Abs will always be a thing. New clothes keep coming each and every season, but abs keep being in style whether it’s summer, winter, spring, or even autumn season. Some people would want to have abs and get shredded altogether. However, getting shredded is not one of the easiest things to do. It’s not like everyone would just be walking around with six-packs and chiseled muscles because they want to.
Nowadays, it is actually easier to see people with big bellies than with abs.
With that said, in this article, we shall highlight various approaches you should try to get shredded.
What Getting Shredded Entails?
Getting shredded requires a combination of two things; building muscles and losing fat (4). There are different approaches to going about this. Some people prefer to build muscles first and then lose fat, while other people prefer to do both simultaneously. There is no shortcut for getting shredded; you have to put work into it no matter the method you are using to achieve it. The second method, where you lose fat while gaining muscles, is usually referred to as body recomposition. It is usually for pro-athletes and bodybuilders, but there is nobody who said an accountant with an 8-5 job can’t do it. This just requires a lot of work. So, let’s look at both approaches.
Getting Shredded: Building Muscles Then Losing Fat
This is the approach most people use when they want to get shredded, as it is much easier to comprehend. In this method, you first build muscles. There are many ways of building muscles, such as weight-lifting, increasing your protein intake, among others. When you get the muscles you needed, then you will lose fat using the muscles you have gained. This works from the fact that muscles burn more calories at rest compared to fat mass. This works to create a calorie deficit hence leading to weight loss. This is not to say that once you build muscles, you’ll just let the muscles do the work of burning calories until you are lean. You have to combine what the muscles are doing with a lot of cardio, a low-calorie diet, and weight lifting to achieve your desired results.
Getting Shredded: Simultaneously Losing Body Fat And Gaining Muscles
This process is usually quite confusing to many (2). This is due to the fact that different actions are required to lose fat mass and a different set of different actions are required to help gain muscle mass. Losing weight requires the body to break down the fats it has stored for energy and this is a catabolic process (7).
For this catabolic process to happen, calorie deficit through either nutrition or working out needs to be introduced. In terms of nutrition, it is quite easy, you need to eat below your daily calorie intake so that you can trigger weight loss. For example, if your daily calorie intake is 2400 calories in a day, reducing the calorie intake by 500 calories which translates to 1900 calories a day will result in you losing 1 pound by the end of the week. This is a healthy pace to lose weight which is recommended by health experts.
Different from losing weight which is a catabolic process, gaining lean mass (muscles) occurs through an anabolic process (7). The process of gaining muscles requires a lot of exercises, mostly strength training exercises together with good nutrition. In regards to nutrition, to gain muscles, you need to provide some macros in larger quantities as they are required for one to gain muscles.
A good example of macros you need to take in larger quantities are proteins and carbohydrates. Proteins are needed because they help facilitate building of muscles and also help to keep the already available muscles. Carbohydrates on the other hand are needed to provide energy. This is from the fact that you’ll be exercising a lot and for you to workout effectively, you need to have enough energy. Carbohydrates will also prevent the body from using muscles for energy and hence prevent loss of muscle mass.
Now, how can one lose body fat while gaining muscles simultaneously then? It is important to note that this process is more of a lifestyle. It is something you have to adapt doing in order to get the required or desired results. Losing body fat and gaining muscle mass simultaneously requires one to find a balance between muscle gain and fat loss. If you find it hard to get the right balance, there are so many experts like nutritionists and dieticians you can consult to help you with that. A professional will help design the best body recomposition food plan for you. They will also help you design the best workout plan for you to lose weight, as well as the best workout plan for you to gain muscles.
With that said, one way that has proved to be effective in achieving this is a high protein intake combined with a well-planned strength training program. A study whose purpose was to test whether manipulation of dietary protein intake during a marked energy deficit in addition to intense exercise training would affect changes in the body composition was done (3).
The study took four weeks. The participants were young guys who were put into two groups. One group was to consume a lower protein control diet, and the other was to consume a higher protein diet. In addition to the diets, all study participants were to undergo strength- training exercises combined with HIIT for six days every week. Before the study, tests of their body composition were taken and the same was done after the study (3).
