Shredded! A Complete Guide To Getting to 10% Bodyfat

Shredded! A Complete Guide To Getting to 10% Bodyfat
Learn how having an effective diet, training and recovery plans are key components to getting amazing body transformation results.

Is your goal to get “see your abs” lean? Would you like to fill out your t-shirt but still have a waspish waist? Do you want to look like you’re flexing without actually flexing?

To get that jacked you need to get lean, and I mean LEAN. 10% to be exact. Forget for a moment the braggarts who claim single digit body fat levels. Yes, there are some in this world who walk around at 8, 6, even 4% body fat levels, but not many. If you’re 10% you’re pretty flippin lean. So let’s see how to get there.

Cycle Your Diet

Yes, what is an article about getting lean without mentioning diet? Abs are made in the kitchen, right? Well, yes, to an extent. But diet is still a key factor in the making of a leaner you. To get to an extreme level of said leanness takes a strict habit of meal planning, disciplined adherence to that plan and the wherewithal to listen to your body and adjust when needed. 

Carb cycling, although seen somewhat archaic in these times of the fasting fad, is still a viable, effective option for cutting body fat and staying sane in the process. Cycling your carbohydrate intake normally calls for several days in the red and then a day or two of a surplus.

This process cuts calories down for a limited time forcing your body to burn fat, even at rest. Once your body starts to get wise and tries to slow down your metabolism to conserve energy due to the lack of calories you jack up the carb intake and give it a much-needed surge to kick start your fat-burning furnace once again.

  • Start by choosing which days will be high and low carb days. For example, lower body training days may be good for high carb periods, other training days could be for low to moderate carb levels and off days could be reserved for very low carb days.
  • In the beginning it will be difficult to predict what your exact levels should be for each day so here is a good starting point: For low days go with .5 to .75 grams of carbs per pound of bodyweight, for moderate days go with 1 to 1.25 grams per pound and for high days aim for around 2 grams per pound.
  • Be sure you are getting in at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. This can realistically be increased to 1.5 as your diet progresses.
  • Healthy fats should consist of around 20-30% of your total daily calories. These fats will come in handy on those crazy, low carb times when you need some extra fuel to get you through your workouts.

Healthy Food

The Importance of Training

Most individuals think only in terms of diet when wanting to get ultra-lean without much thought given to training. The belief that the workout will take care of itself and diet is the main focus is a big mistake.

Is your training the best it can be? Are you utilizing every minute to its fullest? How are your rest periods? Are they monitored to burn some extra calories and rev up your metabolism long after training?

Training acts as a trigger to spark the metabolic fire. Without proper, effective resistance training a good bit of the weight you will eventually lose will be muscle. Weight training keeps the muscle on – it acts as an insurance policy against atrophy.

  • Try a higher frequency of training such as training every body part twice per week. This, in turn, will coax your body into recovering quicker and will burn more body fat in the process.
  • Keep a close eye on rest periods. Nothing will affect your training progress and subsequent fat loss regarding training than getting into the habit of setting rest times. For starters, go with 2 minutes for the big lifts like squats and deadlifts and 1 minute for all other lifts.
  • Moderate your volume. If you have decided to train more frequently it would be wise to use a more moderate volume. 12 or so for chest, back and quads and around 9 for arms, shoulders, calves and hams. 
  • Leave your ego at the door – this isn’t a powerlifting meet. Ditch trying to max out for each set. Instead, shoot for a bit higher of a rep range such as 8-12 or 10-15 – but still go to failure.

Female Athlete Deadlifting

Recover Properly

Finally, the catalyst to set the whole lose-fat-but-keep-my-muscle equation is proper recovery – namely sleep and managing stress. Getting proper rest is paramount and all your effort in the gym and in the kitchen will be for naught if you don’t get enough of it. During sleep key hormones such as growth hormone are excreted to help repair and regulate your body’s processes.

Stress management is another important part of staying on the course of progress. No, you won’t be able to rid your life of stress completely, but reducing it and managing the rest in a healthy way with consistency will make getting to your goals that much easier.

