Volume vs. definition; meaning, phases and recommendations
Volume or definition? This question is surely one of the most recurring in gyms and fitness rooms.
A lot of athletes ask themselves this question when they want to start a training routine focused on the fitness. Should i prioritize the muscle mass gain with a good volume phase or focus for a season on definition?
Well, these and other questions are what I intend to solve in this publication. A basic guide to guide those athletes who want to focus their physical and nutritional efforts on a specific stage.
What does it mean to be in volume?
If you have been in the field of fitness and bodybuilding for a while, the word will surely have reached your earsvolume" A term that goes beyond determining the amount of physical exercise and is also used to refer to a muscle gain period.
The volume phase in the gym means precisely this. A time interval in which our goals will be aimed at gaining muscle.
Although it is usually related, we do not have to make the mistake of relating a volume phase to a period in which we will gain “strength”. The relationship is not always intrinsic since the main priority of an athlete who is in volume is to increase the muscles.
The bodybuilders They are fully aware of the importance of this phase, but athletes or athletes who do not have competitive pretensions often make the mistake of skipping this period or of skipping it with the sole argument of "not being covered up".
Obviously everyone likes to wear a defined body on the beach, but what many fitness athletes should ask themselves is that of; ¿What am I going to define if I have nothing to define?
Indeed, in order to show off your muscle groups to the maximum, you will first have to work on them. This implies time, patience and progressive growth.
At any properly planned volume stage it is impossible to increase muscle mass significantly without having to give up a low percentage of body fat.
Although good planning will seek maximize lean mass gain and minimize fat mass, it will be impossible to maintain a high level of definition.
Obviously here is the grace and work of the physical trainers and nutritionists. Know how to program this stage as well as possible. The more fat you gain, the more difficult it will be for you to redefine. The correct distribution of macronutrients will be essential to successfully overcome this phase.
"The more fat you gain, the more difficult it will be for you to redefine"
It is generally customary to limit 25% body fat as a limit for a bulking stage. Higher figures may occur in certain cases, but great care should be taken not to overstretch the subsequent definition phase.
A volume phase is achieved mainly through a hypercaloric diet. That is, a nutritional guideline that helps you gain weight in a healthy way. A phase of calorie surplus in which we will contribute more calories to the body than we really "spend". It is important to follow a healthy hypocaloric diet to avoid precisely this excessive accumulation of fat that I mentioned earlier.
Generating a caloric surplus based on saturated fats and processed foods is very easy, doing it in a healthy way and with foods rich in micronutrients, I assure you it is not so much.
What is the muscle definition?
The muscle definition phase would be just the opposite of a volume phase. I say it would come to be, because it is not exactly the opposite.
If in a volume phase we seek to gain muscle, in a definition phase we do not seek to lose it. What we are looking for in definition is to "highlight" as much as possible the muscles of our body.
A definition phase is achieved through a hypocaloric diet in which we restrict food intake to generate a deficit and therefore a weightloss.
Previously I commented that one of the main problems of the volume phases is the excessive increase in body fat. Well, in the definition phase the main danger is in “losing muscle”.
Fortunately, losing muscle is not, like gaining it, so easy. Catabolizing (losing muscle) is much more complicated than it seems and the definition would have to be very aggressive or prolonged to get to this point.
The definition phase could be defined in a certain way as the “set-up” for the competition, or for those who do not seek a competitive end, the final phase of the bikini operation.
Every definition phase should be progressive and with a moderate impact, to avoid falling into a dreaded metabolic grave and ultimately the excessive slowdown of the metabolism.
Volume phase vs. definition phase
The first thing you should be clear about is that each phase has its benefits and its drawbacks.
A bulking phase implies that certain muscles are "covered", that you may lose the wonderful six pack and that your body will be less "pretty"
On the contrary, you will be able to eat with more tranquility and enjoy food more since a definition phase is the much more restrictive diet.
Don't take it like that in a volume phase "you get fat" and in a definition "you lose weight". Although the scale is limited to assessing your body for body weight, be aware that you are building and traveling a much longer path.
If you really want to progress and enjoy good health, it is impossible to be in a definition or a permanent volume.
Volume and definition in beginners
If you are a beginner or you have only been in fitness and bodybuilding for a short time, the first thing you should do before starting is assess your current physical condition.
For the newly initiated there is no entirely clear planning. If you are seriously overweight and your body fat is high, your efforts should be aimed at losing weight and losing fat.
It will be when you reach an improved physical condition when you can begin to consider entering a volume or definition phase.
If you have a normal body weight and body fat at acceptable levels, it will depend fundamentally on the time you have been training.
If you are "thin" but have not acquired a certain level of muscle mass or technique in basic exercises, it is important that you dedicate some time to these aspects.
Adaptation to objectives
If you ask me if a volume or definition phase is more convenient for you, the first thing you should answer me is what are your goals and your current physical condition.
If your only interest is to wear a good tablet on the beach and your claims do not go beyond feeling comfortable with your own body, being somewhat muscular and leading a healthy life would tell you to enjoy sports and not even consider one another phase, at least in a concrete way.
On the contrary, if your objectives are to compete or you have in mind the idea of seeking permanent physical improvement that motivates you to continue progressing, perhaps you should seriously consider the possibility of entering a period of definition or volume. .
The volume phase is crucial to improve over time, while the volume phase is vital to have an aesthetic body.
Evaluate your short, medium and long-term goals and start mapping the goal that can bring you closer to them.
My advice is clear: "Don't train to lose weight, train to become stronger over time."