Epic antecubital veins.
Sexy collar bones.
Abs so marvelous Shawn T is jealous.
Those “ehem” lines at your waist.
These are just a few of the perks of getting lean and unveiling the muscle you built over the winter.
While getting lean can be a difficult process, you can make it easier by following a few key tips.
This little listicle is guaranteed to get you lean, mean, and ready to hit the beach come June.
1. Decide whether you want to be lean or “shredded”
Being lean and being shredded are two completely different animals. We are talking the difference between a house cat and a mountain lion. One you can live with for a long time and enjoy, the other is brutal and will destroy your couch and your life if not properly tamed.
Before you set out on that “get shredded” plan, decide if you want to be lean (8-12% for men and about 18-22% for women) or shredded (4-7% for men and 12-18% for women). You really, really, really need to decide what your goal is because that will determine your approach.
Achieving a lean physique can be easily attained through a wide variety of dieting and training modalities. There is also a lot more room for error and going off plan. Being shredded requires a lot more focus, discipline, consistency, and sacrifices.
2. The lower you get, the more crazy you have to be with your diet
The fat loss function looks a lot like this.
The higher your current body fat percentage, the faster and easier you will be able to lose relative amounts, the lower you are, the harder it is. It gets exponentially more difficult as you get into the super low ranges. For example, going from 20% to 15% is WAY easier than going from 10% to 5%.
This is a concept that doesn’t get discussed enough. Most diet plans and approaches out there are designed for people looking to go from the 20/30/40% range down to the 10% range, not the 5% range.
So, what does it take to get from 10%-5%? I am glad you asked. Going from 10% down to 5% takes a few key things:
- Rock solid consistency. Large cheat days or weekends of plan are really going to derail the progress.
- Tracking things incredibly closely becomes important. Most of the time you can get pretty close and get really lean, to get shredded you have to be laser focused.
- You have to leave no stone unturned. Things like extra cardio, meal timing, using chilies to induce satiety, sleeping more, carb-cycling, and a lot of more esoteric, not necessary tools all start to become utilized to try and hack your way down to super, super lean levels.
3. Protein, protein, protein
Sometimes bro-lore is spot on.
For years we were told that you should eat more protein during a dieting phase to keep muscle mass as you try to lean out. This makes the visual and functional aspects of getting shredded more successful. All the studies done on this show that higher intakes of protein, compared to lower intakes of protein, make getting shredded much easier.
Protein is typically the most satiating nutrient and will also spare the loss of those glorious gains you worked so hard for.
Most evidence shows that getting between 0.7 -1.0 grams per pound of protein is a good window to operate in as you dial in your “Get Shredded Diet Plan”.
4. Stress will crush you
When you are trying to lose fat, stress can often make that more difficult by making it harder to eat right, raising stress hormones, and destroying your sleep.
For many people, stress makes it harder to focus on the details and destroys your consistency. I mean having a rough week and handling it by demolishing a pint of ice cream 3-4 nights a week is going to be incredibly counterproductive to your goals.
Stress often plays whack-a-mole with your hormones. We are talking cortisol, leptin, ghrelin, the list goes on and on. We don’t need to dive too deep into the weeds of endocrinology, just know that stress pretty much makes your hormones go haywire and this usually drastically impedes your fat loss goals.
5. Be one with the veggies
A large part of getting lean or shredded is finding ways to lower calories and not eat your own arm off from being hungry. The single easiest strategy to combat this is to eat low-calorie, highly satiating foods. This means eat your **** veggies.
If you are in a hard cut or just trying to lean out, foods like broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spaghetti squash, Brussels sprouts, etc. should be staples in your diet.
Now this doesn’t mean you can’t eat other things, it just means they are super helpful tools!
6. Eat at home
One of the strategies I find incredibly helpful during periods of getting lean, dieting, cutting (or whatever you want to call it) is to eat at home.
Why is this? I am glad you asked me because I can tell you!
1) The menu options at a restaurant make it harder to stay on a plan. I mean let’s be real, when you go to a restaurant and you see the Black and Blue Cheeseburger with a double patty, blue cheese, fried onions rings, and that homemade aioli with bottomless fries, you are NOT going to order the salad with broiled chicken, dressing on the side. That just isn’t how humans work.
2) Calorie counts on menus aren’t even close. Seriously, I think there are about a billion and one lawsuits going on over this right now. You might think that you are eating about 750 calories when in reality you are eating 1250 or 1500. Being off by 60-100% is not a small error.
7. Don’t start dating someone
I am actually 100% serious about this point. I advise that you do not start dating someone while you dieting super hard. This isn’t just for your sake, it is also for the other party’s sake as well.
First and foremost you are likely not going to be as much fun or as interesting on your first date, especially if it involves food. Second, NONE of the following scenarios on a first date set you up well for date two:
- Bringing your own food in a container.
- Not going out for ice cream, followed by hot chocolate, followed by s’mores because you didn’t plan for them.
- Talking to them about how you couldn’t drink the beer and eat the hotdogs at the baseball game because well, “my abs are more important than having a nice social experience with you”.
There is a giant caveat to this tip: If you are pretty chill and can handle some flexibility in your periods of trying to get shredded, don’t mind a little whimsy or delaying the results for a few months, then you can ignore this one.