2 min read series: The truth about “Muscle tone”

Body tone

I often hear Personal trainers talking about lifting lighter weights with loads of reps to create muscle tone. PERSONAL TRAINERS!!! The people who you trust and pay to get you results! If a PT ever says this to you then politely get the fu*k out of paying them for sessions!

It is a common myth that light weights combined with loads of reps will create muscle tone and in some weird way it’s kind of believable. I guess that’s why the myth exists in the first place right.

Light weights with loads of reps DOES NOT create muscle tone. In fact ‘toning’ doesn’t even enter onto the spectrum of what lifting weights will do to your body in terms of adaptions yet I see SOOO many gurlz in the gym holding 2 kilo dumbbells doing bicep curls!!! ARGHHHHHH!!!


So what DOES create muscle tone?

Ultimately muscle tone, whether it’s your abs, arms, legs or back, comes from a combination of 2 things….

1) Presence of muscle
2) Having a low enough body fat % for that muscle to show through

It’s number 2 that’s the tricky part as body fat % is predominantly determined by your diet! We’re back to the old calories in vs calories out again. Generally speaking gurlz need to have a body fat % of around 12-14% for good tone and boyz need to be around 10%. Girls come to me all the time and question why they are not becoming more toned despite hitting the gym 3 times a week and lifting challenging weights…..Typical convo……

Me: “It’s your body fat %, It’s too high.”

Gurl: “Yeah but I go to the gym 5 times a week and I eat whole grain foods and loads of avocado and take BCAA’s”

Me: “You can go to the gym 20 times a week but if you’re eating more calories than your expending you ain’t guna lose weight and therefore you ain’t guna get more body tone”

The presence of muscle part is much easier. I mean everyone has muscle anyway to just live and move around etc. But hitting the gym 3 times a week a with a well structured resistance workout will ensure those muscles are present and giving us the toned look we are after (assuming your body fat % is on point that is)

So there you have it if you realllllly want muscle tone that much…Drop those ridiculous 1 kilo dumbbells, place proper tension on the muscle you are working and get serious with your nutrition 🙂

Written by Ollie
Head trainer at MMA Exposed