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9+1 tips: The right nutrition for muscle definition

Give fat the boot - less carbs, more protein

Successful muscle definition is the result of three elements: Building muscle, maintaining the newly built muscle and the right nutrition.

In many athletes, who have already built plenty of muscle mass, the individual muscle groups are often difficult to recognise. Muscle definition doesn’t mean increasing your weight training to build more muscles.

The key to muscle definition is actually the right diet. If you body fat percentage is too high, not even the best workout plan can help.

You need to burn body fat in combination with the right diet and additional endurance exercises.

1. Increase your protein intake

Proteins are essential for the cell structure and for muscle building. Depending on your requirements, you shout take in 1.8 - 2.3g of protein per kilogram of body weight for muscle definition.

Muscle definition summed up in one sentence: Proteins are essential to maintaining muscle mass, while at the same time reducing body fat.

Muscle definition means less body fat.

You need to understand that there is constant work going on in your muscles – building work and also repairs to be exact.

Work is going into overdrive when you are sleeping or resting. Your body converts the available protein building blocks into tools for these construction works.

If the body doesn’t have the tools it needs, i.e. a sufficient supply of protein, then it will fall back on protein stored in the muscles and synthesises it instead. Your body is deprived of important resources and you to lose that hard earned muscle mass as a result.

2. Use high-quality protein sources

Use varying sources of protein to meet your requirements. The nutrition plan for muscle definition should be supplemented with low-fat, protein-rich foods like chicken, beef, fish, eggs and dairy products.

Create balanced meals by combining vegetables and protein.

3. Reduce your carbohydrate intake

Carbohydrates may be the workout fuel for muscle definition, but only a moderate and reduced carbohydrate intake will allow you to stabilise your training level and burn body fat for better muscle definition.

Only when the carbohydrate stores are exhausted, does the body tap into the fat reserves for energy.

You can generally set a daily carbohydrate intake at 1 - 1.5g per kilogram of body weight.

Reduce the amount of carbohydrates in your diet and give preference to long-chain carbohydrates like whole grain products, oatmeal and rice, which release energy over a longer period of time and leave you feeling fuller for longer.

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4. Use good fats

Fat, carbohydrates and proteins are three of the micro nutrients that our body needs on a daily basis to maintain bodily processes.

While the body can produce carbohydrates on its own if needed, proteins and fats must be obtained from our food.

The supply of healthy (unsaturated) fats plays an important role in muscle definition and muscle building, especially when it comes to the release of testosterone.

We often eat the wrong fats, and far too much of it. It's all about quality rather than quantity.

Unsaturated fatty acids from plant oils (flax oil, olive oil), fish (cod, salmon), avocado and walnuts are ideal.

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5. Don't forget your fruit and veg

Vitamins and fibre in the form of fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy nutrition plan. Fibre should be part of your diet, both before and after a workout.

Use the following PDF documents to keep track of your eating habits and food intake:

6. Pay attention to your daily calorie consumption

Defining muscle and losing body fat is only possible when the body receives the appropriate signals in the form of a calorie deficit. At the same time, the body needs a sufficient supply of protein.

This simply means that you need to consume less than you expend.

Calculate the amount of calories you need to consume to achieve your goals now:

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7. Carbohydrates and proteins before & after a workout

A good diet to support muscle definition is also about eating the right things before and after your workout. A combination of carbohydrates and protein is ideal.

You will have the best supply of energy by consuming about 50-100g of carbohydrates and 20-30g of protein about 1 hour before your workout.

300g quark and 100g berries is ideal. This equates to about 250 kcal, 2g fat, 21g carbohydrates and 37g protein.

A protein shake, for example whey protein with 1-2 tablespoons of oatmeal, makes for a quicker alternative. Combined with fast acting amino acids, i.e. protein, the process of muscle definition is supported perfectly.

After a workout, the body needs quick and effective carbohydrates and protein to prevent nutrient deficiencies and loss of muscle mass.

Try and consume a sufficient amount of protein and fast-acting carbohydrates within 30 minutes of completing your workout. Foods with a high glycaemic index (GI) make an ideal post-workout snack.

A home-made shake with quark, bananas and milk offers a quick supply of energy. Alternatively, have a protein shake with orange juice or a banana!

60-90 minutes after your workout, we recommend simple, fast carbohydrates and about 50g of protein.  How about a meal, consisting of a low-fat protein source like meat, low-fat fish or egg whites and carbohydrates with a low glycaemic index like oatmeal, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta or potatoes?

8. The right combination of weight training & endurance training

We recommend that you strike a good balance between strength and endurance exercises in your workout plan. Weight training helps build and strengthen your muscles. Invest plenty of time in an additional endurance training to help reduce body fat further.

Tip: Vary your workouts! We recommend high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to ramp up fat burning processes. An example of an appropriate HIIT exercise would be a 20-minute burpee workout.

9. Take your time

As well as the appropriate nutrition and a perfectly-coordinated workout plan, regeneration also plays an important role in muscle definition. Make sure you take breaks and get enough sleep and rest.

Muscles regenerate best with workout intervals of 24 - 48 hours.

Allow yourself at least 8 hours of sleep to make sure you are fit for your next workout. Miracles don't happen overnight. Visible results in muscle definition take time.

Additional tip: In addition to your regular diet, we recommend sports nutrition in the form of protein shakes and BCAA capsules to cover the increased demand for proteins and amino acids for muscle definition.

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