I would like to know how can I achieve defined muscles. I am not really after gaining tons of muscles, instead I'd like to be somehow like this guy, having my muscles defined. Can you please tell me a good workout plan for achieving this? Can this be achieved with compound movements? I heard that a good strategy would be to perform exercises with lighter weights than usual, but in many reps? Should I first build mass and then define it?

I have been going to the gym for around 2 months now. Since starting, I focused on compound exercises (deadlifts, squats etc), as I've read they are better for your health and also for building bigger mass. I heard they are also good for starters.

I am 1.79m tall (5.87ft) and weigh 73kg (161p), so you can probably imagine I'm not fat but a bit skinny actually (although I do have a bit of belly fat :D)

Thank you very much!

  • Definition means there is less fat covering your muscles. Reducing your body fat is the way to gain definition. Not necessarily more lifting. Although that doesn't hurt.
    – hortstu
    Commented Feb 6, 2014 at 17:21
  • For what it's worth, I reduced the fat on my limbs and got "toned", and what it revealed is that my muscles are there but they're scrawny. The goal should always be strength, and appearance follows (getting outside in the sun helps, too). Commented May 2, 2014 at 15:37

1 Answer 1


There's so many correct answers to your question. You can get closer to that guy's physique, but understand that it's going to look a bit different on your body. There are two major components to building a great physique, and you can't skip either one: nutrition and training.

  • Nutrition is composed of total calories, macro nutrients and micro nutrients in the correct balance to help you cut fat and increase muscle.
  • You need a target body fat percentage of 8-12% to achieve the definition of the model you linked to.
  • You also need to increase your muscle mass.

Getting to 8-12% body fat is all about nutrition. You need to eat enough protein and carbs to support the testosterone levels needed and at least preserve muscle mass while cutting. You can use the chart below to estimate where you are in your journey. The way you describe yourself leads me to believe that you are somewhere around 20% body fat.

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Compound exercises are a great way to build mass. You will do better starting with someone else's program before you start tailoring things to your individual needs. You can start with this beginner program. It should give you some structure and help you grow as a lifter. I would start by not deviating from it, but after you are done with the prescribed 12 weeks you can begin tailoring your work around what you perceive are problem areas.

I recommend finding a good support group that can help you troubleshoot what might not be working as well as you like. The last bit of advice I have for you is this:

There is no such thing as "best" or "optimal" in fitness. There is only "better".

It's so easy to get stuck on trying to find the best way or the most optimal way to cut fat, build muscle, etc. Every one of us responds differently to the same stimulus. All that means is that what works better for one person might not work better for you. Even when you find something that works, you may discover a better way later on. At the end of the day, you need to be working towards a better you, however you define it. Real world transformations take months to years.

  • Thanks a lot Berin for this response. I just accepted it as the answer. I will also read the other related question & answers to it indicated above. I totally agree with you that real transformations take months to years :)
    – Adrian
    Commented Feb 7, 2014 at 8:04

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