How To Get Shredded: A 10 Step Guide
Looking to lean down and shed some excess body fat that you may be carrying around?
If so, you need a precise plan of attack.
So many people set out with the goal of fat loss only to find themselves staring into the mirror months later without much progress at all.
And, if you’re already quite lean and looking to make that next jump to being ‘shredded’, it’s even harder. Your body is going to fight you that much harder to give up those stubborn last few pounds of body fat it holds so dear.
Fortunately, there is a way past this. If you follow these ten steps, you can melt body fat and improve your physique.
Let’s take a look at the proven strategies of getting ripped.
Step 1: This is Crucial – Check Your Calorie Intake
When it comes right down to it, your calorie intake is going to make or break the results you see. If you eat too many calories, it won’t matter much where they come from, the body still has to do something with them and that something is to convert them into body fat storage.
The very first thing to do above all else is start tracking your calorie intake.
It may be annoying, but it works, and if you’re serious about results you will deal with the mild inconvenience.
To make it extremely simple to get started: If you’re maintaining your body weight at your current daily calorie intake, you should track your daily intake for a few days to figure out how many calories you are actually consuming, and then reduce it by around 250-500 calories to lose ½ to one pound of fat per week.
For the most part, slow and steady wins this game. Diet at too low of a calorie intake and your metabolic rate will grow sluggish and fat loss will come to a halt.
If you aren’t maintaining your body weight, start at a calorie intake of around 13 calories per pound of body weight and then adjust your intake down or up from there based on the results that you see.
Step 2: Increase Your Protein Consumption
The second step is to increase your protein consumption.
Not only does protein have a higher ‘thermic effect of food’, meaning your body will burn more calories simply breaking it down, but it’s also going to preserve your lean muscle mass.
When in a calorie deficit (consuming less calories than your body requires to maintain its current weight), there’s a greater chance your body may begin using the protein you eat as a fuel source, leaving less left over for muscular repair and maintenance. As a result, your muscles are in jeopardy. Bump your intake up to avoid this.
Researchers published a journal in the International Journal of Nutrition noting that when subjects were fed a higher protein diet, their level of muscle retention went up compared to those not eating as much protein.
In addition to this, their rate of fat loss improved as well as did their level of satisfaction from the diet.
Furthermore, protein rich foods also stabilize blood glucose levels, which keeps insulin stable and fat burning on high all day long.
Step 3: Cycle Your Carbohydrate Intake
When it comes to carbohydrates, they aren’t all evil. It’s about choosing the right type of carbohydrates, watching how much you eat, and timing them correctly.
The best approach?
Carbohydrate cycling. Consume more carbohydrates on the workout days when your body is in need of them most aka Squat day ;). Then on rest days, lower them down to maximize the process of fat burning.
Focus on natural, unprocessed carb sources at least 80% of the time. On training days, this means sweet potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, and beans. On non-training days, lean more towards vegetables.
Step 4: Moderate Healthy Fats
The last macronutrient to look at is your fats. You might be tempted to lower these as low as possible, but rethink this strategy.
Very low fat diets will cause testosterone levels to crater and testosterone is the one hormone that will help you maintain lean muscle mass while keeping fat burning on high.
Even in women. While women won’t have nearly the same levels as a man does, it is still in their system and will help achieve these goals.
Researchers noted that those who experienced the greatest decline in free and serum testosterone levels were those eating low fat, high fiber diets. So tread carefully with this unique combination of dietary nutrients.
Keep your fat intake to no less than about 0.3 grams per pound of body weight. Going below this will also make it hard to get in the nutrients you need.
And don’t shun all saturated sources. While you shouldn’t solely focus on saturated fat, it is needed to keep your testosterone elevated optimally.
Step 5: Measure Your Foods Out Regularly
One important step not to overlook is that of measuring your foods out. It’s not enough to simply plan how many carbs, proteins, and fats you eat, you need to ensure this is what you’re taking in.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t so great with actually measuring their consumption and as such, underestimate how much they are really eating.
Just one or two errors – especially when it comes to calorie dense foods such as olive oil or peanut butter, could wipe our your daily calorie deficit, causing you to reach a plateau.
If you ever find that weight loss seems to be slowing down, get out those measuring cups and spoons along with your food scale and start measuring everything.
More often than not, this will jump-start results again. If you want success with no plateaus, do this from the very beginning.
Check out our IIFYM flexible dieting guide to find out how to calculate your optimal food intake for achieving a shredded physique.
Step 6: Add A Smart Fat Burning Supplement
Next, you also want to consider adding an effective fat burning supplement. Don’t be too quick to jump onto the first one you find however. There are far too many products out there that are more hype than anything else.
Buy the wrong supplement, and not only will you not see any results, but some are downright dangerous.
Look for a product that is backed by credible research with regards to the ingredients it contains.
Only purchase a fat burner that has ingredients backed by science, in the correct dosing that matches the research. For example, if 50mg of synephrine is the clinically effective dose for fat loss, you want to see 50mg in the supplement.
Some of the quality and effective ingredients you’ll want to keep an eye out for include green tea extract, caffeine, and cayenne pepper extract, all three of which are natural for the body and will help to elevate your metabolic rate and speed up fat burning.
Additionally, they can also help boost performance, as was noted in a study published in the Medicine And Science in Sports.
Researchers found that those who supplement with caffeine during exercise noted a lower perceived level of fatigue in that workout, allowing them to exercise longer and harder.
