The terms people use to describe fit people always crack me up. They are pretty much interchangeable when talking to our friends, but really, they have pretty significant differences.
The perfect example would be “ripped vs. toned” bodies. Really, though, what’s the difference?
What Does It Really Mean To Be Ripped?
When it comes to being “ripped,” what are we trying to say?
Well, for starters, ripped is a more strength-based description. The muscular definition of a ripped individual comes from the person being strong and lifting weights enough to have muscles large enough to be seen.
It typically has a more masculine connotation, but that needs to stop. Anyone can be ripped as long as they are muscular enough, no matter their body type.
Ripped people usually have a harder muscle look, and the more ripped a person is, the grainier the muscle will look. You can see their individual muscle fibers clearly.
In order to make these muscles visible, though, you have to have a specific body fat percentage. Of course, the numbers aren’t going to be the same from person to person because of individual variance.
Regardless, here is a safe body fat percentage to be seen as “ripped”:
- Men: About 12-15% of body fat will allow some abs to show through
- Women: Anything below about 17-20% will let some ab musculature be seen
Keep in mind that men and women store fat differently and have different standards, but that isn’t hard-set either. For example, a woman with 12% body fat may look the same as a man with 12% — or they may also look leaner.
In other words, people present differently.
The key point to being ripped, though, is that you must have muscles. You would never call a skinny person ripped. Muscles are required to be ripped, and it typically implies an overall strength.
4 Being Ripped Pros
When it comes to being ripped, there are positives and negatives, just like everything. Here’s a look at the pros of being ripped:
1. Looking Good!
There are specific measurements you can hit, like those outlined in this study on what makes men attractive to women. But there is a variance in personal preference (i.e., some may prefer a bulky body type over a ripped one).
2. Improved Injury Recovery
You will also likely have better injury recovery and lower chances of becoming injured in the first place if you have good, strong muscles, as proved in this study.
3. Mental Toughness/Discipline
Getting ripped isn’t easy; therefore, a ripped individual will have to be able to create a plan and stick to it. If you don’t, then you wouldn’t have gotten ripped in the first place.
You also will simply be healthier by training to become ripped.
4. Living Life to the Max
To add to the idea of muscle importance, you will also be able to live a more enjoyable life. If you take care of yourself with your workouts and nutrition, then you will be able to do more fun things.
You can capitalize on things you probably couldn’t do otherwise. Like hiking, exploring new areas, doing fun adventures like water sports, or simply playing with your kids or nieces and nephews.
2 Being Ripped Cons
They’re difficult to find, but there are also cons to being ripped, like:
1. Difficult (Especially Getting Started)
It’s difficult to get started because you have to make sure you are good at planning. It can make your schedule a little messy at the beginning of the journey when you’re trying to figure it out.
2. Time Constraints
You may also miss out on some get-togethers because of your time constraints from training or crazy unhealthy foods because you know it’ll mess up your stomach.
But both of these can be overcome with proper planning. It just makes it more difficult.
… And What About Toned?
Here’s the sister of being ripped — being toned.
The biggest defining factor of toning is that it is less focused on strength and more on being functional or flexible.
I’m not saying a toned person won’t have muscle definition. But they will focus more on being flexible and functional in their movements than on being able to build larger muscles.
It’s also possible to attain both, but it’s difficult.
“Toned” is typically described as being built more in the kitchen. Though, you can still use the body fat percentage markers I previously mentioned in the article as your goal.
Being toned isn’t about doing workouts to get strong muscles but to continue feeling good.
Think of “toned” as being the body type of a yoga enthusiast versus a Crossfitter (who is always complaining about joint and muscle pains).
2 Being Toned Pros
One of the biggest pros of being toned is definitely the benefits of flexibility and feeling good. Typically, this body type is associated with good mental health and overall happiness.
They also pretty much always look good. Although, some people prefer different looks because looks are subjective.
1. Nutritional Health
Being toned is a great plus because it happens in the kitchen. So, healthy eating will lead to a healthy appearance and feeling good.
2. Flexibility and Strength Combined
Most often, it’s yoga-focused individuals that receive the title of “toned.” Dancers often earn the moniker as well.
These physical pursuits both require a lot of flexibility and strength to perform at a high level. So it’s not the same kind of strength as weight lifting because you’re moving your body weight rather than lifting free weights, but it’s still strength nonetheless.
So, to be toned, you will likely have both strength and flexibility, which is beneficial long-term because it’s extremely functional for everyday life.
Being flexible and strong makes you less likely to get hurt doing everyday things like picking up kids, doing the laundry, or turning your torso slightly differently.
It’s also a lot easier to maintain because you don’t have to focus on progressive overload in a specific movement that will often lead to soreness.
Eat healthily and do yoga a couple of times a week, and you’ll be toned.
2 Being Toned Cons
Now, here are some of the downsides of being toned:
1. Stagnation Is Easy
When it comes to being toned, it may seem easier to reach the goal, but it is much more difficult to improve once you get there.
Getting toned is great, but the problem lies in the maintenance. It’s easier to maintain, but it can feel a bit monotonous in the movements.
2. Constant Readjusting of Goals
It’s possible to adjust your goals after you attain your toned goal to continue proving. So instead of doing yoga for flexibility, you could focus on strength for a while, then move to more challenging bodyweight movements.
Ripped vs Toned Body Conclusion
When it comes down to it, the biggest difference between being ripped and toned is that ripped implies more strength, and toned implies more flexibility and functionality.
The terms are nearly interchangeable.
But ripped typically refers to people with large muscles and low body fat percentages. Meanwhile, toned people are typically flexible with lower body fat percentages.
These are broad definitions, and you can have a toned individual that lifts weights and ripped people that are super flexible. I just know that using those definitions will give you the correct mindset and general picture of the individual that typically fits that bill.