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  1. #1
    Registered User Wolf200's Avatar
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    Do you tell clients you can't "tone" muscles?

    Or let them hear what they want to hear so as to not put them off hiring you?

    Simply curious.
    Discipline is remembering what you want.
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  2. #2
    Train with intensity! JustiNtense's Avatar
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    Why would you say that?

    When a client says "tone", they mean they want to lean up and increase muscular definition... When clients use that word, i will also use it with them just to be on same page as them and for them to know i understand what they want.
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  3. #3
    Registered User Wolf200's Avatar
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    Sorry, should've been more specific. I understand if someone wants to be "toned" but if they say they don't want to lift heavy weights / low reps / not diet to get lean because they would just rather "tone" their muscles.

    But yeah, I see what you're getting at.
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  4. #4
    husband, father, trainer KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Yes, of course I tell them the truth.
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  5. #5
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    Part of our job is to actually educate people, God forbid. I will explain to them what they mean and why it isn't really right to use that word. It helps that idiotic word not get perpetuated as well.
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  6. #6
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    I tell them about lifting heavy.
    They don't listen and go do their own thing.
    They come back 1-2 months later complaining nothing is working.
    Tell them to lift heavy again.
    They listen and actually lift heavy all the while still complaining about not wanting to get too big.
    See results and shut up.
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  7. #7
    It's Over 9000!!! rdferguson's Avatar
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    Before I answer your question, I'm going to tell a little story. Back when I was a teenager, I wanted to have toned muscles. As quickly as I became aware of the word "tone" being used in relation to muscles, I also became aware of the physiological concept that you can't "tone" your muscles, you can only make them bigger, smaller, stronger, weaker, etc. And as I was informed of this, I wanted to raise a huge objection. The objection had nothing to do with me doubting the source of the information, or the information itself. See, I was okay with the concept of building muscles and altering fat around them to create a certain aesthetic. But that's not properly grasping the purpose in which the word "tone" is being used here. "Tone" is a word with way too many meanings, but a whole lot of those meanings are experiencial. To be "toned" is something you can touch and feel as well as see. It's texture and shape. When people say they want "tone," they're saying that they want to look and physically feel a certain way...and this is a correct usage of the word tone. The problem in the language here is that they're talking about their muscles on an experiencial level, and when we say "you can't tone your muscles," we're talking on a biological level. We're using the same words but speaking a seperate language. We're correcting something which, frankly, I'm not sure warrants correcting.

    In saying that, we should certainly be informing people on what they need to do to create that experiencially toned physique. They need muscle mass and an appropriate amount of body fat, and they need to apply sound (or sound enough) training and nutritional principles to make that happen. If they believe things such as "low reps bulk and high reps tone," then the issue isn't that tone is the wrong word, the issue is that they don't know how to get there, and perhaps don't understand what factors contribute to being toned.

    It's not wrong to describe a physique as "lean," or "cut," or "bulky," or "pudgey," or "soft," or "shredded," or any of the other descriptions we might use, so I don't see the rationale behind blacklisting the word "toned" in this sense. People are just uneducated about how to achieve that description.
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  8. #8
    Registered User rhyscous's Avatar
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    If a client said they wanted to tone, i would politely explain that when people use the word "tone" they mean show more muscular definition and lower fat.
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  9. #9
    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    I translate to them what I believe they mean.

    More often than note I will tell them what tone of the muscle actually means and how SMR and strength training can affect it.
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  10. #10
    Banned NASMforlife's Avatar
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    The biggest myth I have to deal with are all the people who want to lose "belly fat" and think the only way to do it is to do a bunch of ab exercises.
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  11. #11
    Registered User DatTrolololsong's Avatar
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    I'm not a pt but I think most ppl confuse tone with definition. They think that their muscles are flat and workin out will give them shape. In reality they just have too much fat or not enough muscle to be visible. Correct me if I'm wrong but it feels like my muscles are harder and firmer at rest when I have been lifting regularly than when I'm in not. That would be the only "tone" difference IMO
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  12. #12
    Registered User PeteratCastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by RevolutionFF View Post
    I translate to them what I believe they mean.

