The goal for most people who start with weight training is to gain muscle and strength. If you train hard and eat the foods you need to eat, then you can gain muscle pretty fast. Another goal that many people have is building body definition. If you gain muscle mass, then chances are that you will also gain fat. There are plenty of big guys in gyms that don`t have any muscle definition because they have too much fat on their body. Having big muscles and being strong is great, but having incredible muscle definition is even better!
Interested in shocking your friends the next time you rip your shirt off on your next beach vacation? In this article I will suggest five foods to eliminate from your diet if you want to reveal the final product of extreme muscle definition – eye-popping six pack abs!
In just the past twelve months I have competed in four physique competitions and five photo shoots where I have achieved 4-8% body fat on each occasion so the advice I share is backed up by my personal experiences but these practices are not widely accepted within the fitness industry.
Aside from proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, one of the natural ways to lose weight is through regular exercise. One of the most common types of exercise for people who are trying to lose weight is aerobic exercises. But before you can engage in any type of aerobic exercise, it is good to understand first the definition of aerobic exercise, how to do aerobic exercises, and what the benefits are. Doing so will enable you to start your exercise program the right way.
You love lifting. You love the plain challenge and the simple rewards beating your previous best and feeling a great pump afterward. And maybe you hate cardio. Devoting gym time to cardiovascular exercise feels as if you're burning away hard-earned muscle. But you're not you're revealing it.
If gaining mass is all you focus on, soon no one will be able to distinguish your traps from your deltoids. For a lean and chiseled physique, you need cardio work. Relax no distance running involved.FIRST THINGS FIRST: CLEAN UP YOUR DIET
When you are “bulking”, you are advised to eat as much as you basically can. There are very few restrictions. If you get enough proteins, carbs, and healthy fats then you can eat whatever you want, however, if you want to maximize muscle definition, you have to clean up your diet. This means that you should only consume high quality, nutrient-dense foods. You need to stay away from junk food, ice cream, and fatty foods. By eliminating such foods you will consume much fewer calories and by doing so you will burn fat a lot faster.
INCREASE YOUR CARDIO
Cardio is a great way to burn excess calories. If the goal is fat loss then you definitely need to increase your cardio. It can be very hard to achieve the necessary calorie deficit without doing enough cardio exercise. You should do cardio workouts at least 4-5 times a week and do them with the proper intensity. It can be quite tough to increase cardio if you are on a strict diet, but that is how you maximize muscle definition. The less fat you have, the more defined your muscles will be. The goal should be to increase your cardio week-by-week. There is no need to start out with doing cardio for an hour a day 6-7 times a week. You can start increasing slowly and start off with 30 min of cardio 3-5 days a week.
INCREASE YOUR PROTEINS AND REDUCE CARBOHYDRATES
It’s important to decrease your carbohydrate intake and increase your protein intake to burn the last 10-15 pounds of fat. By increasing your protein intake, you are less likely to lose any valuable muscle mass and your metabolism will also become faster. By reducing your carbohydrate intake, your body is forced to use more body fat for fuel, however, when you do this, make sure that you don`t increase your calories or burn less calories in the gym. It’s not easy staying on a low-carb diet, so you might subconsciously eat more and move less. [Read More: How Much Protein Is Needed To Build Muscle]
TRAIN HARDER WITH WEIGHTS!
- If your goal is to maximize muscle definition, then you should also maximize your weight training workouts. You should be making sure that you don`t reduce your intensity in the gym. A lot of times people take longer rest periods between sets and don`t push themselves hard enough. But you really need to make sure that you give it a 100% during every workout. If you reduce the intensity, it can be very difficult to achieve the results your striving for. Keeping records of the weights you are using and the number of sets and reps you are doing is necessary because that will force you to push yourself harder each time you workout.
- Keep Exercise Sessions Short and SweetIntensity vs duration solves the Puzzle of Results
- Spend Less Time Working out by Exercising Smart
- Intensity and duration have an inverse relationship. In other words, the longer you work out, the less intense your workout is.
