I think I've established fairly concretely the fact that your average human being is rocking an intellect that would embarrass a banana slug. Whether this is innate or learned is a matter for some debate, but the fact remains that the average human is woefully unprepared to embark upon a program of physical fitness, mainly because they have no fucking idea what they're doing, a set of concrete goals, an idea of how to accomplish their goals, or the willpower and intestinal fortitude necessary to complete a workout of any worth. As such, they're less prepared than the idiots who settled Jamestown, but instead of starving to death and dying from drinking brackish water, these idiots will eat their fucking faces off and then bellow loudly about the fact that they're genetically predisposed to resembling some sort of land-dwelling cetacean (interesting sidenote, whales actually descended from land-dwelling mammals and are closely related to ungulates like deer, hippos, and giraffes).
Michelle Levesque. I'm sure some lazy fatass has told her they don't want to get this lean.
These idiots will regularly blather on that they do not want to look like you, because you're too muscular/lean/awesome/etc, but they just want to get "toned". You can read into this anything you want- to me, it means they're lazy and expect that they lack the requisite willpower to reach a level of physical fitness commensurate with their actual goal, and will thus settle for some sort of ephemeral toning goal. After implicitly admitting their various character faults, they will ask you pointed questions about exercise, and as you all know, they will continue doing whatever dumbass shit it was that they were doing in the first place. At this point, you, like I, most likely want to toss them in the trunk of your car, drive them to the nearest crack den, drive around back, and chokeslam them into a pile of dirty AIDS needles and broken glass for wasting your time. Instead, however, try dropping the following bit of knowledge on them.
Would you count this as one or two in your bodycount?
When people are talking about toning, they're referring to myogenic tone, also known as tonus. This phenomenon's essentially a state of partial contraction of a muscle, and that includes both smooth and striated muscle(1)- you'll find a shitload of articles on Pubmed referring to the myogenic tone of the the vascular system, for instance. So basically, once you've achieved tonus, you're constantly flexing a bit, unconsciously. Tonic innervation, as it's called, is achieved in one of two ways- by improving neural efficiency and by stimulating fast twitch muscle fibers. You know how you do that? Of course you fucking do, as you read this blog, and I've done little more than beat you over the fucking head with it- you lift very heavy weights for low reps. To rehash a bit, however, the former head coach of the Bulgarian Olympic Weightlifting team, Ivan Abadjiev, stated that "Consistent training with high intensity loadings can increase the density of nerve impulse that can be generated by the central nervous system. Over time this allows the athlete to recruit a greater percentage of their higher threshold muscle fibres and hence significantly improve power output. Additionally, there is evidence that Type IIa muscle fibres can actually be converted to the more powerful Type IIb fibre type. Abadjiev states that these adaptations are best achieved when loadings are near maximal."(2) High reps, conversely, stimulate slow twitch muscle fibers (Type I). These fibers, being less dense than high twitch fibers, will engorge with blood, giving anyone with a preponderance of them a pumped look when they lift. They won't maintain that look, however, which is why you'll see guys like Triple H walking around on the street and think he's a biker who plays pickup basketball in his free time, whereas you'd see a powerlifter like Joe Ladnier looking almost exactly the same walking around the mall as he would in the gym.
Ladnier's the guy on the right.Given the fact that muscle tonus is best increase by lifting heavy weights, it would stand to reason that the idiot who's asking your advice would get their disgusting fatbody off the elliptical, because no, it's not going to help them "ease into the gym". It'll let them watch tv in a different locale and will justify that bowl of ice cream they're going to eat when they get home to celebrate the fact that they managed to get their fat ass into the gym in the first place. Therefore, in the form of a gentle reminder like a brick off the side of their head, remind these fucking idiots that their high rep, machine based workouts will have them looking almost the same as when they started, in addition to the fact that they'll be criminally weak, have odd strength deficits, and will still be a fat fuck because they went to the gym and sat down on a padded bench, which is nothing more than a change in locale from what they were doing to get fat in the first place.
Go heavy or go fucking kill yourself.1. http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultranet/BiologyPages/M/Muscles.html - "Even at rest, most of our skeletal muscles are in a state of partial contraction called tonus. Tonus is maintained by the activation of a few motor units at all times even in resting muscle. As one set of motor units relaxes, another set takes over."
2. Ivan Abadjiev + the Bulgarian Weightlifting System. http://weightliftingexchange.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=438&Itemid=60