How Do I Get Ripped for my Reunion?
People ask me all the time for advice on how to get “ripped.” Developing a lean body is among the holy grails in fitness. Everyone, or so it seems, wants toned abs, a washboard stomach, or round glutes.
The term “ripped” is subjective. Usually, when you see a shirtless model in a magazine or calendar, they have a body fat level of 7 percent or lower. As you might imagine, that level of dedication to a pre-competition nutrition and exercise regimen is rigorous. People in “peak” condition can usually maintain this level of conditioning for a few days at most. More attainable, I think, is a body fat range of 10-13 percent (for men) or 19-25 percent (for women).
Remember, you can’t get into peak condition overnight, or by doing the same things you’ve always done. You’ll need commitment. You’ll also need to research, to make sure you are doing the right things. Some people, for example, immediately go on a high protein diet without verifying whether the foods they are choosing will lead to high cholesterol. Others launch into an intensive workout program without getting checked-up by their doctor first. It is better to progress slowly and surely. Here are some tips:
Develop discipline. Joe Klice, my piano teacher in college, used to say: “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” Guess what? You won’t get a washboard by doing crunches. If you want it, you’ll have to work hard with consistency. That means lifting weights at least 3 days a week and doing regular cardiovascular training (in addition to working your abs). You’ll need iron-clad discipline. That means forcing yourself to work out even when you don’t “want to” or “feel like it.” You have to conquer your feelings and just do it anyway.
Get enough sleep. Muscles don’t grow in the gym, they grow when they’re resting. Many folks over-train, not getting enough rest between sets and workouts. Make sure that you take a full 60 seconds between each set to rest. And give yourself about 48 hours between workouts to recover. You’ll need about eight hours of quality sleep per night.
I do not recommend fat burners. However, if you’re already doing the above, there are some non-stimulant based supplements that may give you an additional edge. More important than supplementation is nutrition. If your nutrition is not in line, then don’t even consider supplementation. You’re wasting your money.
Your nutrition accounts for 70 percent of how you look and feel. Exercise alone is NOT enough. In order to get ripped without following a low carb diet, follow these rules:
- Increase your protein intake.
- Restrict carbs after 6PM.
- Cut back on salt.
- Eliminate all junk food/sugar.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat small meals spaced evenly throughout the day.
- Allow yourself two “cheat days” per week.
- Do not cheat on “non-cheat” days.
Finally, don’t get discouraged when you “fall off the wagon” or see someone at the gym with flawless genetics. Remember, everyone has a unique genetic makeup and no one person is perfect. When you screw up, just get back on the horse, and keep riding.