Getting shredded is hard work. You need to be at the gym 6 days a week, eat five meals per day, count every calorie and macro, take supplements, get 8 (or more!) hours of sleep…
… or do you?
Getting ripped is like anything else in life: you can make it as complicated as you want…
… or you can find the very essentials needed to build a lean physique that will turn eyes when you take your T-shirt off at any beach party.
In this article, I’ll show you exactly how to get shredded for the summer and use these essentials to build an amazing body that impresses guys and attracts girls, while still having a life outside of the gym.
Why being shredded is important
I know you’re all set to hit the gym hard, but I want you to know exactly what benefits of being shredded are.
So first, we have to answer a fundamental question:
Why is being shredded even important?
Couldn’t you just do Starting Strength, drink 4 liters of milk per day and get fat and bloated? I mean, you’d still be plenty strong, right?
Yes, if strength is your only goal, you can do that. But you and I want to be strong and look good.
Here are the reasons why having a low body fat percentage is absolutely essential to being a real man.
Reason #1: You’ll get more attention from girls
Do girls just seem not to notice you at all, like you were a ghost?
That’s because you don’t have the most attractive characteristics that come with low body fat: better facial aesthetics and a good shoulder-to-hip ratio.
Attractive facial aesthetics, according to science, include a symmetrical face, chiseled jawline, pronounced cheekbones and an imposing brow.
But what can you do if you were born without Hollywood actor looks?
Losing fat brings your face closer to the ideal look girls fall for.
Here’s famous actor Chris Pratt before and after he lost weight.
I think this is all the evidence you need.
Next, a good shoulder-to-hip ratio is possibly even more important.
A study found that 80 percent of women said that a wide shoulder-to-hip ratio is the most attractive feature a man can have.
To get that Adonis look, you need to 1) lose the belly fat and 2) build that V look by working on your shoulders and your lats.
Reason #2: Your testosterone levels will go way up
Everyone knows that testosterone is the most important hormone for men.
But not everyone knows that increased levels of estrogen can negate its positive effects.
It makes sense:
Estrogen is made from testosterone inside your fat cells. The less fat you have, the less estrogen you’ll produce.
Higher test levels will in turn make it easier to build muscle and stay lean, creating an uplifting cycle that will keep you shredded not only for the summer, but year round.
Reason #3: Your confidence will skyrocket
When you look good, you feel good. And when you feel good, the world is yours.
When you get yet another compliment on your muscles, when yet another girl can’t take her eyes off of you, when you look at yourself in the mirror every morning, you will know that your dedication has paid off.
Being confident will transfer into every area of your life. You will be more confident when talking to girls, you’ll do better in school and you’ll command more respect from people.
Reason #4: Your muscles will stand out
Have you been gaining strength, but your don’t look any better?
That is because you body fat levels have stayed the same. Even though you’ve gained weight and built muscle, it is hidden behind a layer of fat.
Getting to a low body fat percentage will guarantee that your muscles are cut and sharply defined.
Reason #5: You will be in peak health
Being overweight carries an enormous health risk.
You have a higher chance of dying from heart related problems, diabetes and an assortment of other ailments.
Not to mention how your quality of life is reduced when you have to carry those extra pounds around all the time.
How low should you go?
Now that you know about the benefits of having a low body fat percentage, what is the ideal you should aim for?
Studies have shown that body fat beyond 15% increases your production of estrogen. On the other hand, going too low also isn’t good – your libido, mental focus and health would take a beating.
So, here it is:
The ideal range of body fat for men is 8-12 percent.
If you go below 8 percent into the 5-6%, you’re entering the territory of bodybuilders in competition.
Staying at that level is not only extremely hard, it’s also unhealthy (unless lowered testosterone, irritability and no sleep sound fun). Even professional bodybuilders only stay there for a competition or a shoot – a day at most.
8-12 percent will give all the benefits you want – the looks and the health – while being sustainable in the long-term.
If you don’t know how different body fat percentages look like, check out this visual guide.
