I’ve never really worked out before with either cardio exercise or weight training but I really want to lose my spare tire around my waist and get ripped like the guys I see in the fitness magazines. Do I just need to do a bunch of ab crunches to get that ripped look or is it harder than that? I’m really a newbie to the whole fitness thing and just need some help to get started on the right track.
If you see all those huge and ripped guys in the fitness magazines and aspire to look like them, I think it’s important that you understand a few things about the fitness and magazine industry. Those guys you see on the cover and in different articles within the magazines are at the ultimate peak of their conditioning when they step foot onto these photo shoots. Most of the time, these bodybuilders and fitness models are only a few days or weeks out before a big competition and they have been dieting and training extremely hard for many months beforehand to get in peak condition.
The reason why I want to point this out has to do with your overall expectations and physique goals. If you glance through the magazines, you’re probably thinking these guys are in that type of extreme shredded condition all year around. However, this is simply not the case. In fact, it’s extremely difficult to maintain super low levels of body fat and striated muscle consistently over a long period of time. This is really a snapshot in time to maximize their condition at a specific time in order for the magazine to sell more copies and it works very well for them.
Unfortunately, a lot of kids see these photos and think these guys are walking around looking like this all the time and they want to achieve the same level of extreme conditioning. There is actually a great documentary called “I Want To Look Like That Guy” that covers this very topic and it’s about a normal guy who wants to look like the ripped guy in the fitness magazines, so he hires a personal trainer to see if he can get into “bodybuilding lean” condition and transform his physique just like the bodybuilders and models in the magazines. It’s a very interesting and entertaining documentary that is worth watching to show you just how difficult it really is to get even close to this crazy level of conditioning. The best part of the documentary is seeing the journey of this normal “average Joe” who totally dedicates his life to a strict diet and exercise program and you are able to see firsthand the incredibly high degree of discipline, desire and determination it takes to succeed in the fitness game at a competitive level.
To answer your question about getting lean and ripped, you basically need to decrease your overall body fat percentage so you can remove the layer of fat that is lying over the muscle. You could have the biggest muscles in the world but if your body fat levels are too high, you will never get that shredded and super lean look. The way you get ripped is by hitting it from all angles in respect to your fitness program. In reality, there are no “quick tips” that will get you ripped but there are 3 core areas that are the foundation for seeing incredible results. These 3 basic areas include:
Eating a clean diet is paramount when it comes to getting lean. The foods you eat account for at least 70% of your overall results so make sure to focus a great deal of attention on your diet so you can fuel your body with the cleanest, healthiest foods available. ShapeFit has a great Nutrition 101 article that provides a breakdown of the best foods to include in your nutrition program along with a sample meal plan.
#2: Resistance Training
The key here is to provide some form of resistance to your muscles in order to build them bigger and stronger. The type of resistance can come from a variety of forms including free weights, machines, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, and even resistance bands. Find the best form of resistance exercise that you enjoy doing and stick with it.
#3: Cardio Exercise
Creating a calorie deficit is needed to lose body fat, so cardiovascular exercise is crucial for burning additional calories each day in order to create the overall energy deficit needed to get ripped. Along with burning calories, cardio is great for your heart and overall cardiovascular system.
In order to get shredded and ripped, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication but you can do it! If it was easy, everyone would be super lean and absolutely ripped, but that is simply not the case. All you need to do is walk into any gym and look around at the people working out. You might see less than 5% of the members who are truly lean and vascular with a body fat percentage low enough to visibly see veins and striations on their muscles. The bottom line is that you simply have to work extremely hard in order to attain that level of conditioning and it really boils down to how bad you actually want it. If you’re driven enough, you will make the sacrifices and do whatever it takes to achieve that ultra shredded and ripped look.