If you’ve ever met someone who’s ripped, lean, or shredded, you might have noticed just how insane it looks. But what you didn’t see is how much effort it took to get there.
In reality, you simply can’t get ripped or shredded in 1 week – it’s impossible. That said, we can help you look marginally better in a single week… Here’s how.
Lean vs. Shredded – What’s the Difference?
First, school is in session! Pack your protein-packed pancakes for lunch, and let me explain some terminology to you.
We often confuse being lean with being shredded. But there’s a phenomenal difference between the two, and as amazing as that difference is, it’s also remarkably simple:
Being lean simply means you have relatively low fat on your body, whereas being shredded means you have virtually zero fat on your body.
Both of these would require a decent amount of muscle mass. While that sounds pretty easy, many would argue building the muscle in the first place is far harder than just losing the fat!
Hah, imagine that! I’m not in this part … I’m a secret fatty (throwback to Bruce finishing the cake in Matilda).
Now, you might be thinking: what does it take to even get lean, and what on earth would it take to get to a point where you have so many visible veins that a paper cut could be life-threatening?
Well, to get shredded, you simply push past lean. Yup, there’s no secret formula or anything – you simply work harder for longer, and that’s that.
Sure, high-level bodybuilders might use techniques like carb cycling and refeeds to elicit more fat loss. However, for the general public, a simple diet and training program is perfect.
I’ve been shredded maybe 3 times. It lowkey sucks. It takes hours of work and sacrifice, you’re always hungry, and you lose all sense of humor.
But if you’re still eager to get shredded, allow me to show you how.
So, How Long Will It Take To Get Shredded?
Before we actually tell you how to get shredded, let’s address the main question about timing. How long will it take to get shredded?
That’s really hard to answer, but I’ll try my best. Generally, about four months to get shredded is a pretty good goal for the average person. But it really depends on your starting point:
|Current Body Fat Percentage||Time to Shredded|
|>25%||22 – 25 weeks|
|20 – 25%||18 – 23 weeks|
|15 – 20%||16 – 19 weeks|
|10 – 15%||12 weeks|
|7 – 10%||4 – 8 Weeks|
|<7% (you’re already Shredded)||None (Post the pictures to Instagram already!)|
* Note: This is a massive shot in the dark and will depend on a myriad of variables – such as muscle mass, activity level, diet, gender, hormones, etc. Take this with a heaping pinch of salt.
Great, so now you have a general idea of how long it could take for you to be peeled. A good weight loss tip to remember is that you should aim to lose 0.5 – 1.0% of your total body weight per week. Even if the goal is getting exotically lean, you still have limitations.
And now, my favorite part – how to get shredded as fast as possible – because you’re definitely not getting shredded in 7 days, let alone two weeks.
I’ll be creating this plan for someone who’s already in the 10 – 15% body fat range. If you’re higher up in this range, you’re better off following a simple approach.
Let’s look at a few things we need to mention before we get peeled:
- You’ll become extremely tired and irritable, and most people will notice your change.
- Your significant other will notice a change in libido, as yours will crash.
- You’ll spend quite a lot of time per day in the gym and the kitchen.
- Your diet will suck. No, like, way worse than you think it might.
If you’re A-OK with all of these, then let me show you the way forward!
How To Get Shredded Fast
So, by now, you’ve probably done a decent amount of dieting with weight training and cardio. Ideally, you’d want to do the least amount of work for the most amount of results.
This translates into eating the most you possibly can while still losing weight – and doing the least amount of cardio while still losing weight.
Step 1: Decide on a Schedule
Get used to the idea of decreasing food more as well as increasing cardio. Ideally, we’d still want to aim for that 0.5 – 1.0% of weight loss per week, as this is the sweet spot.
However, the leaner you get, the higher the risk of muscle loss becomes. This means we have to start managing cardio and nutrition even more.
How do we do that? Simple: carb cycling and cardio cycling.
Let’s look at a person who’s rather focused on keeping their legs large. Thus, leg training days are incredibly intense.
Here’s how a week’s training, cardio, and diet could look:
|Day of the Week||Muscle Trained||Cardio||Diet|
|Monday||Push Day||90 Minutes||Low Carbs|
|Tuesday||Leg Day||45 Minutes||High Carbs|
|Wednesday||Off||120 Minutes||Low Carbs|
|Thursday||Pull Day||90 Minutes||Medium Carbs|
|Friday||Push Day||90 Minutes||Low Carbs|
|Saturday||Leg Day||45 Minutes||High Carbs|
As you can see, this person is partitioning more food to the harder days, which could allow them to train harder, work harder, and just avoid killing someone. On the other hand, fats and protein would remain the same every day.
Step 2: Be Strategic About Your Diet
Start making use of nutrient timing and other food “skills” to get the most from your recovery and training. For instance, studies have found that combining carbs with essential amino acids while training could lower cortisol.
