What ‘Toning’ Truly Means – What to Know

man doing pull ups

You are probably familiar with the word ‘toning.’ Perhaps you have heard it from your friend who is ‘toning’ their arms or abs. But what does this mean? For many people, “toned” means having a hard and tight stomach and ripped biceps, but the truth is, toning is so much more than having an incredible physique. In fact, “tone” simply refers to the muscles’ ability to contract reflexively. It’s just that the word “tone” has changed in meaning when used in the world of fitness. 

In this post, The Skinny will shed the spotlight on what ‘toning’ really means and then why you should work on having a toned body:

What Does Getting Toned Muscles Mean

Toned muscles are slightly contracted even at rest. It means that compared to fat, toned muscles still look firm even if they’re not in use. They remain defined, so they can never be doubted as fat. Aside from making you look fit, toned muscles are also healthy and prepared to do anything. 

How Can You Have a Toned Look?

In general, you need to achieve a low body-fat percentage. No matter how big your muscles are, the extra fat that you’re carrying will keep the muscles from being seen. As you can probably tell, the less fat you have, the more toned you’ll look. 

So, let’s say that to have a toned look, you need to lose fat and firm the muscles to achieve an athletic look. You can accomplish this by incorporating some strength training exercises into your regular routine. The goal is to be able to lift heavier weights even with fewer repetitions but with shorter rest periods as well. 

Benefits of Toning Your Body

It Helps Increase Your Stamina

When you work on toning your muscles, you also reduce your body fat and generally lose weight. As you know, this can help improve your overall health and also increase your stamina at the same time so you can do more physical activities for much longer. 

It Decreases the Risk of Diseases

When you tone the muscles and improve your health, your risk of developing diseases like diabetes and heart disease is significantly reduced. 

It Improves Your Posture

Performing exercises for toning muscles around the abdomen and the arms can help improve one’s posture. It can strengthen the muscles and even minimize the risk of getting osteoporosis while at the same time relieving stress from the spinal cord. 

It Elevates the Mood

When you join classes or perform toning exercises, it doesn’t only improve your physical health but your mental health as well. When you are active, your mood improves as your stress levels go down. 

It Improves Your Quality of Life

When you work out and tone your muscles, you’ll notice how it improves your quality of life. It’s a domino effect – you get a healthier and fitter body, you have energy for more activities and adventures, your mind has more clarity, you’re happier, and you have more confidence. Note that this applies to all types of physical activity and not just for toning exercises. 


Hopefully, this post from The Skinny has shed some light on what toning is about, especially the benefits that it brings to the table. As you can see, it goes beyond what it does to your physique – your overall health is improved by doing exercises that can also tone your muscles. 

For more fitness tips, check out our other posts on The Skinny or subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest fitness and health news! 

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