You might also consider looking for a product containing Synephrine, which is a natural extract that will help to improve the speed of fat burning and suppress appetite levels without posing the threat of side effects like the comparable, ephedrine does.
Staying safe with your fat loss journey is key and this ingredient will help you do so all while still seeing great results.
Make sure when looking for a product, you avoid anything that contains a ‘proprietary blend’. “Proprietary blend” simply means that the product is a piece of crap. You want to know precisely what it is you’re putting in your body, so if the label doesn’t state this clearly, put that product back on the shelf.
Check out BURN-XT, a fat burner which satisfies all of these requirements. It contains 100% proven-effective fat loss ingredients backed by real science, in the correct doses, without shady ‘proprietary blends’.
Step 7: Add A Quality Omega 3 Supplement
The second supplement you’ll want to be taking regularly is a high quality omega 3 fish oil supplement.
Most people are not taking in sufficient levels of the important essential omega-3 fatty acids on a day to day basis and it’ll be even harder with a reduced calorie diet.
Omega-3 fatty acids are important for boosting insulin sensitivity, which will in turn help your body utilize the carbohydrates you eat that much better.
Rather than shuttling them towards fat storage, you’ll be more prone to using them to build up more lean muscle mass or burning the mas energy.
Take 3 grams of omega 3 per day for optimal results.
Step 8: Add HIIT Training Into Your Protocol
On the exercise side of things, high intensity interval training is what you want to be focused on as far as cardio training goes.
This style of training is going to have you working at maximum capacity, but as a result of this, you’ll also boost your resting metabolic rate for hours after the workout is finished. This means superior fat burning all day long.
In one study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers had women partake in a two week interval training session and noted that the protocol increased their level of whole body fat oxidation by 36%.
Despite the fact that you may not be relying as much on fat as a fuel source during this activity, don’t think that means you aren’t burning fat.
High intensity training is also ideal for those who are pressed for time as a typical session takes no longer than about 25 minutes, including the warm-up and cool-down.
For those who really want to shorten up their gym commitment, they can also try the ultra-intense Tabata training protocol, which only lasts four minutes long and is one of the top methods of fat burning.
Step 9: Focus On Heavy Weight Lifting
Now we need to discuss your weight lifting program. In order to get really shredded, you have to train heavy. It’s going to help ensure that you’re not just burning body fat, but carving & maintaining a jacked physique underneath.
Not only that, but just like HIIT, weight lifting will also boost your metabolic rate for hours to come after the session is finished.
You can anticipate a 48 hour boost and if you do build more lean muscle mass, you’ll see a permanent increase in your metabolism for as long as you sustain that muscle mass.
Researchers from the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Maryland noted that when a 24 week protocol of strength training was introduced, subjects saw a mean increase of 7% to their resting metabolic rate thanks to this training.
To make your strength training workouts most effective, focus on lifting as heavy of a weight as possible, while also keeping the rest periods short. This will force your body to train in an anaerobic manner, which creates that post workout calorie burn we mentioned.
Step 10: Tend To Your Sleep Needs
Finally, last but definitely not least, focus on your sleep. While it may seem strange to focus on something that burns hardly any calories at all, if you aren’t sleeping as much as you should, you’re sacrificing your results.
Sleep is imperative to success. Not only do those who sleep longer each night maintain a higher metabolic rate (and therefore more fat burning) all day long, but they’re also going to have greater appetite control and improved insulin sensitivity as well.
Not to mention, after a good night’s sleep you’ll feel ready to tackle any intense workout coming your way. After a poor night’s sleep, you may forgo the gym entirely. That will also have a strong influence on the results that you see.
Researchers published a study in the Journal of Obesity that noted that compared to those who slept an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night, those getting five or fewer hours showed a positive association with being obese.
In addition to this, they also noted that those not sleeping enough had a greater tendency to store fat in the abdominal region as opposed to evenly throughout the body.
Aim for eight, if not nine quality hours each night when trying to get shredded as your body will need even more time than normal to repair damage to the body created throughout the day.
Enjoy the results!
So there you have your 10 steps to shredded success. Are you missing out on any of these? Put together a solid game plan of attack before you take one more step forward if you want to guarantee that you see results.
Dulloo, Abdul G., et al. “Efficacy of a green tea extract rich in catechin polyphenols and caffeine in increasing 24-h energy expenditure and fat oxidation in humans.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 70.6 (1999): 1040-1045.
Johnston, Carol S., Sherrie L. Tjonn, and Pamela D. Swan. “High-protein, low-fat diets are effective for weight loss and favorably alter biomarkers in healthy adults.” The Journal of nutrition 134.3 (2004): 586-591.
Hämäläinen, E. K., et al. “Decrease of serum total and free testosterone during a low-fat high-fibre diet.” Journal of steroid biochemistry 18.3 (1983): 369-370.
Lemmer, JEFFREY T., et al. “Effect of strength training on resting metabolic rate and physical activity: age and gender comparisons.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 33.4 (2001): 532-541.
Patel, Sanjay R., et al. “The association between sleep duration and obesity in older adults.” International journal of obesity 32.12 (2008): 1825-1834.
Talanian, Jason L., et al. “Two weeks of high-intensity aerobic interval training increases the capacity for fat oxidation during exercise in women.” Journal of applied physiology 102.4 (2007): 1439-1447.