Saturday, 27 September 2008

Muscle Definition

One of my new female readers has posed the question of me debunking the myths on muscle definition and slimming so today I want to address these by giving the answers.

Muscle definition is an interesting one, I get quite a few people ask me how they can define a specific part of their anatomy and the truth is its not as easy as targeting a specific area...unfortunately.

Contrary to common belief it is not right that to gain muscle definition you need to train with light weight and very high reps (15 to 20 range). In fact at this level you are in the realms of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (building larger muscle mass to you and me).

Muscle definition is gained through fat loss, by losing fat but retaining lean muscle you will notice muscle contours start to appear.

To gain muscle definition what is needed is a balanced diet and a good exercise program that utilises the fat burning zone.

Did you notice when talking about muscle definition I said fat loss not weight loss? This brings me neatly on to the diet!

Your diet should retain proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats as these supply the body with energy and aid the body in every day life. You will find for fat loss your diet will also have a slightly reduced calorific intake.

When training your body will use carbohydrates and fats to sustain your energy needs. If you do not have a good level of energy stores and you train to a high intensity your body will then start using your muscle store for energy sustenance.

The training regime should be of an intensity that sits in the fat burning zone rather than the cardiovascular zone. For those burning with desire to get in to the fat burning zone the simple way to gauge this is as follows.

To get in to the fat burning zone we lower the intensity of the training workout (treadmill, cross trainer etc). The fat burning zone is the level at which you are training and your heart rate sits between 60% and 70% of its maximum heart rate.

To gain your fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate (220 minus your age) and multiply this by 60% to find your fat burning zone base heart rate is. To find your ceiling fat burning zone heart rate take your maximum heart rate and multiply this by 70%.


I'm 27 so...

220 - 27 = 193
193 x 60% = 116
193 x 70% = 135

This means when training in the fat burning zone my heart rate should always sit between 116 beats per minute and 135 beats per minute.


MickisMorsels said...

Thanks for the post. I'm heading to the gym right now with my new target heart rate. Woo hoo! Can't wait to see more stuff for ladies!