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Also, get up in the morning at the same time each day including weekends. You don’t want to start messing with your meal times and screw up your rest schedule.
  • Keep stress to a minimum. Nothing will wreck your plan like constantly being in a state of stress. Find ways to effectively manage stress and reduce or eliminate it where you see fit.

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Get Synergistic

Synergy isn’t just a corporate term reserved for conference room power point presentations. It should be your goal toward a leaner you. The synergy I am talking about includes having an effective diet, training and recovery plan so all factors can produce amazing results – results not able to be achieved by just one or two factors alone.

Practice discipline, consistency and stay positive. Together, they will all lead you to where you want to be. Then you can look back and admire the work you put in.

Athlete Training

Sample Diet and Training Plans

Below are sample diet and training plans taking into consideration the points outlined above. The training is for someone who wants to burn some fat but also keep and maybe even build some new muscle.

The diet plan is for an average 200 pound male who wants to get to that coveted 10% body fat. Although the diet will get you going in the right direction, it isn’t loaded with guarantees and false promises. You will need to adjust when necessary, you will need to practice discipline and you will need to take action and stay consistent.

High-Carb Days:

Meal 1: 1 cup of oatmeal with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter, 2 eggs and 5 egg whites
Meal 2: 6-8 ounces of chicken breast, turkey or meat in a salad with 2 tbsp of oil-based dressing and veggies, 1 ½ cup (cooked) rice, 1 ounce of nuts
Pre-workout: 1 apple, 1 scoop of whey protein powder or 6 egg whites
Post-workout: 2 scoops of whey protein powder, 1-2 cups of berries
Meal 3: 6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, meat or fish, 1 cup of green veggies, 2 cups of sweet potato

Moderate-Carb Days:

Meal 1: 2/3 cup of oatmeal with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter, 2 eggs and 5 egg whites
Meal 2: 6-8 ounces of chicken breast, turkey or meat in a salad with 2 tbsp of oil-based dressing and veggies, 1 cup (cooked) rice, 1 ounce of nuts
Pre-workout: 1 apple, 1 scoop of whey protein powder or 6 egg whites
Post-workout: 2 scoops of whey protein powder, 1 cups of berries
Meal 3: 6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, meat or fish, 1 cup of green veggies, 1 cup of sweet potato

Low-Carb Days:

Meal 1: ½ cup of oatmeal with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter, 2 eggs and 5 egg whites
Meal 2: 6-8 ounces of chicken breast, turkey or meat in a salad with 2 tbsp of oil-based dressing and veggies, ½ cup (cooked) rice, 1 ounce of nuts
Pre-workout: ½ apple, 1 scoop of whey protein powder or 6 egg whites
Post-workout: 2 scoops of whey protein powder, 1 cup of berries
Meal 3: 6-8 ounces of chicken, turkey, meat or fish, 2 cups of green veggies, ½ cup of sweet potato

Healthy Foods

Training Plan:

Train two days on, one day off, two days on and two days off such as Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday with Wednesday and weekends off. Add in 30 minutes of cardio on off days.

Day 1 Exercises Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Incline Barbell Bench Press 2x12 3x8-12 60
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x8-12 60
Wide-Grip Pull-Up 2x12 3x8-12 60
Two-Arm Dumbbell Row - 3x8-12 60
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press 1x12 3x8-12 60
Floor Crunch - 3x20 30
Hanging Leg Raise - 3x20 30
Day 2 Exercises Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Barbell Curl 2x12 3x8-12 60
Lying Nosebreaker 2x12 3x8-12 60
Seated Calf Raise 1x12 3x8-12 60
Barbell Squat 2x12 3x8-12 120
Walking or Static Lunge - 3x8-12 60
Lying or Seated Leg Curl - 3x8-12 60
3-Way Sit-Up - 3x20 30
Lying Leg Raise - 3x20 30
Day 3 Exercises Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 2x12 3x8-12 60
Flat Barbell Bench Press - 3x8-12 60
Close-Grip Pull-Up 2x12 3x8-12 60
Barbell Row - 3x8-12 60
Standing Barbell Military Press 1x12 3x8-12 60
Wide-Grip Upright Row - 3x8-12 60
Floor Crunch - 3x20 30
Hanging Leg Raise - 3x20 30
Day 4 Exercises Warm-Up Sets Work Sets Rest
Standing Dumbbell Curl 2x12 3x8-12 60
Close-Grip Bench Press 2x12 3x8-12 60
Standing Calf Raise 1x12 3x8-12 60
Leg Extension 2x12 3x8-12 60
Leg Press 1x12 3x8-12 90
Romanian Deadlift - 3x8-12 60
3-Way Sit-Up - 3x20 30
Lying Leg-Raise - 3x20 30

