Pump the Rocky music, dust off the old trainers, and visualize the target. Shredded abs, glistening chest, and quads that’ll make track athletes go “Dayum!”.
Yes, you can go from fat to ripped in 6 months if you maintain a caloric deficit, consume high protein, and follow a consistent resistance training routine.
Going from fat to ripped seems like an enormous task, and while it is, there’s one secret. Do only what is necessary – to see what I mean, grab my hand, and let’s delve into the world of “The Recomp”.
What Does it Mean to be “Ripped”?
Insert an image of Thor (before Endgame) and you might have an idea about what I’m talking about. Being ripped is simply a term used by gym folk to describe someone who has a decent amount of muscle mass with an exceptionally lean body.
In order to achieve this, the person has spent time building muscle over a period of time, and then made the conscious decision to adapt their life, diet, and training in the pursuit of fat loss.
Can you really get ripped in 6 months? Yes, of course, you can!
Right off the bat, it really is that simple. While many have tried to win you (and your dollars) over with fancy words and “snake oils”, the reality is you simply make small decisions that amass in a large change.
This is where that secret comes into play. “Only do only what is necessary”. Oftentimes we are so over consumed with this enormous task when we should really be focussing on the next step.
So, in order to get ripped you simply need the following:
- A decent amount of muscle mass: In order to strip away that fat and look quite muscular, you’re going to have to engage in some form of resistance training (Weight training, bodyweight training, or CrossFit)
- Some form of diet: Regardless of what type of diet you follow (Keto, High Carb, etc) it really comes down to being in a calorie deficit
- Consistency: No matter the goal, you’re going to have to be consistent. How long it takes you to get ripped from fat really depends on this point.
So, How Do You Actually Get Ripped?
When it comes to being shredded, you may have noticed some people seem to have it easier than others. Or so you might be thinking…
- “Body types” do not exist: There is no such thing as an Ecto -, Meso -, and Endomorph. These Somatotypes were developed by William Herbert Sheldon, a psychologist, back in the 1940s! There is no empirical science to show these exist.
- Some people are naturally leaner: Yes, this is true. Some people have faster metabolisms due to their own endocrine system, and usually, these people also have a harder time building quality muscle.
To end that part, be thankful for what you have. You might have exceptional genes for quads.
Be proud of them! Work your butt off (literally) to improve the parts you aren’t happy with but don’t beat yourself up. Be the best you that you can be.
So now that we’ve established that you can get ripped with pretty much any genetics (granted you don’t have Thyroid problems), we can start looking at exactly how you go from bulky to ripped in 6 months.
- You have to change your diet: Presuming you’re starting from a place where your diet might be rich in tasty but unhealthy food, make the smallest change necessary. Just eat slightly less, and logic (and thermodynamics) dictates that we will see a reduction in body weight
- Make lifestyle changes: To be something you haven’t been, you’re going to have to do things you have not been doing. This means introducing an exercise regime, and maybe something as small as increasing your daily step count
All in all, the process of becoming ripped is a simple yet lengthy journey. Let’s go over what you should be doing over the course of 6 months:
Step 1: Make Simple Adjustments
Month 1 has arrived, and you are ready to get started! Well, let’s look at that secret from the beginning and remember that we should only do what is necessary.
Aiming to accomplish too much, in the beginning, can leave you depleted and unmotivated. The simple adjustments you want to make at the beginning of your journey are as follows:
- Slightly decrease the amount of food you’re eating. Grab your phone and track your calories over the course of three days (you can use MyFitnessPal, a very nifty app)
- Once you have established your daily intake, try simply lowering that by around 10 -15%. If you can, try to have most of those calories come from Carbs and Fats, try to keep protein as high as possible
- Increase your step count by 1000 steps every two weeks. Steps are a very easy way to burn calories without even thinking about it
- Drink more water. While not massively so, some studies suggest that consuming more water can lead to increased fat loss
- Switch out sugar beverages for sugar-free ones (Sweetener is NOT bad for you when consumed in normal amounts)
Most of these are in the pursuit of putting you in a calorie deficit. This is still the only way that humans can lose weight, it is, after all, the laws of thermodynamics.
Step 2 – Start Training
Once you have made the adjustments to step one, you might have already lost a few pounds! Closer already, look at you go!
This would be the best time to talk about starting training – as long as your weight and ligaments allow you to do so. Remember, only do as much as necessary, and as much as you comfortably can.
This plan is about sustainability!
There are two types of training, Resistance and Cardiovascular. Both are exceptionally good for you, but neither is really “better” for fat loss, seeing as they both have benefits and drawbacks.
To get ripped, you’re better off doing both. Resistance training is going to help you build muscle mass, while cardiovascular training is a great way to easily burn calories, and improve your health markers as well!
