Don’t… Say it…

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“I want to tone up.” GAH. I tolddd you not to say it. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s not the word itself that bothers me. It’s something else. It’s pretty common for me to hear that from people, specifically women, that are new to the gym scene and that’s okay. At first. I take it as part of my job as a trainer to not only put you through a workout but to educate you as to why you are doing these exercises. It’s important to me that you understand what muscle group each exercise is working and why I’m having you do it. I acknowledge that no client is going to be with me forever, so it’s crucial that you learn while you are with me. I can guarantee that you will not leave the first session with me, believing that lifting weights is a bad thing. I won’t let you. LOL.

Typically, “I want to tone up” is immediately followed by “but I don’t want to get bulky.” THAT, is what annoys the heck out of me. Somewhere along the line, this fear of looking manly has come about. Personally, I don’t understand it. To me, there’s nothing more badass and womanly than being strong as hell. I’m not a feminist by any means, in fact, I feel as if I should have lived in the 50’s so that I could have been a 50’s housewife. I would have been damn good at it. However, women aren’t supposed to be frail and weak. I don’t know where that idea came from. There is nothing wrong with building a little muscle. It actually offends me, and I’m not easily offended,  that you believe it’s that easy to build your body. It takes time (years and years, even), exceptional effort, focus and a million other things to build muscle that will make you even remotely bulky. It doesn’t happen overnight. Also, ladies, let’s be real, we can not naturally “look like a man” without a shot of a little something extra (if you know what I mean).

There are 2 things that muscles can do. They can shrink and they can grow. When you’re thinking of “toning”, (brace yourself)…you’re actually thinking of losing fat and building muscle. It’s not a fast process. You won’t wake up with massive shoulders. I wish that’s how it worked. In reality, the majority of women that are “afraid” of getting bulky are actually just afraid to put in work. Don’t get mad at me, you know it’s true. Weight lifting is hard, it’s okay to be nervous. The more often that I write the more goals I realize that I have. This week, my goal is to eradicate that damn word from the english language. When you finally get past that fear of what lifting will do to you, you’ll realize all of the benefits it offers. You’ll stop saying “toned” and begin saying “strong” and “fit”. You’ll put the 5 pound weights away and start moving up the rack. It is the most incredible feeling to watch all of your hard work pay off. When I started with free weights, like 4 years ago, I was using 5-10 pound dumbbells for presses (like any beginner). These days, I’m using 55’s. Do you know how awesome it feels when people tell me how crazy that is. Let me tell you, it’s pretty damn great. There are actually 2 members now that refer to me as, chin up girl. How cool is that?! Lifting light weights will not get you, ugh “toned” nearly as quick as heavier weight. Don’t be afraid of it. To put it simply, the more muscle you build, the higher your metabolism will get. When your metabolism is higher, you burn more fat, in turn making you look leaner and hence, “more toned”.

The point is, if you care about my well being even a little bit, you’ll start spreading the word that “toning” is not a thing. Put your effort and focus into lifting weight and losing fat. You’ll see much better results than you did with the 5 lb dumbbells. This is not a trick. This is not a ploy to make you look dumb. This is me trying to help you reach your goals. If you’ve been stagnant and not making any progress, give the heavy weights a chance. They need love too! Hearing about how awesome it will feel is nothing compared to how you will feel when you actually do it. Your body is capable of incredible things, give it the chance to show you. 

Until next time…

tone up

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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.

1 Comment

  1. Dave

    January 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    Another great post, you just inspired me to go heavier…

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