You’ve worked hard, lifted the weight, put in the hours, trained to exhaustion and gone back for more. Now it’s time to get ripped and shed excess fat and water weight. Maintaining those hard earned gains while getting down to a lean body fat percentage is a tricky balance of calories, exercise, supplements and hydration. Whether you’re trying to get lean for a competition or a photo shoot, or just to be the best you can be, here are some tips for getting lean, getting ripped and getting psyched about it!
4 Weeks 2 Shred
You may be familiar with Kris Gethin’s 4 Weeks 2 Shred program. The same principles he uses in his trademark program are the foundation of getting ripped safely and quickly. A safe and effective strategy for getting lean includes regimented quality nutrition, consistent workouts, supplements, and rest. Body fat percentage has a lot to do with just how ripped you can actually get. Another popular program is Men’s Fitness’ 7% Body Fat Diet. As the program states, getting to a 7% body fat state takes hard work and dedication. A body fat percentage that low may not be healthy or even achievable for some people, but the same foundational principals of quality diet, consistent training, supplements and rest can help you achieve a body that is healthy ripped muscle.
Eating To Get Lean
We’re way beyond eliminating processed foods here. And if you’re still eating that kind of garbage, take a lap. The best way to start any shredding diet is to determine how many calories and how much of each micronutrient (carbohydrates, proteins, fat, minerals, vitamins) you need for optimal health. Begin by multiplying your current body weight by 12. This is the number of calories you need every day. Be honest. If you have a lot of fat to lose then do this equation using your goal weight as your current body weight. By a lot of body fat, we’re talking about 20+ pounds, not a few extra nagging pounds.
Example: Current weight: 185 x 12 = 2,220 calories per day
Your diet should include one gram of protein for each pound of body weight. So if you weigh 185 pounds, you need 185 grams of protein. To put this in perspective, the average size chicken breast has 43 grams of protein; an egg, 6 grams. You can do the math from here.
30% of your diet should come from healthy fats, like avocados, raw nuts, olives, salmon and tofu. Don’t skimp on the fat. It’s what will keep you fueled and satisfied and out of the snack drawer. The rest of your diet should be carbohydrates. Choose quality, low fat carbs that will deliver a nutritional punch… Sweet potatoes, whole grains like brown rice and quinoa, whole fruits – stay away from juices which contain too much sugar and convert to fat – vegetables and legumes.
Make A Plan And Stick To It
Simple, right! Lean protein, good fats, quality carbs. It’s preparation that makes the difference. Don’t add sweeteners or butter or more than a tablespoon of olive oil when preparing your food. Weigh and measure everything so you aren’t eating too much or too little. Get rid of salt. Just throw it away. There’s enough sodium naturally in food that adding table salt will make getting ripped that much harder.
If you’re a snacker, make sure to allocate some of your daily servings to between meal servings. This will help you maintain blood sugar levels so you don’t get hungry and grab the easiest thing which might be the worst thing for your diet.
You can stick with your supplement regimen while shredding, but check labels for added sugar and sodium. Some supplements, like creatine, can cause water retention, so this may be a good time to reduce or eliminate any non-essential supplements from your diet.
Hydration Is Key
Water is the source of life. And it’s the source of success when it’s time to shred. If you get dehydrated your body is going to hold on to every drop of water and ounce of fat to protect vital organs, making it almost impossible to get down to your desired body fat percentage. Moreover, when you’re dehydrated your energy (and will power) levels drop, making your workouts more challenging and making it harder to stick to plan. So drink up – ideally a gallon or more of water per day. You’ll look and feel healthier, and your body will perform at peak levels.
Don’t forget to rest. Training and dieting are taxing on the body so try to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. Sleep allows the body to repair itself and it allows your system to cycle out the toxins and restore for the next day.
If you follow a strict diet, choose your supplements wisely and drink enough water to stay fully hydrated, you’ll see a ripped man in the mirror before you know it.