Monday Bacon: Toned Ban

Inevitably, when someone hears about our Black Iron gym, they will say that they really don’t need to be stronger but they DO want to be toned. I then ask, ‘What does toned mean?’  They will then point to whatever area on their body that has extra skin or fat collected and say, ‘I just want to get rid of this.’ OHHHHHHHHH! You want to be stronger.


FoShizzle. Get on the Google and type in Toned, here’s what comes up for the number one definition: give greater strength or firmness to (the body or a part of it). Greater strength. Duh. Because the only way you’re going to get “toned” in the gym is to A) increase your muscle mass and 2. decrease your bodyfat. Will you do that on the treadmill? Well, no. Then you’re not addressing A, remember? Can you do that without changing a diet that has put you into a situation of being heavier than you’ve intended? Nope. Cuz 2 ain’t happening without changing your diet. Duh.

Bigg and I tried to come up with a scenario in our world (“our” being ‘Merika) where being strongest wouldn’t be an asset. No, we’re not talking strongest in the county, or even in your home gym. We’re talking strongest that YOU can and should be. If I ruled the world (and some days I get real close, just ask me) I would ban the word TONED. That word has caused more ‘Merikans to become skinny and weak than the Smith Press. True Story. It has given the perception to millions that if I just lose a little weight, I’ll become healthier. People, weaker is never healthier. Duh. What would people in globo gyms from seaboard to seaboard look like if the mantra was, I just want to be strong.” Think of it. Kind of like a reverse Orwellian gym society. Suddenly we have an overabundance of 80 year old’s lifting barbells at Planet Fitness and there would be NO lunk alarm. Ohhhhhh, to dream.

Talk about the 80 year old’s who are strong…Bigg and I also discussed various folks we know from all walks of our lives who have taken up the idea that strong doesn’t matter in life and how quickly that little lifestyle tidbit will bite them in the ass. We know some skinny-fat people who may need a cane before leaving their 40’s or at the very least early in their 50’s. Unacceptable. If I’m using a cane within the next 30 years it’s because I’ve had some catastrophic injury, not because I’ve just accepted to be weak. Fok.

Why does this bother me so bad? Why don’t I just let these people decline in record time right in front of me? Honestly, I dunno. Cuz I care I guess. Cuz it’s avoidable. Cuz all you need to do is start. But you need to get away from Toned. Toned is bullshit and has weakened not only your body, but your mind. Unacceptable, knock it off.


I work out. I’m getting toned too. The Wii Fit really works your body. When I get off, I’m dying.

Keke Palmer

(I had to Google who Keke Palmer is. She’s an actress. Who I guess is so incredibly weak and deconditioned that a video game destroys her. But hey, she’s “toned.”)

Training Log

About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
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2 Responses to Monday Bacon: Toned Ban

  1. Mike Pearce says:

    Great post! I’d like to pose this question: Can you please expound the benefits to actually being stronger? There aren’t many cases through the course of a day where average suburban man needs to lift much. I work at a computer. I occasionally have to lift 50# bags of mulch from Home Depot. Why be stronger?

    • tosabarbell says:

      This is the common misconception Mike. The “I only do ‘x’ so I don’t need to be strong. That thinking is too small. What does added strength do to your body as a whole on a daily basis? It is rare for a non-competitive person to have a need to display strength; rather; I will contend that being strong allows your body to work better as a whole system no matter what you’re doing. At one time, physical strength determined whether or not you survive. Well, now that you sit in front of a computer all day, you do not physical strength to survive. However, does that mean our bodies no longer work at optimum effectiveness while strongest just because we no longer need to display our strength? Of course not. The human body performs better (and longer barring crisis) at it’s strongest. You can fight off disease better when strong. You can recover better from crisis if given the opportunity (read: not dead) when strong. Here’s an example: I’ve known people who have had various surgeries say rotator cuff, torn tendons, scoped knee’s etc. Both in the general public and athletes. Guess who recovers more fully and faster? The strong athletes. That is observable. They are stronger and more willing to work harder at a quicker recovery because they understand that weakness is never better and must be fixed as soon as possible. I’ve known those in the general public who will accept a years recovery with “physical therapy” for the same surgery and continue to feel pain in something that should have been rehabbed within a few months. That’s the difference of strong and weak. You may believe you don’t need it today, but you’re wrong. (Not YOU, per say, but peeps.) Your body is wired to be strong. At one point in time, your life depended on it. Why do you believe that’s different now? Your body is STILL wired to be strong. Why ignore that basic need?

      Given any age and comparing apples to apples, the stronger human will excel over the weak. Do you know women who have started losing bone mass? Guess what helps that, barbell training. Do you know some middle aged folks who are already starting to lose balance here and there? Guess what helps that? Getting stronger. There is not one physical ailment (I can think of anyway) that is not handled better with increased strength. Increased strength staves off physical ailments. Win/win. Know anyone who is constantly fighting some kind of “cold/flu/allergy/sickness” and can never beat it? I know lots. Know what would help with that? Increased strength (and better nutrition.) There’s a reason the phrase “the strongest shall survive” is around. We’ll all go at some point. While I’m here, I’ll take strong. Strongest I can be, not in all the land. Heh.

      In a nutshell. Did I answer your question?

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