The best way to develop more defined muscles is to increase muscle mass while decreasing body fat. According to an article on muscleprodigy.com, people who lack definition typically have a layer of fat covering their muscular structure and/or not enough muscle in general.
Muscle burns fat more efficiently, so the more muscle you have, the more fat you will burn even when your body is at rest. However, while lifting light weights is important for building muscular endurance, using heavier weights is the key to promoting muscle size and strength while increasing your metabolism.
When it comes to lifting heavier weights, many women fear becoming too bulky. This is a myth. An article insimplyshredded.com notes that testosterone is the hormone primarily responsible for the large increases in muscle mass seen when men lift weights, and women’s testosterone levels are a mere fraction of men’s testosterone levels. Put simply, women just don’t have the necessary hormones to gain muscle mass like men.
To get the best results when lifting, focus on performing 6-12 reps using a weight that is heavy enough that the last two reps are difficult to lift. Keep intensity levels high, resting for no more than one minute between sets to keep your heart rate up, and be sure to target all the major muscle groups. It’s also important to vary your workouts as variety is necessary to shock the muscles and stimulate new growth and development. I personally favor super set, which works opposing muscles in rapid succession, keeping my heart rate elevated while building both muscle strength and endurance.
In addition to creating a regular workout routine, it is important to establish healthy eating habits. Be sure to consume plenty of raw fruits and vegetables, which are high in nutrients but low in calories, and protein, which also is important for losing weight and getting cut muscles. Eggs, nuts, vegetables and lean meats are good sources of high protein.
Another key component to developing a lean and defined body is staying well-hydrated. An article onFitness@suite101.com states that the liver needs water to function correctly and process fat. Without adequate amounts of water, the liver processes fats more slowly, causing fat to accumulate in the body.
Finally, don’t forget to log at least eight hours of sleep each night. While you sleep, your body produces leptin, a hormone which helps to regulate appetite, while keeping cortisol levels in check-an overabundance of this stress hormone has been shown to increase your chances of becoming obese.
If you are already following these guidelines but still can’t seem to get those six-pack abs, keep in mind that every person is genetically unique and will respond to diet and exercise in different ways. According to freedieting.com, every piece of advice you receive regarding weight loss must be applied against your knowledge of your own constitution, metabolism, and genetic makeup. So, rather than striving to duplicate the chiseled arms and ripped abs of that person pictured in a magazine, who has likely been photo-shopped and air-brushed, focus on building the most fit and healthy body that you can and that is appropriate for your specific body type.
My first triathlon was over a decade ago. It was a sprint distance and I raced on a mountain bike. I took a break from the sport to raise my children. When the baby turned two, I decided to rediscover my own interests again. Four years later, through equipment changes, injuries and the challenges of raising a family, I've set my sights on the Iron Man and would like to share the journey--however long and painful it may be. Hope you enjoy the blog and thanks for reading.