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About The Author
Brad has a Master's degree in Kinesiology and is a strength and conditioning specialist, military veteran, and cancer survivor.

97 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Wed, 10/26/2016 - 04:40
Jesper

Hi Brad,
I'm thinking of starting up this plan of getting shredded - but a little question.. I am 42 years old, and have a socalled ectomorph-body, although I have some unwanted fat around my stomach.
Would you still recommend this type of program, or is it more intended for younger men/women?
I know you haven't seen a picture of me, but hope you can come up with an answer anyway.. :)
Thanks so much in advance...

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Posted Mon, 09/19/2016 - 11:33
Robin sharma

Hey brad i started ur plan from today and wnna knw that it will help me to loss obliques fat and fat from body ?

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Posted Sat, 08/13/2016 - 20:28
Samii

Can i supersets the workout routine?

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Posted Mon, 06/06/2016 - 03:50
andreas

Hi Brad, why not conventional deadlifts in this program?

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Posted Tue, 05/31/2016 - 11:55
Mike

I'm training for a marathon and would like to start this for program to lose some weight and tone up. Do you see any issues with implementing this along with my marathon training? I was planning on doing high card days the day before my long runs. Great article!

MikeWines's picture
Posted Tue, 05/31/2016 - 16:10
MikeWines

Mike,
Yes, there are a number of issues. This wouldn't be a wise idea if you're going to try to run this concomitantly with marathon training. Pick a goal and stick to it but if your goal is MAXIMAL performance then trying to diet down to 10% while simultaneously packing in miles each week is a recipe for disaster.

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Posted Mon, 12/21/2015 - 14:47
Justin

Is it to much to do cardio or yoga in the evening every day if I'm weight training in the morning?

BradBorland's picture
Posted Tue, 12/22/2015 - 12:10
BradBorland

Hi Justin. No, not at all. : )

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Posted Thu, 12/24/2015 - 09:59
BradBorland

Thanks, Justin. I'm glad I can be of help.

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Posted Tue, 12/22/2015 - 16:52
Justin

Thanks. I read all of you posts. They are very helpful in my training.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Fri, 02/05/2016 - 10:06
MikeWines

Steven,
I wouldn't recommend the circuit idea unless it 's for time constraints and even though, you would have to setup it up correctly rather than just going for it haphazardly.

If you're a natural trainee (i.e. you're not using anabolics) you have to decide upon your goal - muscle gain or fat loss. Most can't do both. That being said though, it's usually not advisable for males to continue adding bodyweight (lean body mass plus fat mass) once they pass 15% bodyweight as doing so can present some insulin sensitivity and hormonal issues. Just something to keep in mind when making your decision...

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Posted Sat, 02/06/2016 - 13:45
Steven

Thanks for the input Mike, so basically what you recommending here is to drop my body fat percentage before trying to add on lean mass, correct? I've recently started the keto diet and can already notice a fat drop.

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 02/08/2016 - 10:28
MikeWines

I think it would be wiser from a hormonal and nutrient partitioning perspective to start a massing phase from a lower body fat percentage.

Keep in mind that keto diets really aren't all they're cracked up to be for the majority: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/ketogenic-diet

Not to mention, if the only way you're measuring "fat loss" is via the scale then you're going to have a tough time keeping things consistent as hydration, gastrointestinal motility (i.e. constipation), glycogen storage (via carb intake), and stress can all cause transient increases/decreases in your weight irrespective of changes to lean mass. You need to keep that in mind if you're going to continue with your keto approach.

