Most of you who have spent time in the gym know how to eat to maximize the muscle building process:
- Meals - Eat smaller meals every 2.5 to 3 hours.
- Protein - Consume at least 30 grams of protein with each meal.
- Fats - Don't ignore your fat intake! Make sure 20 to 30% of your daily calories come from healthy fats.
- Carbs - Focus on quality carbs sources including fruits, veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and other complex carb foods.
These rules are old news. You have tried them, and they work. But now you have new goals. It's time to shed the fat, shred your body and reveal the six pack. Here are 8 tips to help you get crazy ripped.
Tip 1: Move Some Iron
Forget about training light. Switching to high rep sets and a lighter weight when trying to get shredded is a recipe for disaster. Heavy weight encourages your body to maintain its existing muscle mass. On the other hand, if you stop pushing yourself when trying to shed fat, you send a signal to your body that the extra muscle mass you've built isn't needed any longer.
Hot Tip! Stick with your existing muscle building workout while cutting.
Tip 2: There Is No Magic Diet
One of the most common questions is...which diet is best for cutting? The reality is this: you need to make adjustments based on your body's unique feedback. There is no "best diet", but there is a best diet for you. Start with a reasonable calorie intake and protein, carb and fat profile, and make adjustments as needed to fine tune your fat loss.
Hot Tip! When the going gets tough, try carb cycling between high, medium and low carb days.
Top 3: Whoa On The Cardio!
Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow the cardio. It's a fact that few realize, but diet is far more important than cardio when it comes to getting ripped. Dial in your diet first. When you have reached a consistent rate of fat loss, slowly add in cardio. Slowly. Remember that your body is under stress from being in a caloric deficit. Adding in endless hours of cardio right out of the gate could result in the loss of hard-earned muscle mass.
Hot Tip! Break away from the treadmill and try HIIT instead - high intensity interval training.
Tip 4: Slow Your Fat Loss Rate
Yes, you read that correctly. The best way to get silly shredded is to lose fat at a rate of 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. While a more rapid weight loss pace can be good if you are carrying around a substantial amount of extra fat, it's not the best approach when trying to dial down your bodyfat levels into the single digits. Rapid fat loss can also cause you to lose muscle.
Hot Tip! Week one weight loss is always higher than normal. Wait until the 2nd or 3rd week of a cut to make changes.
Tip 5: Abs Come From Diet
It's ok to chill on the volume of crunches and leg raises you are doing. Overusing direct ab work won't help you strip away belly fat. Keep your direct ab work to 1-3 sessions per week with a moderate amount of volume. This approach will help you maintain your ab size while you get cut.
Top 6: Become A Cheater!
Did you know that a strict diet involves cheating? Yes, involves cheating. Prolonger periods of dieting drop your body's leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that helps your metabolism fire as efficiently as possible. A cheat meal or window (or even day in some cases) once a week will surprise your body, and help it to raise stagnating leptin levels. This metabolic boost will help you to burn more fat.
Hot Tip! Keep it simple by allowing yourself a one hour cheat window. This window can be moved each week to fit your social schedule.
Tip 7: Get Real About Body Fat Levels
Most individuals underestimate their bodyfat levels - by a lot. Having an unrealistic view of your body composition can lead to frustration as your cutting diet starts to drag on for months without end. The best natural bodybuilders and fitness models in the world have a lean body mass (weight - fat pounds) of no more than 170-180 pounds. It's unrealistic to believe you are currently 240 pounds and 18% bodyfat. The more you "get real" with yourself, the better equipped you will be for the cutting process that lies ahead.
Hot Tip! Forget bodyfat scales and online calculators. Purchase a skin fold caliper, which will provide a more accurate bodyfat reading.
Tip 8: Drink Your Water
This seems like an obvious tip, but for many it's not. A good percentage of athletes, even hardcore lifters, don't drink enough water. Some studies have indicated that proper water consumption alone could boost your metabolism by as much as 30% (this study involved drinking cold water). It goes without saying that under drinking water while trying to get shredded will slow the process. Stop guessing about how much water you are drinking!
Hot Tip! Use a shaker or empty milk jug to help you monitor daily water intake.