- Think about this the next time you are in the gym for 2 hours.
- Fat loss is all about keeping your metabolism elevated so your body is constantly burning calories around the clock.
- Short, high intensity exercise sessions have a high after burn. You will burn calories at an accelerated rate during the recovery process if you perform a short duration workout.
- During short duration, high intensity workouts you are also highly unlikely to catabolize (break down) your own muscle as opposed to longer duration workouts provided you are not starving yourself.
- Since high intensity workouts take more time to recovery you may want to mix in some longer duration, lower intensity workouts. Listen to your body and you will achieve your fat loss goals most efficiently.
- Have proper Post Workout Recovery Post Workout Recovery Purchase After Max
- You have a 30 Minute "Window of Opportunity" after Every Workout
- Many gym goers and even clients of personal trainers make the huge mistake of not "refueling" properly after weight training and cardiovascular workouts.
- After you workout your body is starving for nutrients specifically carbohydrates. In order to jumpstart your recovery and progress towards achieving your goals you must intake a good amount of carbohydrates and a little bit of protein directly after your workouts.
- Many people also make the mistake of only taking protein supplements after training which is also a big mistake.
- Carbohydrate not only spares the body proteins, but also helps create the blood sugar and insulin response which shuttles the protein to the micro-damaged muscles to begin the reparation process.
- The misconception exists that you burn fat during and after your workouts. A proper, easily digestible (liquid) carbohydrate and protein mixture is very important to take directly following weight training and cardio workouts for people with all fitness goals including fat loss, weight loss, toning, and strength training.
- Purchase After MAX Post Workout Recovery Supplement
- Perform Weight trainingOvertraining Syndrome can Burn Muscle
- The Primary Function of Weight Training is NOT Building Muscle
- Maintaining our lean body mass is the primary function of weight training.
- Even if your primary goal is to lose a large amount of weight, weight training is a great way to keep your fat burning metabolism high while you lose weight.
- Many people fear weight training makes it more difficult to lose weight and burn fat but this belief could not be further from the truth.
- Whether you gain or lose weight from weight training is entirely dependant upon diet. If you are on a fat loss program with a mixture of weight training and cardio and a low calorie, balanced diet weight training will help you lose weight and burn fat.
- It is very difficult for men and virtually impossible for women to gain "too much muscle" from weight training. A proper weight training program including exercises for all the major muscle groups through different movement planes and ranges of motion will do orders for the human body and especially for fat loss.
- Obtain a Sufficient amount of Protein in Your Diet Low Carb Diets
- Your Muscles are made up of Protein so Obviously you need it to Maintain your Muscle during Fat Loss Goals
- This is not to say that carbohydrates and essential fats are less important but protein is what makes up your muscles.
- Protein causes you to feel satiated after you consume each meal with a significant portion of protein. Dietary protein also costs your body more energy to break down burning some extra calories in the process.
- A common belief is protein builds muscles which is not entirely the case. With proper training as a stimulus, dietary protein can help you build muscle.
- During fat loss diets protein plays an important role in the maintenance of your lean body mass (muscle) which contributes to your metabolism.
- If you lower your caloric intake while you perform intense exercise, obtaining enough protein in your diet through lean meats, dairy products, vegetable sources and protein supplements can help you keep your muscle while your elevated metabolism does the job for fat loss.
- Don't Starve YourselfStarvation Slows down your Metabolism
- Not even the Most Sleek Sports Car can Function without Fuel
- Many people aiming for fat loss and weight loss goals attempt to lower the caloric intake drastically.
- While a drastic reduction in calories will cause you to lose weight, the most at the outset due to water weight, it is not a long term solution.
- People who use starvation to lose weight gain it back almost 100% of the time.
- Proper weight loss is all about elevating the metabolism with exercise while maintaining a healthy balanced diet and lifestyle which can be maintained over the course of a lifetime.
