That toning myth – Jamaica Observer

Posted: September 29, 2019 at 6:45 am

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TONING is not real.

It is believed to be a process of exercise, which will result in a toned body a fit-looking body that is not excessively muscular.

This process is supposedly brought about by exercising the muscles, including those in trouble areas, with the expressed goal of not making them bigger but tighter and firmer.

This concept is a physiological impossibility. The idea that muscle will become tight and less jiggly is not how muscles develop.

Muscles will not become firmer in your day-to-day life because of a few exercises. The development of muscles have a few variances, which are perceivable:

Bigger or smaller through hypertrophy (growth) or hypotrophy (shrinkage);

Stronger or weaker;

More conditioned (accommodate for shorter recovery time, greater endurance ability and speed) or less conditioned;

More effective stretching or shortening.

Toning was born out of the fear expressed by women, that although they didn't want to have unwanted jiggling, they did not want to become muscular and manly-looking, or lift heavy weights either.

Gym owners, exercise instructors, trainers, and coaches assured these women that they could tighten their muscles without making them bulky, by using lighter weights, body weight, bands with light to medium resistance, higher repetitions, and at times incorporating more movement, perhaps aerobic or dance.

The facts

Flexed muscle is firm. Relaxed muscle, being mostly water, is jiggly. Fat is jiggly, tight skin is tight, and stretched out or weakly elastic skin is loose. Finally, bone is rigid.

So ultimately it comes down to what you are made of between your bones and skin and the elasticity of your skin.

If you have little body fat:

And have never stretched out your skin, your body will appear tight (non-jiggly, toned), even if you have very little muscle;

And large muscles and your skin is tight, you will appear tight;

But have stretched skin and little muscle, you will appear jiggly and loose.

If you have excess body fat and have damaged the connection between your skin and your muscle's fascia (the sheet of connective tissue which acts like a glue between skin and muscle) then:

If your skin is still elastic and tight, you may not appear jiggly;

If your muscles are smaller, you may appear more jiggly;

If your muscles are larger, you will appear less loose and jiggly.

If you are losing fat, lessening the fat under the skin:

Less muscle will naturally mean less utilised volume between the skin and more, resulting in a loose jiggly appearance;

Increased muscle will be needed to occupy as much of that space left from the loss of fat to avoid a loose jiggly appearance and feel.

Take-away message

a. Little muscle, little body fat but stretched skin, you will appear jiggly and loose.

b. Excess fat, less muscle, you will appear more jiggly.

c. Larger muscles, less jiggly (this is why tummy tucks are often the only solution for the waist. Often, a lot of fat is lost, but the muscles of the waist do not grow and occupy a much greater relative volume.

When losing fat, increased muscle will be needed to occupy as much of that space left to avoid a loose jiggly appearance and feel.

More facts

The only solutions to avoid jigglyness are:

1. Tighter skin, which only youth, genetics and surgery can significantly provide. Do not waste time and money believing that products will help.

2. More subcutaneous fat: Worst solution ever fated to be a long-term disaster.

3. More muscle: A solution filled with a world of benefits.

There is only one effective way to significantly increase muscle and this is through progressive resistance training. You have to activate the muscle under tension, resulting in (perfectly natural) microscopic tears, which will heal with nutrition and rest, resulting in muscle hypertrophy (growth).

It is proven that this is most effectively attained with resistance, which the individual will consider heavy. So heavy, in fact, that instead of dancing or hopping around with the weight, they may only be able to accomplish three to 10, perhaps 12 repetitions, essentially training like a body-builder, as, of course, that is what is needed for muscle building.

Do not fear, if your goal is to avoid a manly, bulky appearance, rest easy. That appearance takes more time and dedication than you can likely find, and often still, only with the use of anabolic steroids.

If you are a female, you can rest even easier, that bulky look requires a level of testosterone that the very great majority of women can never have.

So, as hard as you try, at best you will simply look the way one should athletic, healthy and fit.

Fitz-George Rattray is the director of Intekai Academy, which is focused on helping people live a healthy lifestyle through nutrition and weight management. If you are interested in losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle, give them a call at 876-863-5923, or visit their website at

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That toning myth - Jamaica Observer

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