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SLYSAM SparkPoints: (43,184)
Fitness Minutes: (110,991)
Posts: 1,474
5/5/14 3:09 P

I don't think it necessarily means much of anything and means different things depending who you are talking to. A lot of "toning" workouts are strength training (not all, many are more endurance). People tend to refer to getting "toned" as having a certain amount of muscle development (whatever they like) and low enough body fat so it shows without looking super defined or ripped. I think for most, it is more a reflection of how much body fat they carry. Not so lean that they look super defined or "ripped" but low enough that some of the muscle shows. People who use the term seem to be referring more to a look than anything else really. (Though they may not realize that is what they mean). I think fitness professionals likely just use it as a marketing term since it is what most people have as a goal.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,451
5/4/14 6:51 A


Just to clarify, a lot of the gains from strength training come from improved muscle quality, rather than increased muscle mass.


NOBLEEQUESTRIAN SparkPoints: (5,640)
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Posts: 247
5/4/14 1:29 A

Toning and strength training both mean the same thing. It means to put on muscle.

A lot of females have this unnecessary worry that they will bulk up if they "strength train" or "weight lift" so the fitness community starting using the term 'toning' to seem more feminine. In all reality girls generally do not have to worry about bulking up. Female weight lifters have to work really hard to put on that kind of muscle.

ZORBS13 SparkPoints: (196,522)
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Posts: 15,850
5/3/14 8:08 P

You either build muscle, or you do not. Toning is a word that the fitness industry aims towards women who are afraid to lift weights.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (198,384)
Fitness Minutes: (296,463)
Posts: 27,179
5/3/14 5:04 P


As Coach Jen noted, toning is a word the fitness industry uses to describe strength training to women.

A lot of women think that if they lift a heavy weight, they will get bulky or look like men. This is a misconception. Women do not pack on muscle the same way men do. We lack the necessary testosterone.

However, we both benefit from strength training. toning is just a word targeted towards women to ease their fears about strength training.

strength training = toning

it's all about adding lean muscle.

SPARK_COACH_JEN Posts: 65,747
5/3/14 4:37 P

"Toning" is really just a term the fitness industry uses in reference to muscle definition. Your best bet is to use weights that are challenging and fatigue your muscles in 1-3 sets, 8-12 repetitions per set. Don't worry about bulking up, as it is very difficult to gain a lot of muscle, especially if that's not what you're intending.

Light weights with high reps will help you build endurance, but that's not really the most effective way to strength train. You're better off using a weight that's challenging for you.

Hope that helps,

Coach Jen

RENNIHT Posts: 262
5/3/14 3:42 P

Hi All,
I am interested in including some strength training into my fitness regimen and continually find references to toning up, getting toned, toned vs bulky. I don't actually even know what toned means.

My best guess is that toning is when you use light weights and your muscles reach a limit to how large they can become but I really have no clue. Perhaps it's endurance vs strength? But what's happening physiologically?

Does anyone really know what this means?


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