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The word “toned” is quite overrated and can be found generously strewn across almost all the pages of women’s fitness magazines. All advertisements for group fitness classes, miracle diets, or weight-loss equipment promise you toned, sexy arms, legs, and abs. And when you do see these advertisements, all you can think in your head is, “I wish my body was more toned.” Well, such a way of thinking has to stop. Women should not be afraid to use the words “muscular” or “strong” to describe their fitness goals. There is no reason why the word “toned” should take the place of “more muscles with lesser body fat.” You may think to yourself, it’s just a word after all and it does not have to be such a big deal, but the word toned supports stereotypes and conveys misinformation. It has to be replaced by words that are more accurate adjectives of women’s fitness. Here are a few reasons why the word “toned” should not be associated with women’s fitness anymore.
1. It’s One Of The Functions Your Muscles Perform
Though the word “toned” may seem like something you want your muscles to look like, it is actually a thing that your muscles do. Muscle tone, or tonus, is actually used to describe the continuous state of contraction of your muscles, which means your muscles are always in a slightly tensed state. So, the more toned your muscles are, the more contracted they are. This continuous contraction of your muscles is extremely important. When your muscles are toned, it helps you stay balanced and it helps you stay prepared for any action you may have to perform reactively. For example, if you happen to trip on the sidewalk, your muscles will tense up and keep you balanced and will prevent you from falling face first into the pavement. Tonus also keeps your muscles healthy and firm.
2. It Puts The Wrong Idea Of Women’s Fitness In Your Head
When you use the word “toned” instead of “muscular” it actually puts a limit on the fitness level a woman can achieve. Women are made to believe that if they lift 12-pound dumbbells instead of 8-pound ones, they will start bulking up and will start looking like a man. In reality, women do not have enough testosterone to build such types of muscles. A female body builder will take years building her physique and will require some hormonal aid. The word “toned” also dictates how a woman should look. A woman’s fitness goals should never be limited.
3. It’s A Marketing Gimmick
Women-focused exercise programs like Zumba, aerobics, pole dancing, or Pilates use the word “toned” quite a bit. They have become quite popular as they put it in your head that women should not do the same workouts that men do. Such programs focus on cardio and light weight lifting to help women “tone” down. These programs can be effective, but
weight training does help women get their desired body quicker and will help maintain it for a longer period of time without making them bulk up.
4. The Conventional Way Of Getting Toned Is Flawed
Many people who are new to fitness take help from their trainers or look for information online. The problem with this is that most of the articles found online tell women not to lift heavy and to avoid building muscle. The fact is, doing more reps with lighter weights is not going to give you better-looking muscular arms. The heavier you lift the better. This does not mean you start with 20-pound dumbbells. You can start with light weights and slowly make your way up to heavier ones.
Your fitness goals should not be influenced by the opinions of others around you. You should work out according to your capabilities and what makes you happy.