While drinking carbs doesn’t seem like the most fun idea on a cut, you might see such an improvement in overall functionality due to decreased cortisol that it could be worth it!
Another thing to try is partitioning more carbs around your workout – in general. If you only have, like, 120 grams of carbs per day, you’d benefit a lot from having them around your workout. This will allow you to (potentially) have more energy and recovery.
One last thing is to play around with your macro split. Since we know that gym performance is a great indication of muscle preservation, we can use it to gauge whether more changes in your diet are needed.
Pro bodybuilders will (sometimes) reduce protein slightly and increase carbohydrates the same amount to allow for more energy and – therefore – better lifts.
If you’re someone that runs hungry a lot (like ya boy), then this tip sucks, but for some of my clients, it has worked.
Step 3: Play Around With the Volume
Don’t be scared to lower the volume! Once you dip lower than 11% body fat, you’ll notice your capabilities in the gym suffering a lot. If you could once rock out 20 sets with ease, even 15 sets might make you rethink everything.
As you continue to diet, your recovery capabilities (and strength) will decrease. This is why dropping your volume is a must. That way, your remaining sets can be a lot harder and more intense. Quality over quantity. You might start your cut with 12 sets and end with 6 sets.
I’m 4 weeks out from a bodybuilding show. I started with 12 sets on the chest on a Monday, and I currently only do 5 sets.
Step 4: Consistency!
Stay consistent. This might only be a few weeks, but if you take one day per week to “chill,” then an 8-week cut might only be 7 weeks. The longer and more often you can remain consistent, the better, so give it your absolute all.
Look Your Best in 7 Days
Can you really change the way you look in 7 days? Of course, you can. However, just how much depends.
See, you won’t go from depressed Thor to hunky Thor with absolutely ripped arms in a week. You’ll barely go from Thor 1 Chris Hemsworth to Thor 3 Chris. This is only reserved for people who are already below 13% body fat.
The purpose of the last 7 days is to get you dehydrated (to an extent), filled with carbohydrates, and as lean as possible. Now, there’s a slight danger to this. So again, this is more for high-level people, and we highly suggest you talk to your doctor about this first.
If you even have to ask yourself, “Am I high-level?” then you aren’t.
For this situation, you’ll start your prep the Saturday before your photoshoot/event the next Saturday.
Saturday (or 6 Days From the Event)
You’ll begin the process by ramping up your water intake to at least twice the normal amount. This increases the diuretic actions in your body (which might be broscience) and will cause you to urinate more. You’ll continue doing your normal training and cardio.
Sunday (or 5 Days From the Event)
You’ll still drink twice your normal water intake, but you’ll eat as few carbs as you can get away with – preferably all veggies. This is known as the depletion phase. Sunday should also be your last leg workout.
Monday (or 4 Days From the Event)
Yes, you’ll still be drinking that much water. But now, your training has changed to slightly more volume and reps, though you’ll only be using 80% of your regular load. Cardio should also drop by 20%.
Tuesday (or 3 Days From the Event)
Again, you’ll still be pounding the water, and carbs are still low. However, your cardio will drop another 20%, and loading for training will drop to 60%.
Wednesday (or 2 Days From the Event)
Keep pounding the water and keep your carbs low. But drop your cardio another 20% while loading for training drops to 60%.
Thursday (or 1 Day From the Event)
No change here. Still, keep pounding the water and low-carb diet. Drop your cardio another 20% and your loading for training to 60%.
Friday (or 24 Hours From the Event)
You’ll have MASSIVE changes now. Take notes.
- Carbs increase to at least 3g per pound and opt for carbs that digest easily.
- Water drops to a third (or even less) of what it’s been this whole week.
- No cardio and no training.
- Try to keep your feet up as much as you can.
- Try to relax as much as you possibly can.
And that’s it! Kill it at your event, and remember to take plenty of pictures!
A Few More Takeaways
Don’t try to mess with salt or potassium alterations, as this will certainly lead to you being flat or having cramps. You might also benefit from certain supplements and/or foods – such as vitamin C (which keeps you healthy), creatine (which keeps you full), and asparagus (a natural diuretic).
So, Can You Get Ripped & Shredded in 1 Week?
No, you definitely can’t get ripped in one week, not in two weeks, and probably not in three weeks, either. Getting shredded is a massive investment and will take weeks or months of training, dieting, and cardio.
Remember your three C’s – Cucumbers, Creatine, and Cardio – the trinity of fat loss
(P.S. – Cucumbers are great in a cut because they have crunch. Diet foods rarely have a crunch.)
Your best bet is to calculate how much weight you need to lose and then estimate how long it would take using the 0.5 – 1.0% of weight loss per week. That way, you can (relatively) accurately estimate how long it would take for you to get shredded.
One last thing – being shredded isn’t all that great. It’s a pain, and it’s quite unhealthy, especially if you’re female. It can wreak havoc on your hormones if you aren’t careful, so be careful…