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First days in the gym: volume or definition?

The fact of deciding between volume or definition to start in the gym is a frequent question that arises when entering a fitness and bodybuilding room the first few times. Ask yourself, where do I start, with volume or definition exercises? It is normal and you must be clear that getting a good physical shape and a powerful and well-defined musculature requires time and effort. At first, choosing volume or definition is something that depends on very different factors that should be known.

Physical fitness, your body mass index, and especially the percentage of fat that your body accumulates, are the aspects that you must take into account when defining your weekly training and deciding what you need first: increase volume or work definition. Keep reading to know more!

The adaptation period during the first days of gym

If your goal is to increase the volume and tone of your muscles, surely you want to start working hard from minute one of training in the gym, but those first purposes will not work if you do not carry out a period of learning and adaptation that will last at least a few months.

Knowing the techniques to perform basic exercises such as barbell squats, dumbbell curls, chin-ups or deadlifts, is essential both to define and to gain muscle. Controlling your breathing, the proper warm-up, the weight you must use in each exercise, the number of repetitions, and series are just some of the aspects that you should work on in your first weeks at the gym.

In this fundamental period of adaptation, you will gain general physical shape, probably by losing fat and reducing your weight. Only then should you move on to phase two, which will focus on strength training to either grow your muscles or provide the tone they lack.

Which is better, start with the volume or with the toning?

Giving a correct answer to this question and deciding between volume or definition in the first days at the gym implies having two clear concepts:

  1. To grow, your muscles need exercise but also a hypercaloric diet that provides them with the macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) that their development requires. Without a proper diet, it is impossible for your muscles to increase volume.
  2. An excess of body fat, which covers a large part of your muscles, will make any effort aimed at gaining definition useless.

The analysis of your own constitution will be the one that determines if, in your case, it is better to start in the gym gaining volume or defining. Most coaches agree that the idea is to start with the volume increase phase because, logically, to be able to define, you must first have good muscles.

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Shawna Anderson

Bsc in Human Nutrition and Dietetics from the Complutense University of Madrid. I love writing about nutrition and health and related topics. I have written for some famous newspapers and magazines for the last 6 years.

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