How to lose weight with Tonal. Plus, reasons you’re not.

If you have Tonal or are thinking of getting one. Here’s how you can lose weight with Tonal (or any other piece of equipment). Plus, a few reasons why you may not be losing weight even though you think you should be.

Can you lose weight with Tonal?

Yes, you can lose weight with Tonal. You can also not lose weight with Tonal.

You lose weight with Tonal the same way you lose weight with Peloton, kettlebells, or if you’re over 40. By creating a consistent calorie deficit over time. 

By doing this you can lose weight with any piece of equipment, style of exercise, or diet approach. Without this, you will not lose weight.

There are a number of ways you can create a consistent calorie deficit over time.

Restricting a macronutrient (protein, carbs, fats) or food group.

How diets work

This is not my favorite method but it’s worked well for a number of clients of mine.

Restricting a macronutrient is what we often call a “diet.”

  • The Keto diet restricts carbs.
  • A vegan diet restricts animal protein.
  • The Paleo diet restricts grains, legumes, and dairy.

Although not a macronutrient, alcohol is something many people restrict when trying to lose weight.

In the diet chart above you create a calorie deficit by restricting a particular food group. Thus, reducing your overall calorie intake. If you don’t replace those calories and it puts you in a calorie deficit you may lose weight. 

Let’s say you eat on average 2,000 calories per day and you’re maintaining your weight. Within these calories, you eat the following carbohydrates every day.

  • Breakfast: 2 slices of toast (200 calories)
  • Lunch: 1 apple (80 calories)
  • Dinner: 1 cup of rice (200 calories)
  • Total calories: 480

If you restricted carbohydrates you would not be eating 480 calories. You are now eating 1,620 calories per day. This puts you in a calorie deficit and you may start losing weight. 

Skipping a meal or intermittent fasting (creating eating windows)

Intermittent fasting 16/8

If you currently eat breakfast, stop, and don’t replace the calories. You may lose weight provided you create a consistent calorie deficit over time.

Let’s say you eat on average 2,000 calories per day and you’re maintaining your weight. Your first meal of the day includes the following

  • Protein: 3 eggs (210 calories)
  • Carbs: 1 apple (80 calories)
  • Fat: Avocado (200 calories)
  • Total calories: 490 

By skipping this meal you’ve reduced your total calorie intake by 490 calories. You are now eating 1,610 calories per day. You’re in a calorie deficit and you may start losing weight.

Keep the same diet but eat less of it (reducing portions or simple swaps)

1% better

By eating less of what you currently eat at meals you can create a calorie deficit and may start losing weight.

Skipping snacks could be another way to eat less of what you currently do. The idea is to be 1% better. Simple swaps and adjustments can go a long way.

For example, let’s say you eat on average 2,000 calories per day and you’re maintaining your weight. Every day for lunch you grab a burger and fries from a favorite spot down the street.

  • Cheeseburger (with bun): 350 calories
  • Fries (medium): 340 calories
  • Diet Coke: 0 calories
  • Total calories: 690 

And let’s say you have 2 glasses of wine each night as well.

  • Wine: 240 calories
  • Total calories (plus lunch): 930

If you made the following 1% better swaps?

  • Hamburger (with bun): 250 calories
  • Fries (small): 220
  • Diet Coke: 0 calories
  • Total calories: 470 (-220 from your previous lunch)

Now those 2 glasses of wine turn into 1.

  • Wine: 120 calories
  • Total calories (plus lunch): 590

By making these small adjustments you’ve put yourself in a 340 calorie deficit. You may start losing weight.

Improve food quality (this usually leads to less calorie density)

Instead of a caramel macchiato and bagel with cream cheese, you now have water, apple, and scrambled eggs. Whole foods will usually be less calorie dense and more filling. Thus, helping to create a consistent calorie deficit over time.

Old meal:

  • Caramel macchiato (grande): 220 calories
  • Bagel with cream cheese: 400 calories
  • Total calories: 620

New meal:

  • Apple: 80 calories
  • Eggs(2): 140 calories
  • Spinach and onion: 50 calories
  • Water: 0 calories
  • Total calories: 270 calories

If you average 2,000 calories per day and are maintaining your weight you’ve now created a 350 calorie deficit and you may start losing weight.