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Research has shown that 98% of the atoms in your body are replaced within just a year, all the cells will be replaced in just.
Professional bodybuilders, fitness and cover models are specialists in body transformation, both in the long and short term. In the days leading up to a show or photo shoot, these athletes make more dramatic physique changes than most people make over the course of a given year.
You may have no interest in competing on stage, and that's totally fine. However, if you need to look your best for an upcoming photo shoot, class reunion, or important date, you could learn a lot from people who have been there and done that many times before!
What you are about to learn are the Cliff's Notes for the pre-contest physique competitor. This is not a lifestyle diet; it's a guide to look your absolute best for a specific event, using pre-contest strategies from the world's top bikini, fitness model and figure competitors. I don't recommend putting your body through this more than twice each year—and trust me, you wouldn't want to.
Still on board? Let's shred. Figure out the day you want to look your best. This day will be called Day 1, so when you're 10 days away from your big day, you can post "I'm 10 days out!" and all the physique athletes will know what you're talking about.
How Much Can You Really Improve In 10 Days?
You can make dramatic improvements to your appearance in just 10 days, but only if you put in the proper work prior to starting this diet. In order for this guide to work, you need to start it with a decent degree of muscle mass and be sure your body fat levels are close to your goal look. For men that will be around 6-8 percent body fat, and for women, approximately 13-15 percent body fat.
Your body fat stores should be low enough that you already sport a six-pack. Your six-pack doesn't need to pop, but all six abdominals should be clearly visible in the mirror while flexing. If they are not, keep training and eating clean, and revisit this protocol when you're ready for the finishing touches.
It's almost impossible to lose more than 3-5 pounds of pure fat in 10 days—even on the most extreme diets. So don't kid yourself into thinking you've lost 10-plus pounds of fat once this diet is over.
On the flipside, it is possible to drop more than 10 pounds of weight in 10 days. Most of it will be in the form of water, but that's OK, because when you drop water from an already lean and muscular body, you look tighter, hotter, and more defined!
This is the key to your success: learning how to manipulate your fluid levels so you look as good as possible for your big day.
Rules To Achieving Extreme Muscle Definition
Taper Your Calories
During each day of the week, you're going to consume 10 calories for every pound of body weight. This means a 180-pound male (or female) will take in 1,800 calories in a day.
Why don't we drop your calories even further? Because you can't shed that much body fat in one week—it's impossible! No matter how much you cut back your calories, you can't force fat off your body. The goal here is to reduce your calories significantly, but not so much that you start burning significant amounts of muscle mass. When you go on a low-calorie diet—body weight x 10 is low—it's almost guaranteed that you'll start burning muscle mass to some degree as your body hunts down any ready source of fuel.
Before you start this guide, you should taper your calories to the point where you're eating body weight x 12. This should allow you to shed some body fat without burning any of your hard-earned muscle.
Protein Up, Then Down
It should be no surprise that protein intake is absolutely critical when you try to achieve extreme muscle definition. From Day 10 through Day 4, you'll consume 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. This means our 180-pound subject will consume 270 grams of protein per day. That's almost 2/3 of your daily calories! On your carb-loading days (days 3-1), we'll cut back the protein intake to 1/2 gram of protein per pound of body weight for the day.
Why are we consuming an excessive amount of protein? The additional protein promotes fat burning and muscle sparing, but you should take in plenty of amino acids so your body won't be put into a position to break down muscle tissue to access that protein. Don't worry, you only do this for a few days, not the rest of your life.
As for protein sources, stick to foods your body is familiar with. This is no time to experiment. If your diet has been primarily chicken, turkey, and beef, then stand fast to those three items as your protein sources. My top protein sources are white fish, extra lean beef, chicken, turkey, and salmon.
It's best to avoid liquid protein such as protein shakes and egg whites during this process. Liquid meals make the diet more difficult to follow, because of their rapid digestion. I also eliminate dairy for the final 10 days to prevent water retention.
