Stronger & Toning

April 2, 2015 — Leave a comment

Stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat, deadlift or bench. It means being able to do more than you could before, but first…

Toning: 2 years ago I wrote about the S&C circle Jerk – not much has changed obviously industry wide – but how about you personally? Are you getting to understanding that as long as you embrace, and help people with what they want, and not what you want or think, that you will do so much better as a trainer? This article about “what does toning mean?” has a number of quotes about what “toning” means – and it’s clear that some of the trainers “get it”: for instance:

GEORGIE FEAR, RD
“Tone: Noun. Means ‘I want to see muscle here, but right now it’s soft and jiggly. I’m in the gym but probably should be working on my nutrition, huh?’

“’I just want to get toned.’ Translation: ‘I’m afraid of looking like a steroid monster. Please tell me you can help me get fit without waking up looking like the Hulk tomorrow.’

“’Tone’ is meaningless to the client, but the professional can translate it into what they’re really saying. But you have to ask. It’s like when you ask a woman what’s wrong and she says ‘nothing’ (pouty face). You have to do some asking to know what she actually means.”

I used to actually get sorta annoyed about the term toned…then I grew up and realized it’s just a descriptor for what they the client wants. (though I still hate the term lengthening – because it’s dumb).

Here is the man saying it so eloquently, from same blog by James Fell.

DICK TALENS
“Don’t fucking care what it means, but a strong negative reaction probably means you’re an elitist fitness pro who would rather communicate in PubMed citations than anything that real people can understand.”

^^say word son

CHANGING GEARS BACK TO STRONGER

Stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat, deadlift or bench. It means being able to do more than you could before.

I remember when I got caught up in chasing heavier lifts.

Now I’m smarter.

I’m not saying don’t chase heavier lifts – do what you wanna do. I’m saying there is a risk:reward relationship with chasing heavy ass weights. And as importantly, there is a point of diminishing returns on how heavy you lift. I think getting to your 80-90% max amount in a variety of lifts is so superior to 95-100% in a few-movement variability for the win.

The reward is usually pride. And if the reward is money – then you are a freak-beast-superhero of a lifter, and you are not reading this blog. For everyone else: athletes, normal people just trying to get laid by looking fitter, and others just trying to hold on to some shreds of athleticism (#washedup), there is a point where strong is strong enough and trying to get stronger, in a 1RM, probably is doing zero to help you out except perhaps feed your ego or fuel your pride.

Again – that’s fine. Have you goals, chase your numbers if you wanna.

The risk is injury. It’s not guaranteed, I’m not saying that. It’s just that risk of hurting oneself with 500lb > than with 300lb IMO

But stronger, and strength training does NOT mean a bigger 1rm in squat or deadlift. It means being able to do more than you could before.

This means that every individual has their own starting point. If you get wrecked by 3 sets of 8 bw squats, then strength training absolutely is pink dumbbells and trx straps. But soon that WON’T be strength training and you must progress in some way. Be it heavier, or more, or faster, or or or or or or or or or…

OR=anything that you want it to be: not just 1rm of squat/deadlift/bench. That’s for powerlifters. And wanna be power lifters, LOL.

OR may also mean stronger confidence, stronger determination, stronger attitude.

rambling rant: I thoroughly enjoy listening to younger (am i old now?) skinny, and frankly weak, power/oly lifting enthusiasts talk about their lifting, and how they don’t do bodybuilding type moves, or other fun things – and yet after a few years of Oly/Power-Lifting-mashed-up-training they have to answer the question of DYEL because they don’t look like they lift at all, and their numbers in the gym look like they’re wasting their time with whatever program they’re doing. It’s adorable.

These types, who walk around with small amounts of muscle mass, should read all of Greg Nuckols’s stuff about how important muscle mass is for being stronger. Then spend a year trying to put on muscle instead of trying to add another 10 lbs to your unimpressive maxes. The next year, they’d do better.

^^these are the loud mouth trainers, largely internet driven, who are popular blog writers’ dickriders trying to quote pubmed. Guys, just let Bret and Brad do that – they’re nailing it. How about you go train someone – and include yourself.

1 rm’s don’t matter. Like, at all, for 99.9% of people. Find a weakness, get it stronger, strong enough that is, and then move on to another weakness. It’s like building your video game character – constantly leveling up different attributes until you have a badass.

You know what will always matter: listening to the client. And some sort of stronger…I just bet it isn’t a 1rm.

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