Having big strong muscles without any vein showing looks like you’ve only got implants to look muscular. It lacks that ripped physique we’re all going for – and that’s why many spend so much time trying to learn how to increase vascularity.
You might think that having the veiny and muscular physique of a ripped bodybuilder is hard. Well, you would be wrong.
It is actually only a combination of the right nutrition and enough exercise. To achieve this, it is as simple as…
Losing Body Fat
Perhaps this is the most obvious and crucial requirement to make your veins pop on top of your muscles.
Since body fat is found between your skin and veins and muscles, having too much fat would cover up the veins and sculpted hard muscles that you would want to be visible on your physique.
But, how low should your body fat percentage be to make those veins pop out? For men, one would usually have to get to a body fat percentage of below ten percent.
You might think that this is quite a tall order to achieve. But in truth, you would only need to target two things: the proper diet and the right nutrient timing.
The Proper Diet
For the right fat loss diet, one would not need to look any further than Vince Gironda’s steak and eggs diet for his clients, both body builders and actors alike.
In this diet, meals would consist of only steak and eggs, which can be prepared any way you would like. The only restriction is there should be no carbohydrates in the form of either starch or sugar.
To get the same fat loss benefits, you don’t have to follow the steak and eggs diet in an exact way. As long as you avoid carbohydrates, you can achieve the same effect with vegetables and oils as sources of fat and other meat for protein.
By staying away from carbs, you are depleting your body’s blood sugar (or glucose) levels. Once your body runs out of glucose, it turns to fat metabolism – a natural process of your body known as ketosis.
When your body has burned all the fat from your diet, it then turns to the stubborn body fat you’re aiming to lose.
Just keep in mind there will be an adjustment period of discomfort. This varies depending on how used you are to carbohydrates.
Taking exogenous ketones could speed up the adjustment and make your body get into fat burning mode faster.
Researchers have found improvements of nutrient timing in blood glucose, insulin concentration, insulin sensitivity, and inflammation markers like adiponectin.
The Right Nutrient Timing
To be clear, nutrient timing is any planned alteration on one’s macronutrient intake for the purposes of health, athletic performance, and/or body composition.
There are many ways to time your meals to achieve fat loss or any goal you might have. For our purposes and to make it is as effective as a no-carbohydrate diet, we will be focusing on intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that alternates between a period of eating and fasting. This method of fasting takes advantage of the natural response to an absence of nourishment, putting the body under mild stress.
Usually, a fasting period would last at least 12 hours every day. But, research suggests that a 16-hour fasting period and an 8-hour window for eating for eight weeks is the best strategy to decrease fat mass while maintaining muscle mass.
However, keep in mind that you must not overeat to compensate for the periods in which you’ve fasted. Research on intermittent fasting has found that such behavior will only counteract any benefits that could have been achieved.
Of course, before you start with a no-carbohydrate diet or intermittent fasting, it is advisable to check with a medical practitioner if you have any medical conditions that might prevent you from doing so.
And, lastly, remember not to overdo it and go lower than the lower limit for a healthy individual (4-6% for men).
Building Muscle Mass
Bigger and stronger muscles require more oxygen and nutrients. And, to get more of what a stronger and bigger muscle requires, the body will adapt to it by increasing the size of veins for enhanced blood flow.
This is why those with greater muscle mass have more vascularity than those with lesser muscle mass despite having the same body fat percentage.
The obvious fact to having bigger and stronger muscles is having the right workout program and the right diet. But, the lesser known fact is that your testosterone levels could affect how big you can get.
You could easily increase the amount of testosterone in your body through natural T-boosting foods. Examples of such are onions, raw eggs, green leafy vegetables (like celery and spinach), fava beans, nuts (like almonds and Brazil nuts), and oils (like olive oil and coconut oil).
However, like everything with our body, testosterone must be in balance with what is actually needed. Too much of it could increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and raise your levels of body fat.
Doing Your Cardio
If you’re building big and strong muscles, it is popular practice to skip the cardio. Thing is, aside from creating a calorie deficit for your fat loss ambitions, cardiovascular training actually increases your body’s capillary density as a response to its physical demands.
Moreover, consistent cardiovascular training promotes better blood flow to your muscles. And, eventually, your veins will become more prominent with adequate blood flow in them.
Aside from making your veins show more, increased Nitric Oxide levels in your blood improve blood pressure regulation, as well as enhance nutrient and oxygen delivery.
Nitric Oxide levels in your blood improve blood pressure regulation, as well as enhance nutrient and oxygen delivery.
Increasing Nitric Oxide Levels
Speaking of blood flow, another scientifically proven method of improving it is by increasing the Nitric Oxide content in your blood. Nitric Oxide keeps your blood vessels smooth and flexible.
The smoothness and flexibility help your blood vessels to easily dilate when increased blood flow is needed to any part of your body. This response of dilation for increased blood flow is called vasodilation.
Nitric Oxide’s effect on vasodilation improvement is the reason why most pre-workout supplements have ingredients meant to increase it.
Furthermore, with how important blood flow is for one’s athletic performance, there are various supplements available in the market that are solely designed to naturally improve the body’s vasodilation. The best natural vasodilator supplements are L-citrulline and L-arginine.
Aside from supplementation, you can also boost your nitric oxide levels by eating foods rich in nitrates.
The nitrates present from these are converted into nitric oxide by the bacteria present in your digestive system. Examples of such are garlic, spinach, pomegranate, arugula lettuce, iceberg lettuce, beets, and celery.
Eating Foods for Increased Vascularity
For an instant and temporary fix for vascularity, thermogenic foods can help those veins pop out.
Thermogenic foods can increase your body’s basal temperature which increases blood flow towards your skin. This increased blood flow towards your skin will temporarily increase your vascularity.
Avoiding Water Retention
Other than fat, water can also prevent your veins from showing. This is due to the excess salt you have in your body.
To counteract water retention, the most common approach is the use of diuretics.
But, misuse of diuretics could easily harm your body. For this reason, a natural and safer approach is to simply remove poor quality salt from your diet, which is mostly present in processed food.
You can easily ensure salt quality for your meal preparation by specifically going for Himalayan salts and unrefined sea salt.
Also, contrary to popular belief, drinking water will not cause water retention. It actually rids your body of excess salt or sodium present in your body.
Aside from water, potassium can help prevent and reduce water retention. It does this by lowering your sodium and increasing urine production. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, tomatoes, and avocadoes.
Lastly, if you’re not avoiding refined carbohydrates because of how bad it is for your health and physique, you better start now.
Refined carbohydrates cause dramatic increases to your body’s blood sugar that cause higher insulin levels. The body responds to the increase of insulin by retaining more sodium by re-absorbing sodium found in the kidneys back into your blood stream.
Refined carbs always cause dramatic increases to your body's blood sugat that cause higher insulin levels. The body responds to this by retaining more sodium.
Supplementing With Epicatechin (From Dark Chocolate)
Epicathechin supplements get a special spot in this list as it hits everything that you need for vascularity.
It increases the body’s Nitric Oxide production, while making it easier to build skeletal muscle. Epicathechin also suppresses the appetite and improves insulin sensitivity.
Plus, you get all these benefits without any water retention.
Aside from supplements, you can find great Epicathechin content in cocoa. Therefore, if you’re going to grab a snack, make it a bar of unsweetened dark chocolate.
With the several points explained above, you can easily achieve the physique you are aiming for. A disciplined and conscious approach to all of these things is the only thing required.
Simply put, now that you know how to increase vascularity, there’s only one thing left for you to do – and that is to stick to these tips to get those veins popping in no time.