When we think about fitness, there are really two sides to it in the forefront of our minds. The first is usually cosmetic – we want to look fit, we want to look good, we want to appeal to others visually. The health benefits are also important but are rarely the most immediate concern. Well, some people may balk at “vanity” concerns like this, but really, feeling good about our looks is mentally and physically healthy overall.
At Gaspari, while we’re all about helping you be as fit as possible, we’re also about positive body image. We want to point out, above all else, that you should not let popular social idealism nor commercial images dictate how you feel about yourself. The primary purpose of fitness, for your own self-esteem, should be a desire for a healthier, longer life.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with looking good being an additional and also strong motivation, as long as your heart is in the right place priority-wise. Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder, though. Some might find a smooth, toned physique to be their personal ideal fit appearance. Others will value more bulging and defined musculature, and often, a very vascular look as well.
When you picture bodybuilders, you imagine two things, right? Serious, chiseled muscles, and those defined veins along the arms and torso. Some might even wonder if those bulging veins are a sign of good health. After all, blood pressure is something to be conscious of, and that would seem like a sign of serious pressure. That’s not actually the case entirely, as we’re going to learn today.
Let’s first understand what this vascularity is, and how it differentiates from signs of high blood pressure, which does also cause veins to “throb” at times.
How It Works
Blood veins and vessels aren’t rigid structures stretched by blood pressure alone. They can actually dilate and contract, regulating the flow of blood to the body. This is why things like caffeine can provide a boost of energy, dilating veins and delivering more nutrients and oxygen. Similarly, analgesics like aspirin will also dilate your circulatory system as well as thin the blood a bit for rapid oxygen delivery.
When you work out, your heart rate will increase, and so will your blood pressure to an extent, yes. However, under ideal circumstances, this increase in blood pressure is a healthy thing, not a cause for concern. To compensate, and allow the body to perform to the new demands made of it, it these veins will also dilate considerably as more blood is being pumped to carry fuel and oxygen.
When blood veins stand up during very sedentary times when you’ve not been active, this is when you may have cause for concern, and should seek medical advice.
How to Get Vascular
Before we go over six things you can do to increase your vascularity, it’s important to note that due to how it works (described above), you will not always have a severely vascular look, as, during more rested times, your veins will also be relaxed. However, depending on your build, there may still be some level of added definition to your vascularity even when at rest, though it will always be milder.
Step 1: Leanness
Most people who are overweight, or even of “average ideal” body fat, will not look vascular even when their heart rate is accelerated. This isn’t due to veins not dilating properly, but because there’s too much tissue between them and your epidermis to be properly visible.
This is why people who aren’t bodybuilders, but sleek and athletic, really don’t have that vascular look even during a workout or when playing a sport. However, achieving a sleek athletic leanness is definitely the first step, just as it is in any part of a bodybuilding journey. It’s also the hardest part of a journey to fitness, but well worth it.
Step 2: Start Building
To look truly swole, you’re going to need to start building muscle onto your new lean physique. This means you’ll be gaining back some of the weight you may have lost on your journey to leanness, but that’s okay – this will be muscle weight. Muscle weighs a good bit more than fat, so the more muscle you pile on, the more weight you will gain back.
Step 3: Remember Cardio
You probably did a lot of cardio on your initial journey to losing body fat and becoming leaner. You may feel like, once you’ve adopted some serious muscle building routines, that cardio is just a nuisance.
This is folly for many reasons – heart health and a more effective muscle workout for one. Another is that it gets the blood pumping, it heats the body up, and will contribute to the prominent veins needed for that masterfully-sculpted vascular look you desire.
Step 4: Chasing the Pump
Amazingly, this is a term that many people may be unfamiliar with and basically means using exercises to target cellular swelling and expanded veins in the desired areas. For example, if you want your biceps to look vascular, you would end your routine by targeting these areas with curls or lifting of some sort, which works those muscles particularly hard.
Some also use circulatory restriction with this, to further enhance the definition of veins in the target areas as well. This is not something we want to advise doing, as any kind of circulatory inhibition is definitely not good for your body.
Step 5: Supplements
You’re already on a regimen of supplements if you’ve truly dedicated yourself not just to fitness, but truly shaping yourself to a new image. At Gaspari, we offer a wide range of supplements that are excellent for enhancing that vascular look, while providing other workout benefits along the way. Among these are creatine, thermogenics to heat the body up, nitrates, and citrulline. Many of these are vasodilators, which both provide better circulation during exercise and help to provide those defined veins you desire.
Step 6: Timing on Pictures
So, if you’re looking to take some selfies and really show off that defined and vascular look, you will want to take this selfie right after your work out. It may feel counterintuitive, being a sweaty and disheveled mess right after an intense workout.
You actually have a good fifteen minutes, on average, when you’re at your peek vascularity if your workout was sufficient. This gives you time to shower off and groom yourself and take a selfie. You will have captured yourself looking as swole as you can!
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