How to Build Body Definition

Body definition occurs when lean muscle mass is increased and overall body fat is decreased. Carrying an excess amount of body fat will result in lack of definition, even if you continue to build muscle. A significant percentage of fat-free mass must be present in order to gain muscle definition. Achieving this look requires time, patience and dedication to workouts and a balanced diet. The actual length of time needed will depend on your current fitness level.

A fit, muscular woman is stretching prior to exercise. (Image: curtis_creative/iStock/Getty Images)

Build Muscle

Step 1

Build muscle mass by lifting weights. Do strength training workouts four to six days a week.

Step 2

Complete lower repetitions with heavier weights. Pick a weight that you can successfully lift for 12 reps, but no more. The weight should be challenging, but possible to lift. Do three to four sets of each exercise.

Step 3

Choose multi-joint exercises. For example, do squats, lunges, bench presses, pull-ups and shoulder presses. Allow adequate recovery between sets. Rest two to three minutes before beginning another set.

Step 4

Complete a building muscle phase for four to six weeks. Choose a longer period if you wish to gain the maximum amount of muscle.

Cut the Fat

Step 1

Complete four to six weeks of a fat-burning phase. Do this by continuing to lift weights, but increase your repetitions to 15 each set.

Step 2

Rest for 30 seconds to one minute after each set. Keep your heart rate high to continue burning calories throughout the entire workout.

Step 3

Include cardiovascular training three to five days a week. Do a combination of moderate- and high-intensity cardio. Aim for 30 minute sessions.

Step 4

Do running, incline walking or cycling for your cardio. Participate in a group fitness class step aerobics, spinning or kickboxing to keep yourself motivated.

Decrease Your Calories

Step 1

Decrease the amount food you are eating to reveal body definition. Your body-weight goal will determine how many calories to cut each day.

Step 2

Reduce your caloric intake by 3,500 calories weekly -- 500 per day -- to lose 1 pound. Limit sugar and saturate fat. Replace with lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. Consume a moderate amount of whole grains.

Step 3

Keep your water intake high. Drink water throughout the day and during each workout session. Limit any consumption of sports drinks or other high calorie beverages.

Things You'll Need

  • Weight scale

  • Tape measure

  • Access to weights

  • Running shoes


If you want to build more lean mass, simply increase the number of weeks you spend building muscle. Eight weeks will be sufficient. After going through the cutting phase, you can return to a building program if you choose to gain more size. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, expect to spend several months to a year building muscle and losing body fat.


Yo-yo dieting is unsafe and not effective for long term results. Find your ideal weight and strive to maintain it year round. Spending too much time in a caloric deficient may have adverse health effects. Seek a balanced diet with sufficient calories for optimal nutrition. Always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program.

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