If you’ve been working out for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve seen someone who looks like a walking road map. They are so shredded and vascular it’s almost disgusting.
But you want to look like that, right?
Well since you are already lifting and hopefully eating a somewhat healthy diet, let’s dive into what makes someone vascular. While there are a few things you can do to increase vascularity, genetics will play a huge role in how they develop.
How to Create a Vascular Physique
Follow this list in order to ensure the most vascularity on your journey to becoming shredded. While not all of these apply to everyone, there are plenty of tips to here that can help you out.
Tip #1 – Lower Your Body Fat Percentage
First and foremost, it takes being relatively lean to be able to see veins pop. Sure, you have these behemoth monsters that are north of 300 pounds and vascular… But that is very uncommon.
Generally, the leaner you are, the more of an opportunity you have to be vascular. If you are carrying a lot of extra weight, clean up your diet, up your conditioning work, and start working on getting your body fat to a lower percentage.
Here’s a general breakdown of what to expect at what body fat percentage:
15%+ Body Fat. You’re holding on to too much body fat to really see any vascularity, even with a pump. The tips below will help increase vascularity, but you really need to focus on improving your overall physique here.
~12% Body Fat. Your arms show after a great workout. Your cephalic vein (you know, the infamous bicep vein) will start to peek through after a good workout. If you’re not quite vascular yet, the tips below should help you out.
~10% Body Fat. You are starting to get pretty lean and you will start seeing a lot more vascularity. Your genetics play a huge part here in determining whether you start to see a roadmap without a pump.
Your delts and quads should start to show some vascularity and the tips below will make a huge difference.
~8% Body Fat. Single digit body fat percentage can be hard to achieve, but by now you are starting to look like a walking road map. You’ll see clear overall vascularity without a pump.
Your abs should start showing signs of popping out at this level of leanness, depending on how much muscle mass you’ve built.
Clear arm, shoulder, and leg vascularity with and without a pump. Ab vascularity starts to show around this level of leanness too.
Below 8%. Hitting this body fat percentage takes a lot of preparation and execution. Being this lean means you are walking around stage ready.
If you’ve gotten down to below 8% body fat and have held onto muscle mass, you are aware of how vascular you are naturally. The tips below will turn you into a road map of downtown Cincinnati if you put some effort into it.
Tip #2 – Build More Muscle
Simply losing a lot of weight will not automatically give you a vascular physique; it takes a lot of hard work.
The more muscle mass you have, the closer your veins become to the top layer of skin. Your muscles are hungry for nutrients, and those veins and arteries are working hard to keep them nourished.
Building more muscle will be beneficial to your vascularity and physique, especially when you start getting under 15% body fat.
Tip #3 – Improve Vascular Health
Improving your cardiovascular health and conditioning will be the third most important tip you will take away from this article.
The easier your blood flows through your body, the better. You will need to improve your conditioning and start making better heart-healthy diet decisions.
Try long-term activities such as hiking, playing a sport, or utilize high-intensity interval training to improve your vascular health.
Tip #4 – Keep Water Retention Lower
Feeling bloated or visually seeing water retention will ruin any sort of vascularity you have. That party you went to over the weekend is wrecking your vascularity and you feel like crap after.
A few symptoms of water retention:
- Bloating, most noticeable in the midsection
- Stiff joints
- Swollen legs, feet, ankles
- Puffiness in your face and hands
- Weight fluctuation
If you’ve noticed bloating, start making better food choices and work on a healthier lifestyle.
Aside from your diet, there are other things that can cause water retention:
- Medications – Some medications affect your water retention as a side effect.
- Weak heart – If you have a weak heart or poor cardiovascular health, your body naturally retains water.
- Standing or sitting too long – If you have a desk job or a job on your feet all day, gravity naturally pulls blood into your lower extremities. Schedule time to get up and walk around if you have a sedentary job.
- Making healthy choices in regards to your lifestyle and what you eat will make a huge difference on how vascular you are.
Tip #5 – Eat Slow-Digesting Carbs
Slow-digesting carbohydrates along with limited salt intake will help eliminate the amount of water weight you are holding onto.
Carbohydrates with a low GI-index like rice and sweet potatoes help your body process the sodium in your system and will make your veins much more visible.
Tip #6 – Drink Enough Water
While I shouldn’t have to mention this, drinking enough water makes a huge difference in how much water your body holds, and how well your overall health is. Many people inadvertently stay in a state of slight dehydration which affects how you perform and look.
Start setting out to drink a gallon of water throughout the day and notice how much of a difference you feel.
Tip #7 – Try Natural Diuretics
There are a lot of foods that have some diuretic effects, which help you shed water weight and help you work towards a more vascular physique.
Some of these foods include:
While a natural diuretic should help you strip some water weight, having a balanced diet and watching your carb and sodium intake will make a bigger difference.
Tip #8 – Try Supplements
There are many supplements that increase your vascularity, help you dry out, and give you an overall better workout.
Some of these supplements include:
- Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator, meaning it relaxes your blood vessels, increases blood flow efficiency, and allows you to get more out of your workouts. L-Arginine used to be considered the premiere pump supplement because it is a nitric oxide precursor.
Tip #9 – Balance Your Sodium and Potassium Intake
Since we’ve gone over what holding water does to your vascularity, balancing your sodium and potassium intake is next. Sodium is well-absorbed and brings a lot of water weight with it.
Whenever you eat highly processed food like fast food, it causes your cells to temporarily retain water until balance can be restored to your cellular fluid levels.
Potassium plays a vital role in restoring this balance because it essentially pulls the fluid out of the cells. If you already have a relatively healthy diet, maintaining a balance between your sodium and potassium intake should help keep your water weight lower.
Tip #10 – Eat More Fish
While this is more broscience than proven evidence, eating tilapia is thought to promote weight loss, muscle growth, and has been mentioned by many that it helps to “thin” the skin.
Tilapia is great for you, rich in protein, and low in calories. While the effects mentioned above are debatable, eating tilapia is an excellent addition to any diet.
Tip #11 – Take Your Selfie Right After Training
For those of you who want to be “camera ready,” taking your selfie immediately after training should yield you the best results. Your vascular system is already dilated from your raised body temperature, and your blood is flowing to repair your muscles.
Take this time to find the right lighting and show off that bicep vein.
Tip #12 – Raise Your Body Temp
Raising your body temperature allows for better blood circulation, and helps to relax and dilate your vascular system.
Being more active keeps your body temperature higher, and adding some thermogenic supplements should really show your veins off.
Tip #13 – Get A Pump
It’s no secret that getting a pump is an easy way to get those veins popping.
Next time you go on a date, pick up some dumbbells and get a pump on. This should help you achieve getting your pump on later that night.
Tip #14 – Wear A Shirt With Tighter Sleeves
If you really want to be one of those guys, wearing tight sleeves will make you appear more vascular.
If you’ve ever gone to the hospital and gave blood, they use a tourniquet to restrict blood flow. While I don’t suggest wearing a smedium shirt, wearing something that puts some pressure on your arms should make your vascularity shine.
Tip #15 – Genetics
Genetics play one of the biggest roles in what your physique looks like. I wanted to put this on the list because no matter how many of these tips you utilize, some people just don’t have the genetics to look like someone in a muscle magazine.
Take all of this into consideration before you chalk off the rest of these tips.
Wrapping It Up
Having an impressive physique takes time and effort. Don’t rush the process and enjoy the journey to becoming a better you.
Make smarter decisions about what you eat, how much you move, and how much body fat you’re willing to hold onto if you really want to become vascular.