The idea of “toning your muscles” is one of the biggest lies to become firmly cemented in conventional wisdom. There is no such thing as “toning your muscles.” Sorry, it doesn’t exist. The concept that conventional wisdom calls “toning” is a combination of two very real things: gaining muscle mass and reducing excess body fat.

Conventional wisdom about “muscle tone” doesn’t reflect the reality of achieving it. Here’s the conventional wisdom: “If you use light weight at high reps then you will tone your muscles. This results in a trim, lean body that’s not too bulky and has good muscle definition.” Please keep in mind that the preceding quote was a load of crap. Bringing myself to type it was exceedingly difficult, so I hope you appreciate it……….You’re welcome.

Here’s the first half of the truth: Muscles are fixed at all ends by tendons and bone. They do not magically assume different shapes. Sets of 2-3 reps do not produce the shape of a teapot while 10-12 reps produce the shape of a lampshade. Muscles just don’t have that much artistic license. However, muscles do change shape: they grow in response to exercise. That’s the first half of the equation in achieving what most people want when they refer to muscle tone: larger muscles. That doesn’t have to mean “Conan the Barbarian large,” but if you’ll honestly analyze what you’re thinking about when the fallacy of muscle tone comes to mind, you’ll find that growing your muscles to some degree is certainly a part of it.

The good news is that conventional wisdom on toning has a tiny element of truth to it: High rep schemes with low weight do stimulate muscle growth. However, low rep schemes with heavier weight stimulate it much more. I’m not advocating one rep scheme at the expense of the other. My advice is a balanced program, hmmmm what program has both, hmmmmmm oh CrossFit does. But if you want larger muscles (part of the elusive muscle tone) then you can’t be hesitant to lift heavy. Conventional wisdom says lifting heavy is not part of “toning.” That’s probably because lifting heavy is tough and requires some motivation and determination. People like to find reasons not to do things that are difficult. . Training CrossFit on a regular basis whether you’re doing FB or scaling every working is hard and you’re doing something exceptional every time you walk in the door. So good for you!!!!

The second half of the truth: body fat is all that really determines how well your muscles can be seen. Grab a competitive bodybuilder, an elite CrossFitter, and an Abercrombie and Fitch model. They have vastly different exercise routines and physical capabilities, but chances are they’re all ripped. They all have low body fat percentages. While some form of physical exercise will undoubtedly make you leaner, the ABSOLUTE truth is that diet & nutrition is the dominant factor controlling your body fat. Abs are made in the kitchen—not on an Abmat, a GHD machine, and certainly not on some contraption with cables or some fun product you saw on a late night infomercial. Yes, I know that kind of sucks, but it’s true.

So how do you achieve the traditional notion of “muscle tone?” Simple: strength training and proper nutrition. A fitness program like CrossFit includes a mix of heavy lifting and lighter, high-rep exercises in functional movements. You will see that in almost every workout with the “Strength” portion we do and the “WOD” combinations. That translates to larger muscles. For proper nutrition I recommend eating high-quality foods that are minimally processed. Here is the reality with nutrition, everyone thinks they are doing it right but until you’re shown properly, you’re probably not. When I used to fight, I would have to drop 20-30 pounds a competition cycle and I thought I knew nutrition. Then as I became properly trained at it and I wish I could go back to my 20 something self to do that part over again. I would have had more muscle, more energy and hit my weight goals easier. If you’re interested in dialing in both your weight training, fitness training and very important your nutrition. CrossFit Mansfield, Jared and Jess, have a great nutrition program here to help educate you, coach you, guide you, motivate you and hold you accountable to meet your goals. Then after some time and discipline you will see the results you want much faster. You can’t do one without the other, you need to workout and have your nutrition dialed in.

So the things we learn from blowhards in the Globo gyms and Saturday afternoon infomercials are often incorrect. Such is the case with muscle tone. But the idea that most people are visualizing when they think “muscle tone” isn’t elusive at all. However, unlike conventional wisdom would indicate, hard work and dedication with nutrition are required to achieve it. If you really want muscle tone then toss conventional wisdom aside, put down the cupcakes in the office break room, talk to Jared or Jess about nutrition and pick up a free appt here