On many occasions, both in our section responses such as social networks or in comments on other posts I have done on the health topic, I find the eternal question among many of you: what should I do, increase muscle or define? This question almost always accompanied by certain personal information such as height, weight and in some cases, body measurements.
Based on these questions, I will try, as far as possible, grouped in the best possible way, tips that allow us to know if it is advisable to lose fat or muscle to win and how to achieve both goals.
How to choose between losing fat and gaining muscle or volume set
And the million dollar question what should I do, lose fat or gain muscle volume? well, this question first is very personal and my recommendation is that in the mirror, think about what our preferences and decide if we want it is to see with less fat or volume.
Still, it is true that there are some people, who do not have very clear which path to follow, so I want to highlight some types of people and help them in their decision, such as:
- Slim people with little muscle mass, but fat: There is a group of people, who have little muscle mass but still have enough fat, especially abdominal. An example might be a man of 1.70m with a weight of about 63Kg, but has a waist circumference of 84cm or 85cm, in these cases, it is best to lose fat and strength training. With a reduced calorie diet and a good routine training, be sure to get better muscle tone because they are usually cases of people who have not trained well so far or have not started training. If such a person begins to follow a high-calorie diet, all you will do is accumulate fatter, especially since, namely hormones and insulin sensitivity is not the best suited to start with a high-calorie
- Women who want to tone up: In this group, there are two types of women, who are overweight or obese and that, conversely, have little muscle mass and are thin. In both cases, the best they can do is train hard, we explained that women cannot gain excessive muscle mass, so you have to lose the fear of the weights. The difference between the two lies in the diet, overweight women should follow a low-calorie diet and the other group, a well – planned high -calorie diet.
These two groups are examples, and although there are many more, wanted to highlight both cases. A good reference to know if we should “cut” a phase of volume would be through measures our abdominal perimeter. If we keep our aesthetic, in the case of men, not exceed 80cm waist circumference would be a good reference in the case of women, 72cm or 73cm, but here you cannot generalize because the way that each person to store fat is a completely different article.
We have explained on several occasions that it has no advantage over our body the fact excessively long stages of volume in which we store much body fat. And that this will cause a series of changes in our body that are not positive in the face our health and we also take excessively long stages of defining where we will make our body suffers.
Fat Loss Strategies
First, I want to emphasize that it is not exactly the same fat loss you define. When we seek to lose fat, it is understood that muscle mass to lose on the road we do not care, whereas when we define, we want to lose fat, keeping the maximum amount of muscle mass.
To get lose fat simply need to create a caloric deficit in our diet, i.e. eat fewer calories than we expend throughout the day by our basal metabolism and our daily physical activity. We have already explained how to perform these calculations in a series.
Cardiovascular exercise is not mandatory or strictly necessary to lose fat, but it can help us increase our daily energy expenditure and thus to create a caloric deficit through diet much more easily, but we see it as a complement.
However, the main and fundamental exercise that cannot miss in our routine when we seek to lose fat, and above all, maintain muscle, is specifically weight training, strength training. It is advisable to follow a strategy that gradually tries to gain more strength while losing fat, this is possible and I already explained what.
The most common errors in the definition stage
Both diet and training are key, but if we give more importance to one of the two, in the case of the stages of definition, possibly the diet. Because without a low-calorie diet, it is impossible to lose fat, however if our diet is low calorie, and our workouts are not up to scratch, we will lose fat equally, but also, lose enough muscle mass.
It is not the first time we list common mistakes in a stage of definition, but among the errors that exist, some of the most important are:
- Miscalculated diet: often, we use formulas available on the Internet, such as the Harris-Benedict, and the truth is that for an initial calculation, you can serve, but if not we test with numbers obtain, it is impossible to determine whether these are really keeping our calories, definition or volume. Generally, the formulas know if we have a more or less rapid metabolism, so the best is from a number of initial kilocalories, and through applications, know how much we consume and control if we go down, climb or maintain our body weight after a few days.
- Error in counting actual calories: In some cases, errors in counting calories consumed, and this can be either because they are all foods we eat, for example, not to add oil to this type of programs for calculating calories consumed, or that we weigh not really food, making it difficult to really know how many calories you are eating. Yes, it is true that over the years can gain the ability to calculate the amounts to be a pretty good eye, but is initially complicated or if you need to be strict.
- Delude when accounting for the food: Another very common mistake is self-deceive, not adding, consciously, food and quantities we eat, or falsifying the amount of food, you actually eat.
In the first part of these small recommendations, we mentioned first, what should we consider to choose between one stage and another depending on our preferences and other variables such as abdominal circumference measurement.
Besides that, I approached a number of recommendations for a definition stage or fat loss optimally. In this article, we will try to group the fullest possible form a series of tips to increase our muscle mass efficiently.
Gain lean mass over time
First, I would like to highlight some of what I have already spoken on occasion and it is exactly, how to approach the stage of increased muscle volume. Although some people seem difficult, it is more complex build muscle to lose fat, takes longer and requires more “sacrifice”.
We have already mentioned that to lose fat, we follow a low-calorie diet will be enough, you did not train properly will cause us to lose some muscle mass, but you certainly get the main goal is to lose fat. In the case of increased lean body mass, it is more complex.
We must understand that each individual part of a muscle has a genetic base and facing the increase in lean mass. There may be people capable of winning during his early years between 5kg and 6kg totally lean, while others may not exceed 2kg, which, we must not despair.
With this in mind, if over a year gain 2lbs of lean mass and becomes a real triumph, it makes no sense to perform steps of volume in which we increase our body weight at a rate of weekly 500g, i.e. 2.5kg a month, because what we are doing is mostly gain fat.
Focusing the stage of muscle volume
As advanced in the previous paragraph, the strategy of increasing muscle volume should not be intended to gain an excessive amount of weight in a short time, so the slower the gain, within limits, the better will be making the increase.
There are several ways to limit the volume stage, one is by weight, may be by another abdominal circumference. We can usually get a limit weight, which not happens every time we make a step gain muscle, mass. Generally, a person should move in a range of + or + -4.5Kg -2.5Kg.
The ranges I propose are midranges for people between 45Kg and 60Kg or people between 70Kg and 80Kg. obviously not represent the same kind of gain or loss in absolute terms in an 80kg person to a person of 60Kg, 80Kg person to be easier to increase or decrease body weight in somewhat higher amounts.
A phase muscle hypertrophy should last at least 8 weeks because in that time is less difficult to have results in increased muscle mass. The maximum time depends on how you are performing and whether the gain is being done to correct or rhythm.
The importance of training and diet to gain muscle mass
If in the definition highlighted the importance of diet on training, even though both are very important in the case of stages volume, I give more preferably at training the diet , but are again both really important as that if we train as we should, and do not feed us enough, we will not grow muscularly speaking.
Still, one thing is clear, if we follow a high – calorie diet, and trained incorrectly, the gains that we will be mainly fat because if we do not stimulate our muscles optimally, the body to increase fat mass will use excess heat.
With regard to training, but the main focus is muscle hypertrophy, at this stage we must also increase our strength, as we explained on occasion that if you want to be bigger, you have to be stronger.
So as a general rule, routines must be mainly composed of multi – joint exercises in ranges of force, occupying between 70% and 80% of each training session, 20% and remaining 30%, single – joint isolation exercises on ranges 12 to 15 repetitions, such as in the routine that I proposed.
A very common and frequent mistake is to think that strength is not important at this stage. Many people still continually raising the same charges throughout the year, with no apparent gain force and if this is not achieved, it is impossible to progress and generate a good hypertrophy and durable.