Posted by Stephen Powers

Just like any other for-profit industry, it is inevitable that information and gimmicks are sold for financial gain.

In this series, we will be investigating some common health & fitness myths. We will discover how they came to be, what truths are held within (if any), and expose the outright falsehood of some.

Myth #1- “Toning a Muscle” – See our Nutritional Program Series Shape & Tone Here

For our first myth, we will be discussing the validity of “toning a muscle”.

To be fair, the term shape and tone is a common term used in the industry. It’s more of a descriptor for how a muscle would/should look. It would appear to be tighter and leaner with a defined shape that is ideal for summer vacation. Thus, “toning a muscle” has been deemed as slang for the description above.

So, to begin the toning process, you sign up for a Zumba class, Pilates, or pay the local corporate gym trainers to help you lift weights in the hopes that you can tone your muscles. You start to attend your classes, become regularly active, increase your strength and stamina, but still do not have that glorious beach-body by time your vacation rolls around – why?

What’s the issue? You were under the impression all of this time & money would result in a body of well-toned muscles. Shouldn’t all that hard work have given you exactly what you wanted? In short, not quite.

There are 2 factors in reaching the effects of this common term, “toning”. 
  1. Proper training & exercise –either to improve strength, stamina, or size.
  2. Correct energy balance and caloric intake with the right nutrient timing.


This is sometimes a hard pill to swallow, but the main reason you do not have a toned body, is simply because of excess body fat. To see true separation and hardness of your muscles, you must have a relatively low body fat percentage. [Men 12% or lower, and Women 18% or lower]

The American Council on Exercise considers the average man to have 25-31%, and women to have 20-24%, body fat. These numbers make it apparent as to why most people don’t see the body they wish to have (Body Fat Percentage, 2011).

As a comparison, professional fitness models during a photo shoot will be around 5-8% for men, and 10-12% for women. Achieving a photo shoot ready body is unrealistic for the general population (not to mention that it is not recommended for health reasons!)

With that out of the way, let’s re-inquire as to the possibility that exercising will “tone” your muscles. Does it? The honest answer is, it depends on your Nutrition Program! The key to looking tone is having the proper training program coupled with the right weight loss regimen for you – See our Sexy & Lean Guide

Remember this common phrase:

 “Abs aren’t made in the gym; they’re made in the kitchen!”

If you liked this article and want more explanation including some helpful steps to take on toning a muscle or quality sustainable weight loss, we have an extended tutorial to this article available below:

Shape & Tone