The Nutrition to Get Shredded For Summer
Abs are made in the gym, but revealed in the kitchen.
If you want a ripped body for the summer, you need to put in as much work behind the stove as you do with the weights.
This is not the time to bulk: you want to lose weight as well as build muscle, so don’t go overboard with your calories! Eat for maintenance or slightly above.
I’m all about no B.S. when it comes to nutrition. So, here’s what you need to do:
Ditch these foods to get ripped:
- Refined grains
- Polyunsaturated fats (soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower seed oil, cottonseed oil, margarine,… )
Eat these food to get shredded:
- Good protein (meat and whole eggs)
- Whole grains
- Vegetables and fruit
- Drink plenty of water
- And eat the testosterone boosting foods listed here
The best macros for getting ripped fast
Protein is essential for building muscle, but how much do you actually need?
Menno Henselmans did a nice round-up of studies about protein intake and here’s the conclusion:
There’s no benefit going over 0.82g/lb (1.8g/kg), and that already includes a mark-up.
What about fat?
The more healthy fats you eat, the higher your levels of testosterone will be, and the easier it will be to get ripped.
Some people say you should go as high as 40% fat, but that leaves no room left for the very important carbs.
So, about 30% percent of your daily calories should come from healthy fats. However, avoid polyunsaturated fatty-acids. They can suppress T levels.
The rest of your calories will come from carbs, which are important fuel for the body that will allow you to train hard.
The “Get Shredded For Summer” Workout Program
Even if you diet is 100 percent on point, it won’t work without a well-thought out exercise plan.
Here are the main things you need to keep in mind to get your body ready for the summer:
1. Lift heavy
The big lifts (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press and row) are going to be the base upon you build your body.
They are the best, most time efficient exercises to build your muscle faster than anything else.
If you work on them 2-3 times a week, you’ll be plenty strong to rock the beaches.
2. Work on your weak areas
As you work on the main lifts, you may see a body part lagging behind others.
Maybe your biceps aren’t growing as fast as you’d like, or your calves look like sticks.
In that case, throw in some body part specific exercises that target that area specifically.
3. Do cardio after
Cardio is an important part of the equation if you want to lose fat and maintain muscle at the same time.
You can do cardio after your strength training or you could do it on separate days.
In either case, it’s better if you skip the traditional running and instead go for HIIT, weight training circuits or a whole body activity like swimming.
The Supplements To Use
Once your nutrition and training are dialed in, you’re pretty much set.
However, there’s still more you can do if you want to see results faster.
By strategically using certain muscle-building supplements you can supercharge your training and get to your goals faster.
Getting enough protein day in, day out can be a daunting, not to mention boring, task.
That’s where whey protein comes in: it can easily be added to shakes or taken on its own to bring up your protein intake for the day. There are plenty of different protein powders out, so make sure you pick what’s best for you.
Here’s what a lot of bros think:
Creatine just makes you look a little bigger by retaining water.
Creatine is perhaps the most researched supplement and the science is unanimous: if you’re not taking it, you leaving gains on the table.
No matter in which form you take creatine, It allows you to do more reps, which translates into gaining more muscle, faster.
Are there still effective fat burners post-ephedra ban?
Yes, there are. Great fat burners make you burn more calories by upping your metabolic rate, while raising your energy levels and suppressing appetite.
BCAA’s enhance protein synthesis, increase fat burning and support hormonal balance.
OK, here’s some more: they also decrease DOMS, prevent muscle loss during long duration exercise and even promote longevity.
Fatty acid are an important part of a healthy diet.
They help fight inflammation, combat depression and a have a ton of other benefits.
However, it can be hard to get enough with only food, so it makes sense to supplement.
Bottom line: Don’t be blind when it comes to supplements. Do your own research.
If you want to get ripped by the start of this summer, here’s the most important piece of advice I can give you:
Yes, optimizing your diet, training hard and supplementing correctly will work, but not in two weeks.
The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see the results – and the more shredded you’ll look when it’s finally time to hit that beach party… and impress that girl.