Enhancing Muscle Definition And Leanness
Having a well defined muscled body is the pinnacle of many gym goers’ dreams, yet many trainees plod on day to day without making any notable stride towards their goal. It is possible to achieve a lean, defined and athletic look with the correct approach to diet and training, regardless of age. The key mistake made by the masses is too much emphasis on training and too little on the dietary aspect of the fitness lifestyle. This article aims to correct this balance and offers some advice on how to reduce body fat, become more defined and increase leanness.
Before we embark on an approach to become more defined we must first know exactly what needs to be addressed, and then how we will implement changes to achieve them. A defined physique is one in which there is a moderate amount of muscle bulk, yet low enough body fat levels to visibly show the muscle shape through the skin. So to achieve a defined look we must initially obtain some level of muscle mass (if necessary), and then try to reduce body fat levels to make the muscle tissue more pronounced.
A mistake some people make is to believe the muscle of a defined or toned person is somehow different than that of a bodybuilder or general gym goer, and requires a high repetition range to achieve the look. Some people believe a high repetition range tones and shapes a muscle. This is simply not true, and the key difference between moderate repetition work which a bodybuilder may follow and the higher repetition range others may follow is the rate of muscle hypertrophy (growth). If you have little muscle mass to begin with, why follow a path which will take you longer to get from point A to point B? If we want a moderate level of muscle mass to achieve our defined physique then we would be best following a moderate repetition range to achieve this size in the quickest time possible.
There are countless weight training programs we can follow, and to discuss these would be out of the scope of this article. The key point is to follow a routine which is focused primarily at increasing muscle mass, and we would expect to weight train between three and four times a week. The exercises chosen would typically fall under the compound umbrella; that’s to say the exercises will recruit multiple muscles to heighten the demand on the overall body. A handful of isolation exercises can be incorporated, although these should not make up the backbone of the routine.
A repetition range between 8 and 12 would be wise, with the aim of inducing muscle hypertrophy. This figure is not set in stone however, and a varied training plan allows for continual stimulus and heightened demand to the muscle which leads to greater progression and adaptation.
Diet and cardio
The weight training principles outlined above should supply sufficient stress to the muscle for growth to occur. For optimal results we must ensure the dietary intake is in line with our goals, with sufficient levels of protein and calories to support muscle growth, yet restrictions on overall consumption to support our reduction in body fat. For this reason it may be worthwhile following a diet which is moderately high in protein, and has moderate levels of dietary fats and carbohydrates. Plenty of fluids should be drunk during the day, and at least five servings of fruit and vegetables consumed.
This dietary approach is vital to the overall results, and to further tip the calorie balance to induce fat loss we can implement cardiovascular activities. A moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise could be performed three to four times per week, for thirty to forty five minute durations.