The Fit 5: Muscle Definition


For all of our fans who shoot us questions on our Facebook page, this one is for you. Each week, we will tap into our pool of editors and experts to help with any questions or challenges you are having with your fitness regimen. This week, Sean Hyson C.S.C.S., Group Training Director for Muscle & Fitness and Men’s Fitness magazines, answers questions about the best dieting and exercise techniques to achieve the definition you want. Be sure to read up on all of Sean’s articles here on or in Men’s Fitness and Muscle & Fitness magazines each month. You can also catch Sean on Twitter

1) Undefined — asked by Andrew Bettinger I’ve tried many workouts. What will get me more definition?
“If you’re satisfied with your workouts, the problem is probably what you’re eating. Only eat starchy and sugary carbs within a few hours after lifting weights. On days you don’t lift, get your carbs only from vegetables and a small amount of fruit. Eat a gram of protein for every pound of your body weight daily.”
2) Set Variations — asked by Etienne Calderon What are the advantages of drop sets versus burn sets?
“They extend the length of the set to allow you more reps and thus more time under tension, which leads to greater muscle exhaustion. This is one way to boost muscle growth. Typically, you reduce the load you’re using by 10% to 20% and force out another two or three reps.”
3) Weight Loss Plateaus — asked by Drew Richards I’ve lost 45 pounds since last October and now I’m having trouble losing another 15 pounds. Which should I do more of: cardio or weight training? I also eat lots of fish, veggies and protein supplements to help. Is there something I’m missing?
“You may just be trying too hard. Have at least one day a week where you load up on calories and carbs—sweet potatoes and oats would be best. This will speed up your metabolism and create a hormonal boost that can help you burn more fat in the aftermath.”
4) Best Practices — asked by Matt Shannon If I want to get cut, what would be the ideal body fat percentage to start and what would be the best method of going about it? Do you suggest high intensity cardio or repping out resistance training?
“There’s no ideal percentage of body fat needed as a prerequisite to start getting cut. Just start! If you wanted to gain muscle, you’d need to be about 15% body fat or less to ensure that you didn’t pack on a lot of fat with it. High-intensity cardio, low-intensity/long-duration cardio (walking), and lifting are all very good methods to get lean.”
5) Fat Burning Foods — asked by Christopher Mezey What are some of the best foods for getting lean and defined?
“Kimchi is one you probably haven’t tried. Popular in Asian cuisine, it’s a fermented cabbage dish (like sauerkraut) that helps digestion and is loaded with fiber—two key aspects of weight loss. Coconut oil can help free up fatty acids to burn and is a good fuel source before workouts.”