How you should work out, what you should eat (and avoid eating) and other tips for achieving your summer goal: better muscle definition
Showing off muscles like CR7 every time he scores a goal is why some people go to the gym day in, day out. First of all, you have to accept that muscle definition isn’t an easy goal to achieve. Not only is it a long process, it also requires a carefully controlled combination of nutrition and training. In any case, we’re here to help you and give you the steps to follow to ensure each session brings you closer to achieving your goal.
Before you start, it is important to know that muscle definition is achieved by reducing your percentage of body fat, which is located between the skin and the muscle. So, you have to reduce the layer of adipose tissue that covers the muscles, so they are more visible each time you take off your T-shirt at the beach this summer.
How can you get rid of the layer of fat covering muscles?
To lose fat, as we’ve mentioned before, you have to combine nutrition and exercise, while respecting rest times to prevent extreme fatigue. It is important to remember that no matter how many kilos you press in each session, if you don’t control your calorie intake you will never improve your muscle definition.
HIIT, your best ally
Traditionally, the best option for burning fat was considered a combination of cardio (running on the treadmill, crosstrainer or indoor cycle, etc.) and weight training (lifting weights). However, a 2015 study published by science journal PLoS ONE showed that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) yields better results in terms of losing body fat, burning up to 6 times more fat than cardio training alone.
This type of work-out combines short periods of very intense exercise (roughly 80% – 90% maximum heart rate) with others at a more moderate intensity (60% – 70%). The high-intensity of this sort of exercise burns more fat, as well as being more efficient because the sessions tend to be shorter.
Watch what you eat
Your eating habits during the process will surely make all the difference. If you want muscle definition, you need to modify the percentages of your main macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and fats) as follows:
- Cut calories from carbohydrates: spread them out throughout the day, mainly at breakfast, lunch and after working out.
- Eat more protein: compensate for the loss in carbohydrates with more protein to prevent muscle loss. Calories from protein don’t cause insulin spikes (unlike carbohydrates), so they won’t be a problem for burning fat. Above all, eat quality protein: lean meat, fish, seafood, eggs or this list of foods rich in plant protein.
- Eat healthy fats: avoid saturated fats like butter, cream, fatty meat, fried food and most processed foods, and choose unsaturated fats instead from foods like avocado, salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts, olives, sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
Although these are the main nutrients that should be part of your diet from now on, don’t forget to always have a serving of fruit or vegetables with each meal. Spinach and chard (and the other leafy green vegetables) contain folate, iron and chlorophyll, helping your body generate red blood cells to oxygenate the blood and muscles. Fruit will help you digest protein more easily and reduce muscle inflammation after an intense training session.
Get enough rest between sessions
A proper training plan with enough rest is another factor to keep in mind if you want to achieve your goal. Remember that, if you’ve chosen HIIT to improve your muscle definition, it does have its disadvantages. The main one is that this over-exertion can affect the nervous system, leading to muscle damage, physical stress and metabolic stress.
To avoid these consequences, make sure you rest at least 48 hours between high-intensity training sessions. In these cases, less really is more, so 2 or 3 sessions a week is enough.
Choose your activities carefully
There are classes at the DiR gyms for a high-intensity work-out to burn as many calories as possible. Some of them include Aprima’t, which combines cardio and muscle training; Body Pump, which mainly focuses on bars and weight discs; Total Hiit, training designed specifically to improve muscle definition; Jambox, based on the highest intensity boxing moves; Cross Training at the DiR Boxes; and the new Bootcamp, a high-intensity training that combines sound, light and motivation from our trainers to push you in every session.
As you can see, there are loads of options to choose from. It’s as easy as finding what works for you and getting right to it. Don’t waste time! If you’re not a DiR member yet, download your free pass here to try out any of these activities or our facilities.