There are a number of other ways you can create a calorie deficit.

There’s a good chance you’ll use a combination of some of these as a way to lose weight with or without Tonal.

Can you lose weight and get ripped with Tonal?

Yes, you can get ripped with Tonal. You can also not get ripped with Tonal. 

If you’re asking this question I’m going to assume you’re a guy in your 20’s or 30’s and want to see your abs. You get ripped by achieving low enough levels of body fat (probably 8% or below) and building enough muscle mass.

To lose body fat you need to create a consistent calorie deficit over time. You build muscle by resistance training with progressive overload. Because Tonal provides you with up to 200 pounds of resistance, you will be able to do this up to a point. Once you’re too strong for 200 pounds you’ll need to find other ways to create progressive overload. 

I outline a number of ways to create progressive overload in getting started with strength training guide.

Can you lose weight and get tone with Tonal?

The word is in the name so I would sure hope so. Otherwise, WTF. 

Yes, you can get tone with Tonal. You can also not get tone with Tonal. If you’re asking this question I’m going to assume you’re a woman that wants to lose a little body fat, build a little muscle, but not look ‘bulky.’

It’s going to be nearly impossible for you to look bulky. There is a crazy amount of work and eating that would need to go into that for a woman. However, I understand and respect that ‘bulky’ is a subjective term and it may mean different things for you than it does for someone else.

To get tone you need to lose fat by creating a consistent calorie deficit over time, and build muscle by resistance training with progressive overload. Tonal has up to 200 pounds of resistance that allows you to do this. Once you get stronger than that you will need to find other ways to create progressive overload. 

I outline a number of ways to create progressive overload in getting started with strength training guide.

Can you lose weight and get in shape with Tonal?

Yes, you can get in shape with Tonal. You can also not get in shape with Tonal.

To get in shape you need to adhere to a plan. If you can’t consistently move your body, eat well, and work on other things like sleep and stress management it’s going to be hard to get into shape.

This doesn’t mean that health and fitness always need to be your number one priority. Or that you have to always be operating at a 10 out of 10. That shit is impossible and ain’t nobody got time for that.

But it will involve you finding ways to adjust your health and fitness dial down and up based on what’s going on in your life. We already know life is going to challenge us from time to time.

  • vacations and special events that pop up
  • completely swamped at work
  • injuries
  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • depression

fitness dial

When you’ve got a lot going on it can feel like you can’t give a 100% to your fitness and nutrition, which can be frustrating. You might be thinking if I can’t give it 100% why even bother? Maybe you end up flipping the “fitness switch” off for a bit and when things settle down, you plan to flip it back on.

What’s cool about changing from a switch to a dial is that you get to keep momentum. Not only will you never have to start all over again with this approach. But you can also still work towards them instead of shutting it down.

More importantly, this teaches you how to get better at dealing with challenges rather than completely avoiding them.

There’s never a “perfect time” to pour our energy into our health and fitness. Sure, things may settle down a bit but that’s only until the next challenge presents itself – which we know will happen.

Today, create your health and fitness dial.

  • Step 1: Consider your exercise and nutrition
  • Step 2: Ask, “What’s the absolute MOST I could do?” That’s your 10.
  • Step 3: Ask, “What’s the absolute LEAST?” There’s your 1.
  • Step 4: Use 1 and 10 to fill in the other points on the dial.
  • Step 5: Refer to your dial when life gets busy (or slows down!).

Here’s an example if you need some help getting started. Please customize it based on your needs and lifestyle.

  • Dial 1: 10-minute walk a few times per week and 1 homemade meal a few times per week
  • Dial 5: Daily 10-minute walk and push-ups and squats most days. 1 home-cooked meal each day
  • Dial 10: Three 45-minute gym workouts per week, daily 45-minute walks, and 3 whole food meals per day with no snacks

From here you’d fill in the rest of the dials as you see fit.

Is Tonal enough weight for weight loss?

Yes. But Tonal isn’t designed for weight loss. It is designed for strength training.

Ashley Hennings, director of PR and influencer marketing for Tonal said that Tonal is specifically designed to bring strength training to people who might otherwise be too intimidated to try lifting in a traditional gym.

