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“Can I Look Toned Without Looking Bulky?”

More than half the individuals i sit with somehow end up asking this question. This has a simple answer but not so easy solution; depending on where you are in your fitness journey, your choice of training, your habits outside of the gym, and how ready your mind is to commit to the education will determine the best chance of success.

Simple, Not Easy

What i hear when you say you want to be more “toned” is: I want my muscles to show a little but not too much. For this to be achieved, a few things have to happen. First, you must understand HOW you will build muscle via a nutrition and exercise plan. Second, understand that toned and Lean, or bulky; all require the same action: to build muscle and eat well. The difference is in the exercise method, food quality, and quantity. The more body fat drops around your muscles, the more you see its shape and sculpt, aka Tonality. Changing your body shape and composition is not easy. But you have to put in time and reps like anything you want to excel in.

Choice Of Exercise

Whether you choose to do light weights, moderate weights, heavy weights, body weight training, CrossFit, Powerlifting, Pilates, etc., research and science still apply the same laws to all. Depending on what you are doing, your body will adapt and yield a specific result. Try and stick to 1 method at a time or find a professional fitness coach to help you combine safe and effective procedures. Jumping to different exercises or techniques because they become challenging or you get bored is an easy way to lose track of the goal. Once you find the appropriate method, you must still follow a plan and stick to it.


Over the years, I’ve looked back at client notes and results and spotted one primary source of why some clients couldn’t fully achieve their goals: myself! That’s right; back then, i had not noticed that all i was trying to do was have the client fit into the workout plan instead of making sure the program fully fit the person. Although we did get some great results in many other areas, it wasn’t enough.

i had to teach my clients how to approach certain obstacles mentally. Spend time learning why specific exercises maybe weren’t worth the risk vs. reward or had no discernible effect on their goals. How skipping meals accumulated at the end of the week and weren’t allowing them to see the gain in muscle they worked so hard for. It was much more effective to teach someone why a particular exercise fits them better for their goal or why following that up with good rest and quality nutrition benefits them. When you understand your plan’s components, you build more purpose and intention toward your goal.

How To Start?

If you want to look more toned without being bulky, the simple answer is to educate yourself on what it takes to see yourself at the end of the finish line. The hard part is the work you and your coach will do together. Start by hiring someone whose passion and career are to help you do that.

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Written By Coach Jose

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