    More often than note I will tell them what tone of the muscle actually means and how SMR and strength training can affect it.
    Yeah pretty much this. I don't mind people saying they want to tone up, really.
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  13. #13
    husband, father, trainer KyleAaron's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by rdferguson View Post
    It's not wrong to describe a physique as "lean," or "cut," or "bulky," or "pudgey," or "soft," or "shredded," or any of the other descriptions we might use, so I don't see the rationale behind blacklisting the word "toned" in this sense. People are just uneducated about how to achieve that description.
    I generally don't use those words, either. I go purely descriptive and comparative, "leaner", "fatter", "bigger" and "smaller."
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  14. #14
    Registered User jalundah's Avatar
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    If you expect your clients to adhere or even listen to what you're saying, you need to explain to them WHY "toning" is 90% about nutrition and why doing thousands of reps isn't doing anything for them.

    Simply saying there is no such thing as "toning" and just making them lift heavy with no education is most likely going to get them to drop you as a trainer.
    heavy squatter.
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  15. #15
    Registered User ericmackcarter's Avatar
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    While we're at it, can we retire the phrase "lean muscle"?
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  16. #16
    It's Over 9000!!! rdferguson's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ericmackcarter View Post
    While we're at it, can we retire the phrase "lean muscle"?
    I would be entirely for this. "Lean muscle" implies there's such a thing as unlean muscle. I only studied anatomy formally for two years, but I haven't found any of this unlean muscle yet.
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  17. #17
    Registered User PerFit's Avatar
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    I explain you can't change a shape of a muscle and that "toning" is the result of lower bodyt fat and increased muscle.
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  18. #18
    Registered User PeteratCastle's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ericmackcarter View Post
    While we're at it, can we retire the phrase "lean muscle"?
    I would give my right nut to have this happen. I mind the "lean muscle" a lot more than toning
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  19. #19
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    I have observed that many people have determination and passion to get fit but they lack knowledge on how to reach their goal.First, I explain my client what is meaning of fitness. It is very necessary for clients to know that they are being train by a right person. when i tell them that your muscles are already in shape and only thing you can do is to increase its size by weight training and simultaneously it will reduce your fat and then you can see a tone body.
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  20. #20
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    Originally Posted by Wolf200 View Post
    Or let them hear what they want to hear so as to not put them off hiring you?

    Simply curious.
    Nope. Let them be ignorant. I imagine you are in the United States judging from the lingo of "tone". Of course the word "toned" is improper from a scientific stand point, but if they think you can tone a muscle, then that means they are poorly educated about mostly everything else related to fitness too. You should let them hear what they want to hear and then teach them when they become your client. In other parts of the world it probably isn't that much of a big deal, but in the United States there isn't enough time or resources to do that and make money.
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  21. #21
    Registered User Wolf200's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Endevorforever View Post
    Nope. Let them be ignorant. I imagine you are in the United States judging from the lingo of "tone". Of course the word "toned" is improper from a scientific stand point, but if they think you can tone a muscle, then that means they are poorly educated about mostly everything else related to fitness too. You should let them hear what they want to hear and then teach them when they become your client. In other parts of the world it probably isn't that much of a big deal, but in the United States there isn't enough time or resources to do that and make money.
    Not in the United States, not even close. I think you'll find the word "tone" is used all round the world
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    Thumbs up Politely

    Very politely I tell them to stop whining and start pushing! No Pain No Gain! Then I explain them that if it does not challenge you, it does not change you. You want to do it the lazy way? it is like going to college and taking 6 years to graduate, you know you could have done it in 3 years, it was your choice to stretch it to 6 years to reach your goal.
    Peace out.
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  23. #23
    Registered User titusricard's Avatar
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    I say "It sounds like what you want is a body composition change, in which we burn fat and increase lean body mass. Does that sound right?". I always get a smile and a yes.
    Something clever and deep.

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  24. #24
    It's Over 9000!!! rdferguson's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by titusricard View Post
    I say "It sounds like what you want is a body composition change, in which we burn fat and increase lean body mass. Does that sound right?". I always get a smile and a yes.
    Good way to manage the situation.
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    Registered User RevolutionFF's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by PeteratCastle View Post
    I would give my right nut to have this happen. I mind the "lean muscle" a lot more than toning
    Haha. Lean muscle. I wish someone came to me asking to put on 'unlean' muscle.
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    Mycobacteria Man Kataz's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by titusricard View Post
    I say "It sounds like what you want is a body composition change, in which we burn fat and increase lean body mass. Does that sound right?". I always get a smile and a yes.
    Great way of putting it. Stealing this
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    Registered User OhhComplex's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NASMforlife View Post
    The biggest myth I have to deal with are all the people who want to lose "belly fat" and think the only way to do it is to do a bunch of ab exercises.
    One of my biggest pet peeves :@
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