How to Get Toned

Want a toned and lean body? Learn how.

Ben Greenfield
3-minute read
Episode #36

These days, lean is in. Looking like Brad Pitt in Fight Club or Demi Moore in GI Jan seems to be out. But being toned is always in. In this episode, you’ll learn what exactly a toned muscle is, the best exercise to get toned, and a step-by-step workout to get toned muscles.

What Is a Toned Muscle?

The word “toned” has a couple of definitions, but the one that most of us think of when we use the word typically implies a state of body leanness, a low body fat percentage, or noticeable muscle definition or shape. Cameron Diaz is considered toned, whereas a football linebacker would certainly be muscular, but not necessarily toned, or lean with a low body fat percentage.

How to Get Toned

The best way to get toned is with certain types of exercise. In order to have a toning effect, an exercise must accomplish two objectives:

  1. increase the size of muscle cells and

  2. decrease body fat percentage.

To increase the size of muscle cells and give you more tight and dense muscle fibers, an exercise must be what exercise scientists refer to as a “hypertrophy” exercise. That simply means that the exercise stimulates new muscle cells to grow.

To decrease body fat percentage, an exercise must either cause some type of hormonal response that puts your body into fat burning mode or burn up your storage fat calories, or both!


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own health provider. Please consult a licensed health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.