It’s so common for those annoying infomercials and YouTube ads to scream at you about how “all you need to do to lose weight is take this supplement and you will lose all your fat in less than a month!”
And, I hate to be the one to say this, but getting ripped in 30 days is a total lie.
Nobody in the history of the world can look like that in just 4 weeks. You can see some serious progress though!
What is “Lean and Ripped”
This is a definition that gets misconstrued quite often. In fact, both terms get used interchangeably in most conversations.
I don’t like this. It might be my English degree talking, but I think having exact definitions for your goals is considerably more beneficial.
Not only does it give you exact parameters, but it also will give you a basis for conversations.
Therefore, to be lean, you simply have to worry about looking skinny. Being ripped is all about having well-defined muscles.
Here are the parameters I like to use so simply have a baseline:
- Men: about 12-15% of body fat will allow some abs to show through
- Women: anything below about 17-20% will let some ab musculature be seen
There is always some variation for this because people are all different.
Don’t worry though, there are some steps you can take to still see progress!
Step 1 – Tracking
When it comes to getting lean and ripped there is one simple math equation that proves to reign supreme: “Calories in – calories out.”
In order to lose weight, especially fat, you must burn more calories than you take in. In order to do that there are two things that really need to happen: know how many calories you burn in a day and how many calories to consume in a day.
The first part will be the primary focus first.
So, how do you find your calorie burn in a day? There’s a calculator for it!
If you simply search in Google (or Yahoo! Or even Bing, if you’re so inclined) for “TDEE Calculator” then you will find what you’re looking for.
A TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure) Calculator is essentially just using a basic formula to calculate how many calories you typically need to burn in a day. It’s not 100% accurate because there is always individual variance, but it’s a great place to start.
You can then use this to figure out how many calories you should burn to lose weight at a reasonable rate. Then you will meet these parameters and get the lean and ripped look you’re after.
The way to track your calories is also simple:
- Simply download any major app that tracks your calories (I recommend MyFitnessPal because it has the largest library of foods, and if it doesn’t have it then you can add it)
- Log everything you put into your mouth using the app (This includes drinks, meals, snacks, etc.)
- Use this information to decide what’s actually important for you to consume.
This will set you up really quickly to start getting lean and hit your goals.
Macros! – A Subsection of Tracking
A subsection for tracking would be making sure you hit your macros.
The term gets thrown around a lot, but “macros” are really just the most common macronutrients to sustain life.
Sometimes, fiber gets thrown in there as well, but that isn’t super common. Typically, if you eat a bunch of fruit and veggies, then you will hit your macros anyway.
However, there is a base percentage for how each should be included in your daily calories:
- Protein is from 25-35%
- Fats are 20-40%
- Carbs are 25-55%
These numbers vary based on your goals and activity level. The best option is to get a nutritionist or dietician to help you hit the correct numbers for you to get lean and ripped.
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Step 2 – Adding NEAT
It may be my aviation background showing with all the acronyms here (because there is an acronym for literally anything you need to memorize), or it could be that using acronyms is just a lot easier than remembering what everything stands for and is easier to say.
Regardless of the reason, NEAT is really important to get lean and ripped. It’s quite simple to do really.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. To get the full picture of what that means, it helps to break down the term.
- Non-exercise is pretty self-explanatory. It’s all about not doing actual exercise.
- Activity is simply moving your body…in case you were unaware.
- Thermogenesis is defined by sciencedirect.com as “the dissipation of energy through the production of heat.”
Then we can check out this study to get the science behind NEAT.
Now for the explanation!
NEAT, in a nutshell, is simply the extra movement of your body without the intention of it being exercise.
- It’s when you park at the back of the parking lot instead of driving around to get a spot close to the doors.
- It’s when you have to move furniture for your spouse because they want to rearrange the bedroom only to tell you that they liked it better the way it was and they want you to move it back.
- It’s also simply bouncing your leg while you sit there at your computer.
Scientifically, NEAT is when you activate muscles and it creates a little extra heat and causes you to burn some extra calories.
That study I linked previously talks about how it is a game-changer when trying to get in shape. When you think that you have to burn an additional 500 calories a day, but don’t know how else you can do it, then you add NEAT.
Start simple and elevate from there. You can try parking further away at the grocery store or at work. Then when you are working, you can go on a walk around the building at lunch. After dinner, you can always take a little walk around the neighborhood also.
There are also additional benefits to going on walks after meals to help you lose weight also. It promotes digestion as well as getting extra calories burned.
Adding in NEAT is probably the simplest step in getting lean and ripped. It’s so simple to move more. Just add a walk to your routine, and you’ll see big benefits.
Step 3 – Workouts
Well, now that you have your TDEE calculated and know how many calories you typically burn a day and how much food you should eat to lose weight and have added in some extra movement with NEAT, there is another factor to get you ripped.
Now it’s time to focus on building muscle to accentuate your physique.
When you’re focusing on workouts, there are two mentalities you can take. They’re both effective, they just aim for different goals.
You can either exercise or train.
That may sound redundant, but there is an important distinction that gets lost a lot in modern discussions.
Exercising is simply working out for the sake of movement and health. This is a good route to take, but it isn’t as rigid as training and may take longer to achieve the look you’re after.
Then there is training. Training is different because it’s much more intentional.
Where exercise can be running till you get tired; training is running 6 miles to set a new personal record. It’s about doing intentional exercise to increase performance.
Training is a more intentional take on exercise. It involves pursuing a defined goal like:
- Weight loss
- Strength building
- Stretching to be more flexible
- Running for a specific distance goal
- Sprinting to set speed records
It’s important to note that both forms of workouts will allow you to achieve your goal. I would even go so far as to suggest you start out by simply exercising.
Once you start exercising and get to a pretty consistent schedule, then you can transition to training for a specific goal. Then I would recommend starting your exercising by simply moving more and doing fun stuff to help burn calories.
When it comes to training, I would start by focusing on form first. Everything else will come. You NEED form first otherwise you can end up getting injured.
There are multiple forms of exercising and training. You can start out exercising by doing something fun to get moving. Start with something like dancing or playing basketball at the park.
Then when you kind of start to notice you are losing weight and have a bit of excess energy, you can add in some intentional training like a novice bodybuilding routine.
It’s a long road, but if you have a goal then you can accomplish it.
Getting Lean and Ripped in 30 Days Conclusion
When it comes to actually get lean and ripped, it’s nearly impossible to do it in just 30 days. That’s the hard truth of the matter.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try though.
The biggest reason is that it takes longer for your body to shed excess weight. Your body is biologically designed to retain calories – which all stem from evolutionary needs.
When you have the goal of being lean and ripped, you have to make some sacrifices and be disciplined. There are really only 3 steps needed for this.
- Start by tracking your food and knowing your TDEE.
- Gradually increase how many calories you burn by adding in NEAT
- Workout intentionally (i.e. training)
It’s a very difficult process, but you can accomplish the goal of being lean and ripped by following these steps. It will just take more than 30 days.
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