One of the trickiest factors in contest-prep is carb manipulation. During Days 10 to 6, you cut carbs to 1/2-gram per pound of body weight per day. That works out to 90 grams for our 180-pound subject. On Day 5, you reduce your carbs to a quarter gram per pound of body weight, or 45 grams per 180 pounds.
Then it gets interesting. On Day 4, you reduce your carbs to zero except for fresh vegetables, which are considered "free foods." For the final three days, you increase your carb intake dramatically, to at least 2 1/2 grams per pound of body weight each day. This works out to at least 450 grams for our 180-pound subject. Carbs hold water, so during these final three days I back away from my vegetables.
Throughout the 10 days, consume carbs at about the same time you were consuming them during your diet leading up to the shred. It's best to spread carb intake out across smaller meals—for example, eight or nine meals instead of four or five. Also, consider supplementing with a digestive enzyme to help break down carbs during your carb-load.
The hardest part of the diet will be the first seven days. If you can make it, your body is going to act like a sponge when we carb-load during days 3-1! During that first week, the goal is to deplete your body of glycogen stores by gradually eliminating all carbs—this encourages significant fat burning! It's OK if you look soft and skinny after several days of depleting that's the point.
Over the last three days, you fill out your muscles by taking in plenty of complex carbs such as rice, potatoes, yams and oatmeal. This increases your glycogen stores and pushes water into the muscles, giving you a full and round appearance for your big day. The carb-loading phase is the fun part of the shred and ensures you look as good as possible.
Cut The Fat
Reel back on your fat intake to just a quarter gram per pound of body weight, which is 45 grams for our 180-pound subject. Cutting back on your fat is what might make you feel miserable, because fat helps produce your "happy" hormones and produces feelings of satisfaction.
If you really want to drop your body fat on Days 10 to 4, then drop your fat intake to zero. But I'll warn you, you're going to feel like crap! If you choose to keep in the fats, stick to whole-food sources such as mixed nuts or avocado.
You will consume your fats at the same times you were consuming them during your diet leading up to this. Nothing changes in fat timing. Why do you have to cut back on fats so much? Even though they are healthy, fats are caloric, and, since you need to cut your calories back by 15 percent, it makes sense to start there.
Sodium can cause you to bloat up and or hold water under your skin. Manipulating salt intake is crucial to looking as defined as possible. From Days 10 to 2, start actively salting your meals and even consider adding some small amounts of salt to your water. By doing this, you'll encourage your system to start actively excreting both salt and water. You will continue this until two days out from the big date.
On Days 2 and 1, drop the salt completely and become very cautious of any form of salt. Now is the time to start reading labels and make sure none of the foods you're eating have sodium in them. For example, no more liquid egg whites or protein shakes—both have a lot of sodium. Unfortunately, this means no more sodium-heavy hot sauces, or most sauces in general. You will find out how tough you really are!
Why is your salt intake so critical? Sodium has a remarkable effect on fluid balance, both inside and outside of your muscles. The goal in cutting is to suck fluid from the outside of your muscle cells to their inside, giving them a full and shapely look.
A salty story: I recently competed in the Muscle & Fitness Model Search in Las Vegas. It consisted of a fitness challenge and physique challenge, and after I competed in the fitness challenge I was told that only the Top 10 would compete in the physique challenge. I wasn't in the Top 10, so that night I went to celebrate at Yellowtail, the sushi restaurant at the Bellagio, where I consumed more than 20 rolls of sushi. And what did I dip them in? Lots of soy sauce, loaded with sodium!
The next morning I got an email saying I actually did qualify for the physique challenge. I screamed at my computer, "No! I can't believe this!" Standing in front of the mirror, my abs had seemed to disappear overnight, even though they were popping 12 hours earlier. I ended up competing and did well, but I would have looked better if I didn't pound back that soy sauce the night before. Lesson learned!
