Your Guide to a Shredded Body

workout for abs

    Having a shredded body is what tons of people aim for. They want to go to the beach in the summer and feel confident taking off their shirt to reveal their six pack abs, have their arms and shoulders look great in a tank top, and their leg muscles to be popping in a swimsuit. Before you go to the gym, train as hard as you can, and eat nothing but chicken and broccoli… let’s go over what it really takes to get the lean body you aspire for. 

    First of all, there are some myths about having a ripped body. Most people believe the idea that you can get completely shredded with just a few small and easy changes to your diet and exercise routine. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. If it was that easy, then everybody would have the body of their dreams. People also believe that “getting healthy” and/or “losing weight” means you have to go through some huge, painful, sacrifice and restriction. That’s also not true. It’s not a process that happens over night, but it also isn’t a gruesome one. Something else to keep in mind is that the pictures of fitness models or elite athletes you see on magazine covers and on the internet are photoshopped. A lot of people feel disappointed after putting in dedication and work to get those types of looks and never getting them. There’s the reason why… They are photoshopped, airbrushed, and have perfect lighting. You don’t get those features in real life. 

    Now, there are some truths to being shredded. The process you use to lose the first 10 lbs isn’t the same one you’ll use to lose the final 10 lbs. Basically, it takes much more work as you get leaner. Now, if you’re thinking that you’ll be able to look the way a bodybuilder looks, just know that they only look as shredded as they do during their competition and those looks come at a high cost of very strict dieting and workouts. You don’t get that way from the small adjustments you can make that overtime can add up to noticeable changes. 

    What does the body fat percentage look like for men and women who are shredded? For men it’s 6-9% and for women it’s 16-19%. With these body fat percentages comes benefits and trade-offs. The benefits being that you will most likely look very lean, you may have 6 pack abs, your overall health is probably good, and you will have fewer cravings. The trade-offs are that you may struggle in social situations that involve food, you may not have time for social opportunities outside of exercise, and you may have to give up other hobbies and interests outside of fitness. These benefits and trade-offs can vary on how your lifestyle is, the way your body is built, and your priorities. 

    How do I get to the body fat percentage that makes me look ripped? In order to obtain this you need to do more of the right parts and less of the wrong ones. At every meal you should eat slowly and only until you’re satisfied, eat 1-2 palm sized portions of protein dense foods, eat 1-2 fists of fibrous vegetables at every meal, eat 1-2 thumbs of essential fats at every meal, and eat 1-2 cupped handfuls of minimally processed carbs AFTER workouts. It’s also wise to start incorporating calorie/carb cycling and do 60-75 minutes of exercise 4-5 days per week (hard work/break a sweat). Finally, make sure you’re sleeping 8-9 hours every night and de-stressing for 20 minutes every day. What you should be doing less of is limiting your carbs to designated higher carb days and only eat desserts/processed carbs every 1-2 week within reason. 

    Something to remember, is that being too lean can be actively unhealthy. Being really lean has almost nothing to do with being really healthy. Remember that every single person is created differently. There are some people who could remove all the excess fat they have and still not show 6 pack abs. That’s just the way they are made. 

    If having a  lean/shredded body is something you want, then start by getting a clear idea of where you’re at. Figure out your goals and priorities, decide what you’re willing to do, determine how often, how consistently, and how intensely/precisely you’re willing to do those things, figure out what you’re not willing to do right now, and be completely honest and realistic yet compassionate with yourself. This is an attainable goal, but it requires work and dedication. Now go get after it. 

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