Why I Hate the Word "Tone"


I promise you’ve never heard me say this word in a fitness class or in any conversation about body composition: tone OR toning. And maybe a few of you may have even heard my spiel on why I really don’t like that word in person.

I have a super simple explanation as to why I don’t like it: the word “tone” or “toning” is totally misleading.

When people use the word “toned” they are typically referring to a particular look in which they can clearly see muscle definition and lack of excess body fat and consider it to be attractive and desirable, which makes absolute sense! Healthy levels of body fat is one of the best indicators of overall health. What doesn’t make sense is thinking that you can just miraculously get a “toned” look with exercise or diet alone.

Here’s the thing - if you want to see your muscles and have a good amount of muscle mass to show, then you absolutely have to start with your diet. You can build all the muscles in the world, but if you don’t shed the excess body fat, you’re never going to see them. The same goes for just focusing on diet. If you want to increase your amount of muscle, you have to incorporate weight training (bodyweight included) several times a week.

All of that leads me back to my problem with the word. By saying an exercise or activity is “toning” is misleading and false. There is no exercise in the world that can both increase your strength and muscle mass and instantly cause you to lose excess body fat. The same goes for dieting. There’s no food that will increase the size or strength of your muscles alone.


So now that you have the information, here’s the solution: if you want to have a lean and muscular look, then start with a balanced and healthy diet and incorporate weight training at least 3x a week into your routine. What’s a balanced and healthy diet? One that emphasizes whole, nutritious, foods and works for you. The details of that diet are going to be completely customized to your unique needs. Holler if you want help discovering what that looks like!

So there you have it. I have a mission to help others change their lives by changing their health and a huge part of that is clearing away the mixed messaged that have been designed to trick and confuse you. I feel like it is my responsibility to put the right information out there.

If you ever want to talk about any health, diet, or exercise related hot topic, drop me a line anytime!