Water Load, Then Dry Out
If you did nothing else but manipulate your water intake, you would see a dramatic change in appearance.
The first step is jacking your water up to a set amount, 2 liters higher than your normal daily intake. So if you normally drink 3 L of water per day, consume 5 L. Measure it out—don't guess or eyeball it.
On Day 2 you cut your water in half from the high level of the previous days. Then, on Day 1, the day of your big event, don't drink more than a liter of water. Many physique athletes cut their water to nothing, but in my opinion this is extreme. I don't recommend ever cutting your water to zero.
So why do we water load and then dehydrate? The amount of water you consume determines how your body handles fluid balance. When you take in excess water, your body just flushes it out. By drinking a higher amount of water you trick your body into flushing more when you cut back, which results in your muscles looking tighter.
The combined effects of carb-loading, salt avoidance, and water depletion will suck as much fluid into the muscle tissue as possible. In the end, your muscles are going to be fuller, rounder, and harder. You'll see definition you never knew you had!
As you get closer to your deadline you'll begin to feel the effects of the diet and training and start looking gaunt. Your body will also increase its cortisol levels which can result in losing muscle and storing water around your midsection.
A great way to avoid this is to rest. Strive for at least eight hours each night, and if you can get more, do so. If you can take a nap during the day, take it.
Get A Massage
Getting a good quality massage will help relieve the discomfort you feel from your training and diet. But you'll be surprised how much loosening your body can improve your spirit and help you make the most of your final few workouts.
Pleasures are few and far between during a major cut like this, so pamper yourself where you can. If it helps, you can justify the increased expense because your food budget goes down over the 10 days.
Get A Tan
This is an easy one. Tanned skin simply looks better under the lights, and it will showcase more definition. If you're afraid of getting a real tan because of the dangerous rays, well, a fake tan never hurt anyone although bad fake tans have bruised a lot of egos!
Ideally, you should start the tanning process a month out, and increase the time slowly and gradually. If you were to tan heavily in the final 10 days with no base, you'd likely burn. A good month-long tanning schedule could be:
Week 1: 5 minutes max every other day
Week 2: 10 minutes max every other day
Week 3: 15 minutes max every other day
Week 4: 20 minutes max every other day
Monday - Chest and Shoulders
Exercise Sets Reps
Decline Smith Presses 2 12
Flat Dumbbell Presses 4 20
Incline Dumbbell Flyes 3 Failure
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Dumbbell Presses 125
Reverse EZ Bar Presses (barbell shown in video) 1 Failure
Seated Dumbbell Side Laterals 1 Failure
Tuesday - Legs
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Presses 4 25
Leg Curls 1 30
Leg Extensions 1 30
Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Curl Machine 3 Failure
WEDNESDAY - REST DAY
Thursday - Back, Rear Shoulders, Traps
Exercise Sets Reps
Pull-ups 3 12
Dead Lifts 3 10
Dumbbell Rows 3 10
Lat Pulldown 3 10
Exercise Sets Reps
Bent Over Rear Delt Cable Fly 2 25
Exercise Sets Reps
Barbell Shrugs 3 12
Seated Dumbbell Shrugs 3 12
Upright Rows 3 12
Friday - Arms and Calves
Exercise Sets Reps
Standing Dumbbell Curls 2 10
Dumbbell Drag Curls (barbell video shown) 1 20
Incline Hammer Curls 1 15
Exercise Sets Reps
Close-Grip Benches 1 25
Tricep Press Downs 1 25
Double Arm Kickbacks 1 25
Bench Dips 1 Failure
Exercise Sets Reps
Seated Calf Raises 3 15
Donkey Calf Raises 3 15
I recognize that my “food elimination list” is considered extreme but keep this in mind that extreme muscle definition is just that, extreme! And the elimination of these foods is temporary – 2-4 weeks max – so don’t freak out and say, “Oh my gosh, how do you live without those foods?” I don’t live without them, I just cut them to create the best “fat burning environment” possible and resort to foods that I consider more superior for combating the final few pounds of fat and providing me energy for my intense training sessions.