Let’s look at an easy program to start off with:
|Day of the Week||Muscles Trained||Cardio Performed|
|Monday||Chest, Shoulders, Triceps||Elliptical Machine|
|Tuesday||Back, Biceps, Calves||Incline Walking|
|Wednesday||Off||Gentle walk outside|
|Friday||Chest, Triceps, Abs||Elliptical Machine|
|Saturday||Back, Biceps, Calves||Incline Walking|
One thing to remember about training is that it’s supposed to be fun! If you like doing a certain type of training (running, lifting, CrossFit, etc) then you’re more likely to keep doing that!
Pick a training style you like doing, and the same goes for cardio. Cardio can become a bit boring, but is so important for health – you gotta do it. One last thing, be mindful of training volume!
Don’t dive in and do as much as you possibly can the first week. Aim to train with resistance 3-5 times per week, 6 times is fine too!
The same goes for cardio. Again, this plan is about sustainability. Various people find success with 3 lifting sessions (full body) and 4-5 cardio sessions per week.
Keep cardio sessions 10 – 20 minutes in the beginning, and only increase every time you feel like a fat loss has stalled. You can decide whether you would prefer high-intensity or low-intensity cardio.
Both work perfectly fine, but keep in mind you do have a slightly higher risk of injury when performing the high-intensity activity.
Step 3 – Make Different Food Choices
So you’ve made small adjustments and training for a few weeks, and you’re losing weight at a rapid pace! You’re still eating the food you’ve been eating before, just less. Now, we’re finally ready to get nitty-gritty with your diet too.
First, let’s break down the different types of foods:
Protein: Protein consists of the Amino Acids that are needed to build muscle mass. You should aim to get around 0.8g per pound of body weight in the first 3 months, and then increase that to 1.0 – 1.36g per pound of body weight in the last 3 months.
Common protein options include:
- Whey Protein
- Tofu Beef
Fats: Dietary fats are quite important for a few different reasons such as fat-soluble vitamins, cellular health, fighting inflammation, and even managing hormones! You would need a good amount of fats, aiming for 0.3 – 0.6g per pound of bodyweight is a good start, but you can increase it if you’d like (as long as you remain within your caloric requirements).
Healthy fat options include:
- Omega Fatty Acids
- Olive Oil
Carbs: Once you start training you’ll realize just how important carbs are to your performance. carbs are the energy source of choice for your mind and body. Many believe that because of insulin, carbs make you fat. Every single study on earth agrees that total calories dictate fat loss, not insulin.
Healthy carb options include:
- Whole Grains
Step 4 – Adjust “How Much” You Should Eat
Now that we’ve established what the different types of foods are, we can look at exactly how much you need to survive, but more importantly, how much you need to thrive!
When you’re trying to get ripped, the idea is that you need to be in a calorie deficit so that the “missing” calories need to come from stored body fat. The body will naturally break down fat cells into energy to survive once we’re in a calorie deficit.
How do you know how much you actually need to be eating? Well, you have a few different options actually:
- MyFitnessPal has a built-in calculator
- You can use the Harris-Benedict Equation
- You could try to calculate it by trial and error, seeing how many calories are needed to simply maintain your weight
Once your maintenance calories are calculated, you need to split it into the different macronutrients:
- Protein: 0.8 – 1.36g per pound of body weight
- Fats: At least 0.3 – 0.6g per pound of body weight
- Carbs: Rest of your calories
Don’t forget! To be in a calorie deficit, you need to be eating less than maintenance to actually cause fat loss!
Example: 200lb Male, 27 years old, 6’0’’, training 3 times per week
Maintenance Calories: 3100 Calories
Protein: 200g (200 x 1.0 = 200)
Fats: 80g (200 x 0.4 = 80)
Carbs: 2900 Calories – (800 Calories from Protein) – (720 Calories from Fat) = 1380 Calories
Carbs: 1380 Calories / 4 Calories per gram of Carb = 345g of Carbs
Calculate these dietary needs for yourself and follow them for a few weeks until fat loss stops. Once this happens, reduce total calories by 200 (most coming from Carbohydrates or Fats).
Other tips to help the diet process are:
- Including a lot of Leafy Green Veggies in your diet
- Loading up on sugar-free drinks
- Trying to reduce alcohol intake
- Including more protein in your meals
- Try using Creatine – it has been shown to improve training and brain function
- Get more than 7 hours of sleep every night
- There is no magic amount of meals per day, whatever suits your lifestyle
Ready to Go from Fat to Ripped?
Can you get from fat to ripped in 6 months? Absolutely, depending on where you actually start from.
Aiming for a program that is sustainable is going to be key for you to make progress that is going to actually work, and not just disappear immediately.
By following the steps laid out in this article you’ll be on your way to being leaner in no time! Remember to lift heavy, eat your veggies, and take every win you can.
Have patience, and enjoy the process! If it took you a few years to get where you are now, it won’t change with a few weeks’ worths of dieting.
Keep your head up and keep working! You got this, just focus on that next step.