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Posted Mon, 02/08/2016 - 15:42
Steven

WOW!! Thank you for the link! Soo much information I wasn't familiar with, alot of good insight to the diet, ill for sure have to read the article again to better comprehend everything. So Mike would you recommend following the above mentioned diet/exercise plan strictly to reach my overall goal, or is there something more you could toss my way? Thanks for all the information!

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Posted Mon, 02/08/2016 - 17:02
MikeWines

I don't think generic programs are the best option for everyone so it would be tough to make specific recommendations for you given I haven't put your through an entire assessment or discussed your specific goals and preferences. However, that being said, there are a variety of different options one can use to accomplish their goal. They may not always be the best option but they will still work despite the fact that they will take more work to complete.

This article isn't a terrible idea but like I said, there are a number of different options. Which one you choose will be determined by what works best for your lifestyle and your genetics. That's a tough question to answer over the internet.

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Posted Thu, 02/04/2016 - 22:35
Steven

I just saw this article, and well I'm trying to do exactly what it's says here and get to a 10% body fat at 200 pounds. I'm currently 187 and 17% body fat. But I had a question about the training, would you consider is good to run some of these work sets in a circuit with less rest time in between sets? It would help burn some fat but would it be comperable to making muscle/weight gains since I am searching to hit a 200 pound goal? I currently weight train in a circuit of 2-3 or four lifts and do a few rounds then switch to a different circuit of the same amount of exercises.

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Posted Mon, 10/12/2015 - 16:08
Dustin

Should the oats be measured dry or cooked?

MikeWines's picture
Posted Mon, 10/12/2015 - 16:38
MikeWines

Dustin,
You can do either depending upon how accurate you want to be.

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Posted Mon, 10/12/2015 - 20:03
Dustin

I'm a little confused. Couldn't you essentially turn one packet of oatmeal into a cup or two packets into a cup depending on how much water you add?

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Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 09:02
Aroen

Hi there, I started this program this week, but I have a question about the warm=up sets.. For example, for the wide-grip pull-up, it says that the warm-up should be 2 sets of 12 and the work sets 3 x8-12.. But isnt 2 sets of 12 (full body weight) reps too much? this equals or is even more than the reps of the work sets..

MikeWines's picture
Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 09:52
MikeWines

Aroen,
Your warm up sets should be with lighter weight just to get some blood flow into the muscle group and rehearse the motor pattern. If you're fatigued after your warm up sets, then you went too heavy.

BradBorland's picture
Posted Wed, 08/05/2015 - 15:10
BradBorland

Go with 2 sets of lighter pulldowns for a warm-up.

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 20:11
Kevin

Hey Brad, I read a lot of good articles on here but something aggravates me to no end. Every workout and diet plan posted has a common factor that not everyone can adhere too, that being the presumption that we ALL workout in the evening. Try flipping things around for someone that rises at 3:50am and is at the gym by 5am, for a 60-90 minute workout.

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Posted Tue, 08/04/2015 - 09:54
BradBorland

Hi Kevin. Thanks for the input. We will look into more info for the early risers.

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 17:38
Baltazar Cid

hello! i am in 185 lbs, is necessary
to change something with the diet? greetings from puebla, mexico

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Posted Sat, 08/01/2015 - 23:00
Peter nunez

So is this primarily only a four day training week? Or are there most train plan days.

BradBorland's picture
Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 15:42
BradBorland

Primarily 4 days per week. But feel free to add in some light cardio on off days.

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Posted Sat, 08/01/2015 - 21:27
theron woodward

Hey Brad!

I would this exercise and diet program be good for a 60 year old man that hasn't worked out in several years...I just need some direction to get back in shape.
Thanks for any information!

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Posted Mon, 08/03/2015 - 15:43
BradBorland

I would try out the training first. Get used to training again and then start to follow some of the diet advice. Go slow and let your body adapt.

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Posted Sat, 06/13/2015 - 16:46
David

Great information, although one of those guys in at least in the pics has some suspicious vascularity ;)

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Posted Thu, 04/30/2015 - 12:12
Maggie

Hi Brad! Thank you so much for your reply. That makes sense and I'm eager to get started. AND - I can't wait to see your plan for women! So awesome. Thanks again!