It was proved that lean body mass increased in the higher protein group to a greater extent compared to the lower protein control group. The higher protein group also had a greater loss of fat mass than it did in the lower protein control group. From the results, it is absolutely clear that the high protein diet consumption combined with the high volume of resistance training and anaerobic exercise was effective in promoting an increase in lean body mass and a loss of fat mass (3).
How Long Does It Take To Get Shredded?
Most people like working out with a timeline on their minds. For example, if it is 3 months to the summer, a person will want to be shredded in three months, but that is not how getting shredded works. Shredding requires a lifestyle change that involves a lot of working out and a change of diet. They’re also factors that will influence this process, such as genes, and hence there is no blanket answer to how long it takes to get shredded.
Meal Plan To Get Shredded
When it comes to diet, there are many different meal plans you can follow to get shredded. The food plan you follow depends on the approach you are using to get shredded. If you want to lose fat while gaining muscles, a high protein diet would be effective, as you’ve seen above, and another diet plan that would work is calorie cycling.
Get Shredded Diet: Calorie Cycling
This is the best diet when it comes to gaining muscles while losing fat. What calorie cycling entails is basically consuming the calories your body will need on that particular day. This means that the number of calories you consume will differ from day to day.
To lose fat you need to consume less calories than your daily calorie intake. This creates a calorie deficit which leads to weight loss. To gain muscles, you have to do a lot of exercises which require a lot of energy and energy is gotten from foods like carbohydrates. Apart from carbohydrates, when you are in the process of gaining muscles, you need to increase your protein intake as proteins help you to build muscles as well as preserve the muscles you currently have.
The idea behind this meal plan is that when you are seriously working out you consume more calories and when you are not working out you consume less calories (5). Before you jump into this diet plan, you first need to figure out your daily calorie intake. From there you can add more calories during resistance training days and reduce your daily calorie intake on rest days.
Get Shredded Diet: Low-Calorie Diet
This is yet another diet that can help you get shredded. This particular diet is effective during the cutting stage when you want to lose fat. It is simpler compared to the calorie cycling diet.
What you need to find first is your basal metabolic rate, and from there, you can reduce 500-1000 calories a day from your daily calorie intake. If you reduce your calorie intake by 500 calories by the end of the week, you’ll be able to lose 1 pound, which is 3500 calories. If you reduce your daily calorie intake by 1000 by the end of the week, you’ll be able to lose 2 pounds, which is 7000 calories. When on this diet plan, it is important to make sure your daily calorie needs don’t go below 1200 calories. You should also not cut your calories too low as this could lead you to lose muscles, which is something you don’t want to happen. Remember, the goal is to lose fat mass as you gain muscles.
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Workout Plans For Getting Shredded
We’ve looked at the different diets that will get you shredded, but diets are just half the journey. You have to complement those diets with a good workout plan for you to get shredded. Here are some of the exercises that can help you achieve your goal:
Cardiovascular exercises are particularly important during the cutting stage of the getting shredded process. As we said earlier, it requires you to lose fat mass as you gain lean mass or muscles. Cardio is very effective when it comes to losing fat. It can also help create a calorie deficit, which then leads to weight loss.
There is no way you can get ripped without doing the various strength-training exercises. Here are some reasons why strength-training exercises are important:
They Help Build Muscles
The whole plan of getting ripped is having less fat mass and a lot of muscle mass, and strength training exercises help achieve that.
They Help Maintain Existing Muscles
The goal is to lose fat mass and not lean mass. The various strength training exercises help you keep the muscle mass you already have, hence, you build on what you already have instead of starting from zero.
They Help With Weight Loss
Although strength-training exercises don’t burn as many calories as cardio exercises, they still help with weight loss. They help in losing weight by building muscles. This is from the fact that muscles have a higher resting metabolic rate compared to fat mass. This means that muscles burn more fat even while at rest compared to fat mass, which helps in weight loss.
Strength-Training Exercises Examples
Weight lifting is the most common type of strength-training, and hence, we don’t need to say much about it. Apart from weight lifting, other strength-training exercises don’t actually require you to go to the gym, and they can still get the work done. Here are examples of strength-training exercises that either uses one’s body weight as resistance or use equipment like barbells and resistance bands, which are cheap and can easily be bought by people.