Tonal provides you with up to 200 pounds of resistance. For most beginner and intermediate trainees, this is plenty of weight to get started with strength training, getting stronger, and building muscle.

For weight loss, you’ll want to make sure you’re creating a consistent calorie deficit through a combination of nutrition and movement. 

What if I’m using Tonal and not losing weight?

If you’re not losing weight the odds are you’re not in a consistent calorie deficit, even if you think you are. This could be for a number of reasons.

You’re eating more than you think.

almond butter portions

I like to call this the “peanut butter effect.” Yes, almond butter is a perfectly healthy food to eat. It’s also extremely calorie-dense. Two tablespoons (30 grams) is roughly 200 calories and most of us don’t measure out 30 grams of almond butter.

Another great example is smoothies. It’s wonderful that you’re getting more fruits and veggies but often times the smoothies we’re making or ordering out are packed with more calories than we think. 

One way to improve this is by creating more calorie awareness. Spend a few days this week reading labels and looking at things like calories per serving. If you eat out see if the nutrition information is listed online. And if you really want to dial it in, get weird this week and try weighing and measuring your portions, and entering it into an app like Myfitnesspal. 

When you exercise you’re not burning as many calories as you think.

In a study conducted at Stanford University, different fitness trackers were assessed to check their accuracy for calories burned. The results showed that the most accurate device was still off by 27%. While the least accurate was off by 93%

These overestimations can lead to overeating. You now believe you’re burning X number of calories and have room to eat Y number of calories. 

You may be moving less throughout the day

There are 168 hours in a week. Let’s say you take a 60-minute Peloton class 3 to 5 days per week. That’s 3 to 5 hours of exercise per week. That leaves you with 163-165 hours of no exercise.

3-5 hours of exercise

Often when we work out hard we feel like we deserve more rest. Hell, often our body tells us it wants more rest. And the less we move the fewer NEAT calories we’ll burn. So you could be working out more but moving far less and not creating the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.

Here are a few other reasons you may not be losing weight when you think you should.

  • Work week dieting. Creating a calorie deficit during the week and eating more than you think over the weekends. Thus, balancing out your caloric intake.
  • Not accurately weighing and measuring foods if you are tracking calories in an app like Myfitnesspal
  • Underestimating portion sizes and calories if you are not tracking. 
  • Dining out often. Meals out tend to be higher in calories and include larger portions than we would make at home.
  • Assuming “clean eating” or “healthy eating” alone will lead to weight loss.
  • PCOS

I dive deeper into 7 reasons you may not be losing weight in the video below. 

How to lose weight with Tonal (or any other piece of fitness equipment)

Before wrapping up this article and reading the 3 steps below, spend some time asking yourself why you’ve struggled with weight loss in the past.

  • Was your diet too restrictive and hard to stick to?
  • Was your workout too extreme, leaving you burned out in a few weeks
  • Did you get overwhelmed and stressed out and hit the pause button
  • Was your support system weak and your environment not set up to help you succeed.

Your past experiences act as evidence. They can show you what you may need to do differently this time around.

Ask yourself, what do I NEED to be successful?

Step 1: Move your body in ways you enjoy

The foundation of your exercise should be built around moving your body in ways you enjoy. If you like walking, playing pickleball, yoga, or whatever else – do that. These things won’t take much motivation because you already enough doing them. 

If you need help moving your body more, grab the free meaningful movement guide.

Step 2: Create a consistent calorie deficit mostly through your diet

As mentioned early there are a number of ways to do this. Weighing food and tracking macros, using your hands to estimate portion sizes, and adjusting as you go. Eating the same things but less of it. Improving food quality and choosing less calorie-dense foods.

If you need help getting started, grab the free nutrition setup guide here.

Step 3: Resistance train

Without muscle, it’s hard to develop that lean and tone look. Tonal can help you do this. Muscle also improves the way you process food and helps keep you lifting more and burning more calories (1) (2) amongst many other things (3)(4)(5)

If you need help setting up a strength training routine grab the free strength training guide.

And there you have it. How to lose weight with Tonal. If you enjoyed this article you may like the others below.

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Photo credit: Cnet

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