The picture above is the morning of my photo shoot with IRONMAN magazine on July 9, 2012, another result of eliminating the foods below. Based on a DEXA scan 1 week prior to this picture at 11.3% bodyfat, I anticipate I’m at least 9% bodyfat in this picture. No lower than 8%. I am 202 pounds. My body always looks harder and tighter when I cut the foods below.
While sustaining a prolonged caloric deficit is the ultimate key to losing weight, selecting the optimal food choices to fill those calories will be the difference between looking hard and muscular or soft and thin.
Every food decision you make will move you closer to your goals or further from your goals and the rate you drop the final few pounds of fat will be directly related to your food choices.
Is it necessary to eliminate these foods? No.
Will eliminating these foods help you arrive to your goals faster? Yes.
Here is my advice on which foods to cut to achieve extreme muscle definition – in no particular order:
Fructose is a sugar that is present in fruit. The body responds to large and frequent portions of fruit by converting it straight into fat. It also modifies the ability of your liver to process glucose, which makes it more challenging to lose fat and keep it off in the future.
A recent study in the Journal of Nutrition examined how the body responded to different types of sugar by administering a breakfast drink to lean and healthy subjects that was either 100 percent glucose, half glucose and half fructose, or 25 percent glucose and 75 percent fructose. After four hours of consuming the drinks that contained fructose, lipogenesis (i.e. producing fat in the body), increased far more in the body compared to ingesting the glucose drink. On top of that, the food subjects ingested at lunch was processed differently. After consuming a normal lunch, triglycerides stayed higher by as much as 30 percent, indicating that the body was no longer in a “fat burning” mode. In short, the carbs ingested at lunch were converted into fat.
I am not anti-fruit. In fact, I love fruit and maintain about 30 grams of berries (the one fruit low in fructose and jammed with antioxidants) in my daily diet until I wish to dip under 10% body fat and get my abs popping. Fruit will simply slow your progress into the six-pack promise land.
Change the Cycle
You don't lift the same way all year, so why should the frequency, intensity, and duration of your cardiovascular workouts stay the same? They shouldn't.
When you're trying to add muscle, keep your aerobic work to a minimum—say, once or twice a week for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will limit your energy expenditure and allow your body to concentrate on building muscle.
When you're trying to add muscle, keep your aerobic work to a minimum—say, once or twice a week for about 15 to 20 minutes. This will limit your energy expenditure and allow your body to concentrate on building muscle.
- When you're trying to get lean, increase your cardio training to two to four times a week, to help strip away excess body fat.
- At all times, alternate your cardio methods so your workout's not so boring treadmill running 1 day, rowing or elliptical training the next, cycling the day after that.
- Separate cardio from lifting
- Serious lifters worry that cardiovascular training will impede their ability to recover from intense strength training. That all depends on when and how you do your cardio.
- Keep your cardio days and strength days as removed from each other as possible. That way your cardio won't hinder gains in strength and size. For instance, doing a tough cycling workout after you hammer your legs with squats and lunges isn't a good idea if your goal is to build bigger legs. Save your cardio for the next day, or even 2 days later, to rest your legs.
- If you must do cardio and weights on the same day, choose a form of aerobic work that emphasizes body parts your weight lifting didn't focus on that day. So, if your cardio choice is rowing, which works your upper body as much as it does your legs, row on a day when your weight session doesn't concentrate on your upper body.
- Whichever route you choose, just be sure to hit the weights first. You don't want to wipe yourself out before your weight routine you won't get the most out of your session, and lifting when you're tired can be dangerous.
- When it comes to weight training for overall fat loss and definition, however, most lifters go down the completely wrong path...
