Everyone who body builds wants to achieve a perfectly ripped physique because, in bodybuilding, image is exceptionally important. However, once you’ve bulked up to your desired weight, it’s not always easy to achieve the ripped physique you’re after, unless you know how. When trying to cut – i.e. lose mass but maintain muscle and tone up – you’ll have to constantly monitor your stats because you’ll have to amend your routine as you tone. Supplements and exercise are obviously really important when you’re trying to get ripped but nutrition and learning to monitor your mass is what we will cover in this article. To get a ripped physique, you’ve got to be strict with yourself, counting calories, weighing food, calculating nutritional value and monitoring the compositional changes of your body – i.e. muscle, lean mass and fat.

Before you start

The first thing that it’s essential to do before you even begin working on your look, is analyse your body composition so that you’re aware of your starting point and have something to measure against in the future. One thing you definitely don’t want to do is start losing muscle which means it’s essential to maintain your calorie intake, don’t cut right down to 500 calories a day and blitz a cardio workout in the gym because, although you’ll lose weight, a lot of it will be muscle – not what you want at all. When you’re cutting, lean mass loss must be minimised and if you cut too many calories, it is the lean mass – muscle – that’s first to go. Weight loss needs to be planned and it can never be a quick process if you want to maintain your muscle levels. Although it’s essential to lose weight when cutting, sacrificing the muscle that you’ve spent so long building up is one of the stupidest things to do. There are a number of ways to analyse your body composition, you can take your own measurements, use cheap tongs that measures it for you or even enter a pod that will use computers to analyse it for you – although this can be quite expensive.

Calculate the number of calories you should be eating each day

Once you’ve established your body composition, based on the amount of exercise you’re doing it should be pretty easy to work out how many calories your body needs each day. You can only work out your recommended calorie intake after finding out your body composition because you need to know your lean body mass. Once you’ve got your lean body mass you’ll be able to work out your resting metabolic rate: Men: Lean mass (lbs.) x 12.5 = resting metabolic rate Women: Lean mass (lbs.) x 11 = resting metabolic rate Next you need to work out the energy cost of exercise (this includes energy used in daily activities as well as dedicated exercise). To do this you need to multiply the number of minutes you spend doing weights by 0.086 and then multiply this by your actual weight (in kg). The number you’re left with is an estimate of the number of calories you’re burning in the gym.

Consume a high protein diet

Just because you’re taking in a lot of protein doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t also be eating a lot of carbs as carbs are essential for maintaining your lean body mass. Protein is great because it causes your body to feel full for longer and also burns more calories because it takes more energy to digest, compared to fats or carbohydrates. Studies have shown that around 30%  more calories are burnt when digesting proteins that any other food group.

Adjust your calories weekly according to changes in your body composition

Cutting, in reality, is a matter of balancing calories and cardio fitness. If you want to get leaner a little quicker then you merely need to increase the amount of cardio that you’re doing. If you’re feeling hungry and therefore feel that you should be eating more then you can cancel out these extra calories by doing more cardio. When trying to get ripped there are a number of problems that you could encounter. However, most are really easy to put right:

  • If you’ve monitored your body composition and found that although you’re losing fat mass, you’re also losing your lean mass, increase your calories by 100-200 per day and then check your result again a week later.
  • If your fat levels have increased and your muscle has either increased or decreased then cut your calories by 300-500 each day and increase your cardio workout.
  • If everything’s stayed the same then decrease your calorie intake by 300 each day.

Doing all of this should help you reach your goals and achieve the ripped physique that you’re in search of.