How to do it (6):
- Stand securely in the middle of the band. Spread your feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Hold one end of the band in each hand.
- With your arms by your side and palms facing you, hinge forward at your hips, keeping your knees straight. Do not allow your low back to round forward. This is the position you start from.
- Lift your chest and squeeze your hips forward as you come into an upright posture. Hold this for two to three seconds; then return to the hip-hinge position. Repeat 10 times and work up to 3 sets in a row.
Resistance Band Seated Row
How to do it:
- Start by sitting down on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
- Wrap a therapy resistance band underneath the curves of your feet. You should keep your back upright, your chest out, and your shoulders rolled back.
- Flex your elbows and draw them back. Squeeze your scapulas, and do not lean back.
- Slowly, extend your hands and bring them back to the original position.
- You should do three sets of fifteen repetitions.
How to do it:
- Anchor the middle of the band overhead. You should use a strong object like a door frame to hold it firmly.
- Reach for the band and grab each end using each hand. Make sure your hands are wide apart.
- Squeeze the muscles on the sides of your back and pull the band toward your chest. Your elbows will bend with this movement. Stop when your hands reach or are close enough to your shoulders.
- Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax.
- You should do three sets of ten repetitions of this exercise.
Bulgarian Split Squat
How to do it:
- Start by picking up a pair of dumbbells. Then raise the toes of your left foot and place them on a raised surface. It can be a bench, stair, or chair. While doing all these, make sure your right leg remains straight. You should also make sure your right foot is out far enough so that when you lower your hips, your knee stays directly over your ankle.
- Then bend your right knee, squeeze your left glute and lower your pelvis towards the floor.
- Press your right heel to the ground to straighten your right knee. This counts as one repetition.
Weighted Glute Bridge
How to do it:
- You start by lying down on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground. Your feet should be hip-width apart.
- Then hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest the dumbbells right under your hip bones. This is the original starting position.
- The next step is to squeeze your glutes and abs and push through your heels to lift your hips just a few inches from the ground. While doing this, make sure your body makes a straight line, all the way from your shoulders to your knees.
- Hold that position for a few seconds, then slowly lower your hips to return to the original starting position. That counts as one rep.
- Aim for 8 to 12 reps.
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How to perform it (6):
- First, lie flat on a bench. Make sure the bench is straight and firm. You don’t want to have the wrong form or fall.
- Using a medium-width grip, light the bar from the rack and hold it straight over you with your arms locked. This is your original starting position.
- From the previous position, lower the bar gently until it slightly touches your chest. Hold this position for some seconds.
- Push up the bar to the original starting position as you breathe out. That counts as one repetition. You can do as many reps as you want
How to do it (6):
- First, stand straight with your hands fully extended while holding a pull-up bar.
- While keeping your knees bent, pull yourself up until your chin touches the bar.
- Return to the original position and repeat as many times as you can.
The Bottom Line
To get shredded, you need to change your whole lifestyle, starting from your diet to your workout plan. Getting shredded is not easy, and thus it requires you to invest a lot of your time, energy and resources to get the desired outcomes. As you have seen from the article, there are two ways of going about it, and it all depends on which approach you prefer. Before you start this process of getting shredded, you need to consult an expert and see what they recommend. When it comes to exercises, you need to remember that the more intense the exercises, the better the results will be. Therefore, start lifting heavier weights and increasing the intensity of your workouts (1).
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- 10 FAT-TORCHING TIPS FOR A SHREDDED PHYSIQUE (n.d., muscleandfitness.com)
- BULKING AND SHREDDING: WHAT IS IT AND IS IT FOR ME? (2017, puregym.com)
- Higher compared with lower dietary protein during an energy deficit combined with intense exercise promotes greater lean mass gain and fat mass loss: a randomized trial (2016, academic.oup.com)
- How to Get Shredded: 10 Steps to Getting a Six Pack (2019, trifectanutrition.com)
- The Basics of Body Recomposition: How to Lose Fat and Gain Muscle (n.d., myfitnesspal.com)
- Weight loss: 5 compound exercises that can help you get body of your dreams (2019, thehealthsite.com)
- Why Body Recomposition Is the New Weight Loss ( n.d., shape.com)