In recent times a lot of people’s gym goals for both men and women has been to get ‘ripped’ and in this article, we are going to be discussing what it actually means to be ripped and also the basics of the best diet to get ripped.
If you go back just a few years you will find that a lot of men, in particular, were training to be big and bulky, whereas now men are more inclined to train to be ripped. Indeed, women are increasingly looking to add some muscle tone to their previously desired ‘slim-only’ frames.
This shift in trend can be seen, and probably partly stems from, in part, the professional side of the body building industry. Just compare Arnold Schwarzenegger to modern day body builders, for example, he was certainly very big and well developed, but in terms of his leanness or being “ripped”, modern day body builders are far more accomplished.
What Is Being “Ripped”?
So when we talk about being ripped, what are we actually referring to?
When we talk of being ripped we are actually referring to a moderate to high amount of muscular development, but with a low relative body fat percentage. You need have both of these elements together in order to achieve a ripped physique, they do not work independently of each other. For example, you can have a high level of muscle but a high relative body fat percentage and you won’t be ripped (big and bulky in this instance), similarly, a low body fat percentage, but low muscle development (skinny and emaciated in this instance) and you won’t be ripped either. It is worth noting though that’s low RBF% with a small amount of muscle will appear somewhat “ripped”, but a high RBF%, regardless of muscle development will not never appear ripped.
A common misconception is that in order to be ripped you needs to “tone” the muscle, and for some reason, to tone the muscle you need to weight train with high repetitions (reps) and lower weight. This is completely false! Muscle toning doesn’t exist in this sense. If your muscles are developed and you have adequately low RBF%, then you will be toned, ripped, lean, whatever you want to call it! In terms of exercise, you should actually be doing heavier weights and lower reps to more easily attain the “ripped” appearance.
Building Muscle & Reducing Fat
You now know that in order to be “ripped” you need;
A) Muscular Development
B) Low Relative Body Fat %
Firstly, in order for the muscles to develop and grow they need to be stressed and then repaired, through a process known as “tear & repair”. By lifting weights (resistance training) the muscle fibers will tear, they will then repair during sleep and as a result will grow.
During the phase of building muscle the body will require energy from carbohydrates in order to carry out the weight lifting exercises. During the muscle building phase the body will require a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is consuming more calories than you burn, which means the surplus energy can then be converted into building muscle.
Also, during this phase an ample amount of protein is required to aid the repair of the muscles after they have been worked (torn) through exercise. The protein will speed up the repair process and thus lead to muscle growth. “Good” fats are also essential, like for transporting the protein around the body, although, this will be discuss in more depth during other posts.
Reducing Body Fat
During the phase of reducing body fat we need to create a calorie deficit, which is the opposite of a surplus, therefore, you need to burn more calories than you consume. To more easily achieve this, you will firstly want to reduce carbohydrates for three reasons;
To help obtain a calorie deficit;
To ensure excess energy from carbohydrates will not be stored as fat;
To encourage the body to burn stored fat
The basic idea of reducing carbohydrates is a tried and tested method and does show significant results, although I never recommend cutting them out completely, which is often cited as good practice for weight loss. There are many reasons as to why this is a bad idea and shall be covered in other topics.
Also, during the phase of reducing fat, another basic rule to follow is to maintain a high level of protein. This is required to help maintain the muscle that you have built. During a calorie deficit the body is not having enough calories to maintain itself and will therefore look for other sources for energy. As well as burning stored fat, it will also try and burn muscle, so by consuming ample protein, this will help to limit the amount of muscle wastage.
An Advantage To Being Overweight?!
Yes, that’s right, there is actually an advantage in some ways to being overweight when getting ripped! Although, this is not recommended as a method to get ripped, for a number of reasons, it can nevertheless be seen as an advantage for those who are starting out overweight.
The advantage is that during the muscle building phase there is a lot of stored energy in the body in the form of fat. This extra fat will provide a lot of energy needed to lift heavier weights and thus accelerate the muscle building process. So, after a shorter period of time there will be lots of muscle built, albeit hidden under the layers of fat, but, when it comes to reducing the body fat, there is ample muscle to aid the process. Muscle burns fat, so the more muscle built, the more easily fat is burned. So yes, don’t fret if you’re overweight, use it to your amazing advantage!
What ‘Diet’ Should You Follow?
Firstly, I don’t personally believe in following a diet in the sense that you are restricting yourself and eating things that you don’t enjoy. If you don’t enjoy what you eat then you are doomed to failure and the road to your goal will seem endless, as opposed to just around the corner.
What I do recommend though in everyday life and especially in order to get ripped, is changing to eating food that is from natural sources and minimally processed. This is because your body is naturally designed to consume this type of food and you will find all of the nutrients your body needs to efficiently carry out all the bodily processes, including building muscle and burning fat. In fact, I believe, eating a natural diet is far more effective than calculating calories to create a surplus or deficit, or changing macro-nutrients ratios (carbs, fats & proteins), indeed.
Following a natural, minimally processed diet is a core principle of this website and we will be exploring lots more on this subject throughout.
So, There You Have It…
The most important rule to follow when it comes to losing weight, and more specifically, to get ripped, is to follow a diet that is natural and minimally processed. After that, focuss on increasing calories to build muscle and reducing calories to lose fat.
If you have any questions, then please feel free to comment below.
Ciao for now! 🙂