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Posted Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:17
Maggie

Hi Brad,

This plan sounds awesome, but I've noticed some women are asking about diet and haven't received a response. Can you give us a quick suggestion as to how to modify the diet for women? I suppose I'm one of those people who needs everything laid out for me -- and I've never carb cycled before so I need the guidance. :) Thank you so much!

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 04/30/2015 - 12:09
BradBorland

Hi Maggie,
I guess the simplest way to do that is to consider the example. Since it is for a 200 pound male lifter try cutting those portions in half and go from there. if that is too little then add in an extra 200 to 400 calories. Each time you adjust wait a few weeks and see how your body reacts.

I'll have an awesome 30-day workout just for women out soon! Stay tuned!

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Posted Thu, 03/26/2015 - 06:58
Lenny

Excellent article Brad and thank you. I was wondering what the order of the days should be. Should I do a low carb then a high carb then a medium carb and repeat all over? Or two-theee low carb days then a medium then a high then repeat? Two high carbs etc etc...What order do you suggest we should use?

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:28
BradBorland

Hi Lenny, go for 2 to 3 low, then 1 medium and then a high to start. Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:10
Lenny

Brad,
What should be the protocol for overnight shakes? Should I be having a protein shake at night before bedtime and should that shake include carbs as well?

BradBorland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/23/2015 - 13:55
BradBorland

I've never been a huge advocate of night time shakes unless I was trying to put on some serious mass. If you feel you need one then be sure it is low in carbs, add some healthy fats and maybe some casein protein for slower digestion.

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Posted Sun, 03/22/2015 - 17:10
Devyn

Afternoon Brad.
I have read most of the questions to see if they could answer mine but im still unsure. If my target weight is around 200lbs could I follow the plan exactly how you have it laid out ?

BradBorland's picture
Posted Mon, 03/23/2015 - 13:53
BradBorland

Hi Devyn, Yes. Start with this and then simply make any necessary adjustments after a few weeks.

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Posted Sat, 03/21/2015 - 11:06
Larry

I'm 255lbs. What would I do to alter this to my needs of dieting down and maintaining/ building lean muscle and still burn body fat %.

BradBorland's picture
Posted Sun, 03/22/2015 - 11:13
BradBorland

Hi Larry, try upping your protein intake slightly and try the plan as is after that. It's designed fofr a 200 pounder so you aren't far off.

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Posted Thu, 02/26/2015 - 12:22
Emanuel D

Yes sir, I am trying to do this program that was laid out here. Like I said, 6'3 204lbs, lost 40 lbs and I turn 17 in a week. have some love handles and little stomach. My calorie intake is around 1,200 a day. I eat fruits and vegetables and chicken breast. What do you think I should do?

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Posted Thu, 02/26/2015 - 07:45
Emanuel D

Beautiful read. I am 16, and have dropped 40 lbs now I am at 205 lbs, I still am about 20 % body fat, I feel like losing weight would still be beneficial, what do you reccomend .

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/26/2015 - 11:57
BradBorland

Hi Emanuel, are you wanting to try the program laid out here?

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Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 14:55
John

Thanks a lot Brad thanks to this I can finally see my abs!!! Thank you so much!

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 16:25
BradBorland

That's awesome, John!

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Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 13:59
Kevin Ipina

How would I adjust for a 140 pound person diet?

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 14:12
BradBorland

Hi Kevin, check out the "Cycle Your Diet" section.

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Posted Mon, 02/16/2015 - 11:42
Frank "Pops" Moorer

Hey Brad
I finally see a plan that would seem easy enough for me to follow. Thank you. I'm 52 years old, 5'11" 230 lbs. Is this a program i can do all of the time even after I reach a weight that I am comfortable with? I am lazy in a sense that I can follow a program as long as I don't have to improvise on my own. Help a brother out.

BradBorland's picture
Posted Thu, 02/19/2015 - 14:14
BradBorland

Hi Frank, well, the only way to find out is to try it out...