- I'm not even sure where or how this myth started, but the idea that "heavy weights/low reps builds muscle and light weights/high reps burns fat" is still a belief commonly held by a huge percentage of lifters.
- They'll switch over to their cutting phase and then reduce the weights, increase the reps and include more isolation exercises to somehow "define the muscles" and bring out more hardness and separation.
- In fact, this "muscle definition workout" approach is completely misguided and downright counterproductive to your goals.
- There are really only two things you can do with your muscles...
- You can make them bigger, or you can make them smaller.
- There is NO such thing as an exercise that "defines", "shapes" or "sculpts" a muscle, and there are certainly no weight training techniques that are going to magically bring out more "hardness" and "separation" in your physique.
- Muscle definition is a product of one thing and one thing only: the amount of overall muscle mass you're carrying in combination with your overall body fat percentage.
- The lower your body fat percentage is, the more defined and separated your muscles will appear; the higher your body fat percentage is, the less defined you'll appear.
- On top of this, there is no way for you to target fat loss from specific areas of your body by training with weights. This is known as the fallacy of "spot reduction" which I've talked about many times before.
- Any time you train with weights, all you're doing is stimulating the specific muscles that are involved in the movement. However, this has NO effect on the fat stores in and around that area.
- Fat loss occurs as you place your body into a calorie deficit by consistently burning more calories than you consume. This is accomplished by reducing your dietary caloric intake and by increasing caloric expenditure through additional cardio exercise.
- Over time you'll lose fat from your entire body as a whole, but you have no control over the specific areas where fat is burned from.
- So, we've established that:
- There is no possible way to use weight training to "define" or "sculpt" a given muscle. All you can do is make your muscles bigger or smaller.
- Fat loss is achieved through a caloric deficit, which will cause you to lose fat from your entire body as a whole over time.
What is the correct approach for a "muscle definition workout" then?
It is exactly the same as the approach you used when your goal was to gain overall size and strength.
You need to train with heavy weights (weights that are heavy for you as an individual that is), low to moderate reps, compound movements and focus on either improving or maintaining your strength levels each week.
Remember, unless you are genetically gifted or a complete beginner, you're not going to be adding muscle size while you're in a calorie deficit. Your goal during a cutting phase is to maximize fat loss while maintaining as much of your lean mass as possible.
This is why a properly structured weight training routine is so important during a fat loss cycle. You need to provide your muscles with the most powerful stimulus possible in order to give your body a damn good reason to hold onto its lean mass despite being in a calorie deficit. Again, this is accomplished using the exact same principles you followed during your mass gaining phase.
As you keep that lean mass intact and gradually reduce your body fat each week through proper diet and cardio, that muscle definition you're after will gradually reveal itself.
Just remember this during a cutting phase:
Weight training is for maintaining muscle.
Diet and cardio is for burning fat.
When you follow the light weight/high reps "muscle definition workout" approach, all you end up doing is providing a weaker stimulus to your muscles which actually increases the chances of muscle loss during your cut.
Always Start With Inclines
"If your upper pecs are really lagging, the best way to bring them out is to always start with incline moves," he says. You can do this with a barbell, dumbbells or a Smith machine. Starting with incline moves will ensure that these underused fibers are fresh, allowing you move the most weight possible to trigger growth. From there you can move on to flat and decline moves, where you're likely naturally stronger.
Try Power Pressing
Think about this as you would the deadlift. With the deadlift, you work without the benefit of elasticity or momentum, pulling the bar from a complete rest on the floor. This builds strength and power quickly through the positive portion of the movement. Power presses are the same idea.
"Using a Smith machine or power rack, set the safeties to a point that only allows for a partial range of motion," he says. "As you come down, let the bar settle completely before pressing hard back to the top of the movement."
Q: What's the best way to build muscle definiton versus just getting bigger?
A: Pass on the mac and cheese. The key to putting on lean muscle mass is to reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates and up the protein. If you already have size, decrease your body fat. On the skinny side? Start with a bulk-training style program with limited carbohydrates.
