What Is ‘Toning’?

The term ‘Toning’ is thrown around a lot. Many people think that there’s some special style of training that is going to increase their ‘muscle tone’ without having to build muscle or lose body fat…

Sadly this is not the case, when we say muscle tone we are simply referring to our ability to see our muscles through our skin, this is the result of a healthy muscle to fat ratio & our muscles being in a state of partial contraction.

There are only 3 reasons why you may not be able to see your muscles through your skin:
1) They Are Too Small
2) They Are Covered In Too Much Fat
3) You Are Not Using The Muscles In Question Enough

If we take a moment to revisit our secondary school biology lessons we’ll remember that the structure of the body from out to in is as follows:Capture

1) Skin
2) Subcutaneous Fat (just below the skin)
3) Muscle
4) Bone

Therefore, if I wanted to increase the definition & visibility of my Abs..The first thing I would do is asses the volume of fat covering them, I would then consider how often I actually use them beyond normal daily tasks.

I could be training my abs hard 3 time a week and have solid slabs of muscle but if my body fat % is too high I won’t be able to see them very well if at all. On the other hand: my body fat % could be very low but I don’t engage my abs frequently enough and whilst I may be able to see them they are small, flat and lack any real shape.

The image below shows the difference that your body fat % makes to what we often perceive as ‘being toned’. (keep scrolling down)
– Identify what physique you would like based on body fat % examples
– Identify your current body fat % (Skin Fold Calipers)
– If you need to drop Fat set a goal & a plan
– Regularly work your muscles to elicit partial contraction
– Training your muscles regularly will help them grow and poke through your skin
– Ensure you have a sufficient rest-training pattern
– Ensure your diet reflects your goals
– Avoid ‘Bulking & Cutting’
– Be patient, it takes time to see changes in your physique
– if you’re lost, get help from a trainer

We hope that this help.

Happy Health,


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