It’s time to eliminate the T-word from your gym going weight lifting vocabulary. What is the T-word? It’s a word often used to describe what women do at the gym . . .Tone. I often have conversations with men and women about working out, whether it is at work, in the gym, or in my personal life. People know I work out daily, push myself to achieve physical goals, have done a lot of research, and basically work to keep myself healthy and improving. In my conversations I hear this word a lot, mostly from women. I hear many different variations of “I don’t lift heavy because I don’t want to get bigger. I lift light weights so I can tone.” They may phrase it differently but the inaccuracies are the same. Let’s break this down.
First, it’s a rare woman who can become a competitive bodybuilder. To get that big she has to combine genetics, extensive long-term training, strict diet, and supplementation (legal or otherwise). The average woman cannot achieve that kind of muscle mass through strength training alone. You’re not going to wake up after a workout and be huge. Stop thinking that if you lift heavy you’re going to turn in to the incredible hulk. It’s not going to happen.
Second, lifting a tiny weight for a hundred reps is a waste of time and energy. It never really stresses the muscle enough to make them stronger. It is basically just fatiguing the muscle. There is no such thing as toning. You create muscle mass and strength gain and lose fat, that’s it. Those are your choices. There is no choice to tone. Most often what people mean by tone is to see the muscles, so they aren’t hidden. This goes again to building muscle mass and losing body fat.
The idea that if you lift heavy you’ll get huge and if you lift light you’ll just tone is a physiological impossibility. Muscles only know how to grow one way and just how big they get depends on genetics and gender. Stop wasting your time lifting weights for a ton of reps. Instead, increase the weight you lift and do fewer reps. I guarantee you will see the results you’re looking for.