Bulk tends to come at a high energy cost to it—the more muscle on your body, the more calories you’re burning, and the harder it is to do simple tasks. Definition, on the other hand, leaves you stronger for daily activities. While you are what you eat, exercise helps. Follow a 6-day cycle of heavy upper, heavy lower, day off, high repetition upper, high repetition lower, day off.
Start With A Power-Based Exercise: Start with a power-based push or pull exercise like a heavy bench, incline bench press, a weighed wide-grip pullup, or a weighted narrow-grip underhand pullup. As you increase the weight, decrease your reps to build mass. For your first set, warmup with 8-10 reps at 50% of your one-rep max—the amount of weight you can lift for one proper repetition. For the second set, use 55%-65% of your one-rep max for 8-10 reps. For your third set use 65%-75% of your one-rep max, increasing that to 70%-80% for your fourth rep for 6-8 repetitions. Finish off with a fifth set of 3-5 reps using 80%-90% of your total max. Rest for 2-3 minutes between rounds.
Back to Basics: The Three Most Powerful Workout Moves
Push To Exhaustion: Exhaust the muscle group by pushing to the max with an exercise you can control even when you’re at the point of fatigue. Consider pushups or a dumbbell press. Go to max effort, doing as many reps as you can, then rest for a minute. Go for one more round to break down the muscle as much as possible.
Fight Workout Fatigue Forever
Complete Two Supersets: Move away from the principles of bulking up and towards those of leaning by using exhaustive supersets to tear leftover muscle fiber, forcing your body to repair it and make you stronger. Complete 12-15 repetitions for 3-4 rounds with a short rest period between sets, alternating between the push and pull. Superset A, for example, might include glute ham raises (10-12) and stability ball hamstring curls while Superset B includes walking lunges with dumbbells (12-15 per side) and step ups. Finish off with a supplementary medicine ball based core work.
Sleep And Recover: Go on, hit snooze. The only time your body can resynthesize is while you sleep. Make sure to rest for a minimum of seven hours a night (with nine being ideal). Lose the idea of two-a-days. While your goal is to get lean, you don’t want to hit the gym twice and burn so many calories that you can’t build muscle.
Tips for Better Sleep
Drink During A Workout: Recovery drinks aren’t just a post-workout treat. Drinking a carbohydrate, protein complex while working out replenishes sugars you’re depleting and keeps the nitrogen pool filled to arm you with the building blocks for protein synthesis.
Before you start a serious aerobic exercise program, consult your doctor first. Also, choose an exercise program that you can carry out over a long period of time.
How are Aerobic Exercises Done?
Aerobic exercises must be done for a certain period of time at low intensity. You are exercising at low intensity if you can still carry out a conversation while doing them. Aerobic exercises are done for at least 15 minutes or longer for several times per week. Each session should start with at least 5 minutes of warm-up before the actual exercise. And before you end, allot at least 5 minutes also to cool down. If you start with 15 minutes of aerobic exercise, you can gradually increase the number of minutes per session until you reach your target heart rate which can be checked by periodically taking your pulse. The target heart rate varies from person to person as recommended by your physician.
What are the Benefits of Aerobic Exercises?
The major benefit of aerobic exercises is that they help condition your heart and lungs and reduce your risk of heart disease. They are also beneficial for weight loss. Together with a proper diet, regular aerobic exercises help control your body fat and tone your muscles. They can also help increase your general stamina and resistance to fatigue. Additionally, they also offer psychological benefits such as reduced anxiety or depression, promoting a good mood, and aiding in sleeping.
The definition of aerobic exercise is a continuous, rhythmic, and low intensity exercise. Regular aerobic exercises offer many benefits not just in weight loss but also in the overall health of a person. There are different types of aerobic exercises that you can choose from and they can be indoor or outdoor. The key to successful weight loss with aerobic exercises is to do them regularly.