healthy’ actually means to you in detail.

Then take that definition and put it somewhere you can see it regularly.

Most companies release ‘specs’ with a product or service launch, and in much the same way, you need to give your desired look some ‘specs’.

I don’t think Apple could get away with releasing a product, ‘that does stuff.’

Step One: Define your objectives.

I know that ‘being toned’ is not what you really mean. Deep down, I think you know that ‘being toned’ is not what you really mean either.

To give some further insight, consider the following:

The word Tone really refers to the latin term Tonus.

Tonus is defined as:

~ the constant low-level activity and elastic tension of a body tissue, especially muscle 

Seriously. Well how the heck do you figure that one out? Well you don’t really, not without some specialized equipment that measures the electrical activity of the muscles – EMG.

So what is the best way to ‘tone’ that body?

First, figure out the details of the look you want. Then, formulate a flexible plan to get you there.

Do not just give yourself a vague term to describe what you want.

We are mostly visual creatures, which is why we often have such a hard time explaining what ‘tone’ means to us. Truthfully I think a picture is the best way to go as visual image of where you want to be later in your fitness journey but be realistic with yourself, not many people look like Jennifer Aniston except Jennifer Aniston.

If you’re more numbers oriented, and some of us are, use girth or preferably body fat % as your guideline (14-18% is outstanding for women, below 10% is outstanding for men). If you are a ‘go by feel’ kind of person, use your dress or pant size.

To be successful, you need to find detailed meaning in what you want to accomplish.

All the best in achieving your toned look.