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01/06/24 3

3 mistakes not to make for muscle definition

Muscle definition is a common goal in both fitness and bodybuilding. As always, there are many false myths and mistakes to dispel in relation to the muscle definition phase, whether this is before a competition or simply before the summer. The risk is that the time taken is either too long or too short in the pursuit of the fat loss required to put your muscles on display.

Objective of muscle definition

To be defined requires the achievement of a BF (Body Fat) that is decidedly low, depending on one’s genetics, but compared to a simple slimming programme, definition requires greater attention to maintaining the volume and muscular hypertrophy achieved.
Usually, the definition phase comes after a period known as bulking, in which weight and muscle mass have been put on, subjecting the body to training with high loads and a rich, calorific diet.

Focus on increasing repetitions

One of the 4 tools for increasing the training stimulus is the volume of work. Our muscles are pushing or pulling the same load, but for a greater number of times. Increasing repetitions is therefore a useful tool in general, but it is not as many think the key to definition. Definition is achieved by reducing adipose tissue (flab) and thus creating a calorie deficit, which is easier to achieve through dieting than through a desperate increase in training volume. Trying to increase performance during a slimming phase can also lead to injury.

Too few carbohydrates

Carbohydrates remain the body’s primary source of energy, and reducing them in drastic ways during definition can be a mistake. In the short term, subtracting a lot of carbohydrates will cause our body to lose fluid, giving us the illusion of being more defined. In reality, the very low availability of sugar will push our bodies to deplete amino acids, destroying the lean mass gained during bulking periods. A well-conceived definition phase can really give value to the work done during the year.

Do not introduce cardio activity

Cardio activity can activate a number of processes useful for definition as well as increasing calorie consumption. Aerobic activities such as slow running can boost fat metabolism, but these should be done at times other than resistance or weight training.
High-intensity activities such as sprinting or HIIT training, on the other hand, can also induce an increase in the hormones most useful for our fitness, such as testosterone. In the world of martial arts, in fact, we often see densely muscled, defined bodies with excellent quality precisely because these athletes practise high-intensity work to maximise strength and minimise weight.

In the gym and with weights, it is possible to apply protocols that include super-series, keeping the heart rate under stress for a longer period for each group of exercises and consuming more calories. In general, there are many different tools used for muscle hypertrophy and fat loss depending on the discipline being practised.

Other dietary principles during the definition period

Increasing protein intake is certainly fundamental during a period of definition, as is systematic and careful hydration. The use of draining supplements can be helpful in reducing fluids where we don’t want them, i.e. where stubborn fat resides. Systematic use of BCAAs can protect our bodies against loss of lean mass.

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