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One of the big drawbacks we often encounter in the gym is to try to define without losing muscle mass, and is it possible to strengthen the body without reducing the volume of muscle mass, you're going to ask yourself: What is it that needs to be done to tighten muscles without losing muscle volume? Yes, you can delimit your muscles without losing an ounce of muscle mass, but to achieve this there are a number of factors that you must take into consideration, beginning with the fact that the definition phase comes after the volume stage, something that we must take into consideration to achieve our goal.
First step to strengthen without losing muscles: the diet
Defining muscle consists of removing the layer of fat that prevents us from showing off those muscles that we have worked so hard on in the volume phase, so we must monitor what we eat, following a low-calorie diet to reduce the percentage of anatomical fat to the limit. Protein is going to be the basis of a diet where carbohydrates cannot be lacking, although in order for the body to digest the enormous protein you will consume, it is essential to drink three or four litres of water a day.
We'll follow a diet for hyperprotective athletes. It is best to opt for lean, fat-free proteins or a minimum percentage. Chicken, turkey, red meat, eggs, fish, soybeans, pulses or dairy products are among the foods that meet these requirements. With them we will not only avoid the improvement of the synthesis, eluding the loss of muscular mass, but it stimulates the production of testosterone or of the hormone of the development -strengthening the muscles- and leaves us feeling more fed up in spite of reducing the amount of calories ingested.
We will reduce the intake of carbohydrates, always and in all circumstances in a controlled way, but remember that you will need them to support muscle. Before training you should eat low glycemic index carbohydrates (male banana, rice or whole grain pasta, potato), which provide energy, and after training high glycemic index carbohydrates, such as fruit, which among other things helps the muscle to absorb amino acids. Don't forget a minimum consumption of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (avocado, fish, nuts, olive oil) and vegetables, which provide fibre, vitamins and minerals.
At this point, it is convenient to talk about supplements, one of the debates that never seems to end. There are those who advise them to strengthen the hypocaloric diet and also hyperproteic, but it is also true that following a good diet and having the opinion of a food specialist we will not need to resort to them to limit muscle without losing mass.
Second step to limit without losing muscle mass: training
But it is not enough to take care of our nutrition, if you are looking for a way to delimit without losing muscle you will also have to slightly change your training routines in relation to other stages, such as volume. We will start with weights, where multi-articular or compound exercises should play a fundamental role, in which we are going to work on multiple muscles at the same time. You should schedule your weekly routine to include each and every one of the muscle sets: legs, arms, abs, and logs.
It will be a training where the force will play a leading role. If in the volume phase you did a lot of reiterations without reaching the limit, in the definition phase things change and we are going to do a low number of more reiterations with a lot of weight. You must also reduce the rest time between sets to take advantage of this heavy training to the limit.
Once the weights are finished, we get on with the cardio. In the moment of delimiting without losing muscular mass it is vital to do the cardiovascular part after the weights, while in the opposite case you will lose weight and you will define, but also you will lose muscular mass. The goal is to lose fat, and after the weights we will have enough energy to do an anaerobic exercise. Ideally, you should include a couple or 3 cardio sessions in your weekly training plan, always and in all circumstances with moderate intensity.