building muscles w/o loosing definition

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    Mar 21, 2009 4:47 PM GMT
    Hey guys,
    I have been a runner since middle school and I've been pretty thin (and toned), but I'm trying to switch gears now. I would like to build more muscle, but I don't want to lose the definition I have, and I'd like to increase it in areas like my arms and back. I am working out three days a week with cardio after, (I rock climb the other two days and once during the weekend I do some sport) and I had the idea that I should do one week of muscle building with high weight and low reps, and one week of toning with high reps and low weight. But I can't find any information about this online, just muscle building or defining, not both. Any thoughts?

    Also, should I be doing the same exercises for building and toning? I think I've heard that different exercises achieve different goals. If this is true any advice on where to find that info? There are a lot of personal trainers at my gym, but none speak english so I thought I'd post here. Thanks in advance.
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    Mar 21, 2009 5:53 PM GMT
    I had a similar background: a triathlete (skinny part) who had done yoga and pilates (whole body strength). I´m also similar in that I only do 3 days lifting a week and use 3 days for other stuff (in my case pilates).

    The trad line is that building and defining muscles are two different things and that you´d do a longish phase of bulking and another of cutting. One week is not enough. A month or two is perhaps more normal. You dón´t need to follow that pattern: you can just work slowly building mass.

    To get more mass you need to eat more and lift. You probably need to eat more. Also beware that gaining more mass will make climbing harder..

    Perhaps the pros will commment ;)

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    Mar 26, 2009 7:32 AM GMT
    I'm not a pro either, lol. But I think lostboy's right. Switching week to week just doesnt seem to be a viable way to put on muscle. As soon as you would start to get somewhere, you will burn off any gains once you go back to a "toning" routine. Consider switching every 8 weeks.

    You bring up a point I have always wondered about-- what is accomplished in high reps vs low reps. Now, my understanding is that high reps (10-15) result in hypertrophy (big muscles) and low reps result in increased strength. Toning I think is more a function of fat loss than of actual muscle building. This is all just one lifter to another type of information to me. Does anyone else have an opinion or, even better, actual evidence on this subject?

    If you're after big, toned muscles (who isnt right), try doing 3x10-12 reps for your lifts. Increase your caloric intake and decrease cardio when bulking, vice versa when cutting. Good luck dude.
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    Mar 26, 2009 9:40 AM GMT
    If you want to appear muscular and lean it is necessary to build muscle with resistance exercises and keep the bodyfat below 10%. You need to do resistance exercises three to four times a week. That is every week
    Cardio is necessary to keep the body fat off. Cardio should not be excessive. If you go over 40 to 50 minutes a day you will start burning muscle. These are just ballpark figures and will depend on your metabolism. Different articles will give differing amounts of time before cardio becomes counterproductive.

    The following was taken from a fitness web page. I follow these recommendations.

    When you train with low reps (1 – 5), the adaptations that make you stronger are mostly neurological: You develop an increased ability to recruit more muscle fibers, you stimulate the higher threshold fibers that are not activated with high rep, low weight sets, you decrease neuromuscular inhibition, and there is increased coordination between the muscle groups. However, with low reps, the hypertrophy (size increase) of the muscle fibers is minimal. (Arnold Schwarzenegger recommends 5 reps for 5 sets with heavy weights)

    When you train with medium reps (6-12) the adaptations are more metabolic and cellular and only moderately neurological. This is why 6-12 reps is the range most often recommended for bodybuilding and hypertrophy. You get bigger and stronger in this rep range, but your strength gains are not maximal. This explains why some bodybuilders look stronger than they are (and why they are often the brunt of jokes made by powerlifters and weight lifters; i.e. “big, weak, slow, useless muscles”, ha ha).

    When you train with higher reps (13-20+), the adaptations are mostly metabolic and cellular. This rep range produces local muscular endurance, a small degree of hypertrophy in certain cellular components such as the mitochondria and the capillaries, and very little strength.

    Here is an article from describing how to get cut without getting huge

    Good luck achieving your goal