They say abs start in the kitchen, but honestly, you’re not going to get ripped fast if all you’re doing is cutting back the carbs and calories. You need both a clean diet, and plenty of timing carving it up in the gym. Getting ripped fast is somewhat of an oxymoron, as toning up your body and revealing abs can take a fair bit of time, depending on where you are in your current fitness journey. If you are only starting your health and fitness journey and have a fair bit of excess fat to lose, sorry to say but getting ripped fast will be difficult. However, there are certainly ways to speed up the process if you’re really keen and dedicated to the cause of getting ripped. Here’s how.
So, You Want Abs?
Bulging abs are often seen as the holy grail of fitness, but just because someone has visible abs, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are at their peak fitness or even healthy. There are ultimately two ways to reveal your abs: have very low body fat, and work on building your abdominal muscles. Some people naturally have lower body fat, which means their abs are going to be on show no matter what. Others have different genetics, so they need to work to lower their body fat percentage through exercise and diet, and then put in the hard yards at the gym.
Women actually need fat around their midsection, it protects their vital organs (i.e. the baby making organs), which is why many women really struggle to lose lower belly fat because their bodies really want to cling and hold onto it.
How long does it take to get abs? For most people, you’re not going to have sculpted, glistening abs in two or even four weeks. That’s not to say you can’t cut fat and tone up, but getting truly ripped takes a lot of time in the gym, and dedication in the kitchen. However, I don’t want to burst your dreams of getting ripped, so here are some ways you can swiftly but healthily cut fat and start to reveal, build and sculpt your muscles.
Clean Up Your Eating
If you’re just starting your health and fitness journey, or if you’ve been on it for some time now, one of the best ways to drop fat and get ripped is to start by cleaning up your eating and watching your calorie intake. You need to be expending more calories (AKA energy) in the gym and throughout the day than you are consuming. It’s the basic principles of weight loss. However, you don’t want to cut your calories too low, either. While it can speed up the fat-dropping process, it can also cause you to lose lean mass, which won’t help you tone and sculpt your muscles in the long run. Not to mention you’ll be hungrier, more tired, and find it difficult to train hard in the gym.
There are plenty of calorie calculators out there to help you find the right amount you need to consume for your goals, or you can speak with a dietician/nutritionist for an individualised meal-plan. This is a good calorie calculator to get you started. Chances are, if you’re lowering your daily calories, you’re going to get hungry as your body adjusts. However, if you’re finding yourself starving daily and finding it difficult to stick to your diet, try upping your calories and see how you feel.
Balancing Carbs, Fats & Proteins
Part of a healthy and controlled diet is effectively balancing your carbs, fats and proteins. Or, in other words, your macros (or macronutrients). Here’s a quick guide to counting macros if you’ve never done it before.
Protein is an essential macronutrient for losing weight and getting ripped. It helps to repair and grow your muscles. High sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, legumes, soy and eggs. Around 30% of your daily calories should come from protein.
While it might seem counterintuitive to eat fats while trying to lose fats, it’s still a vital macronutrient. Fat is high in calories, so it’s easy to go overboard, which is why it’s important to be aware of the fat content in the food you’re consuming. Fats are also key when it comes to feeling full and satisfied, but the type of fat is vital. Saturated fat (like butter) is not a good type of fat, while unsaturated fat (like the type found in avocado) is extremely healthy in moderation. For this reason, fats should be around 25% of your daily macronutrients.
Most people assume carbs are the devil when it comes to weight loss and trying to get ripped. Sometimes, people try to cut carbs all together, and while this can be an effective weight loss tool (for example on the ketogenic diet), it’s not necessary for everyone. In fact, if you’re going hard at the gym, your body will need carbohydrates to keep you going and training hard. That’s why instead of going low carb, many gym-goers adopt a carb-cycling diet. Basically, this involves consuming most of your carbs on the days your body will need it most (like gym days). That way, your body will be using carbohydrates more effectively, and not storing unused carbs as fat. By carb cycling effectively, you’ll be lowering your overall calorie intake as well, which can further help promote weight loss and help you get ripped faster. This is because you’ll be in a calorie deficit, which means you’ll be burning fat easier and faster.
Lift Heavy Weights
To get a ripped body, there’s no way around it: you need to put in the hard yards at the gym. You can eat as much healthy foods as you want, but if you’re not putting on lean muscle mass (by lifting heavy weights), you’re not going to get that ripped physique you desire. And, it takes more than just 100 sit-ups a day. The more overall body muscle you have, the more fat you’re going to burn which will help you slim down, tone up and reveal the muscle you’re working hard to build in the gym. Here’s the thing, though. If you’re working out hard, your body is ultimately going to need more calories to keep up and to give you enough energy to go about your day. That’s why when looking to get ripped, it’s best to work alongside a health professional, or at least do your research beforehand to make sure you’re doing it in the healthiest way possible for your body.
What are the best exercises to do? If you’re a beginner, here’s a guide to the best weightlifting programs for beginners. But basically, to break it down, to get ripped, you need to do more than just core exercises. By doing compound lifting movements – i.e. movements that work our whole body, you’re going to be strengthening and growing your abs without even realising. Compound exercises include things like deadlifts, squats, barbell rows, bench press, overhead press and more. How often do you need to workout? It depends on your body and current fitness levels, but something like three strength sessions per week is ideal.
HIIT is Your Friend
Most people assume going gang-busters on cardio is the best way to lose weight, but that’s rarely the case. A combination of lifting heavy weights and high intensity interval training (HIIT) is the best way to start dropping fat and growing muscle at the same time. HIIT training is ideal because it involves just a short workout period, but puts your body in a state of continual and increases fat burning throughout the day. It’s also thought HIIT training is helpful in burning stomach fat in particular. A good way to start HIIT training is setting a timer for 20-30 minutes, and cycling between 40 seconds of high intensity movements (e.g jump squats), followed by 20 seconds of rest, and then repeat.
Up Your Sleep Game & Lower Your Stress
An often overlooked component of weight loss and getting ripped are the effects of sleep and stress. Sleep is vital for building muscle and losing fat. That’s because the actual repairing and building of muscle happens when you sleep. Not to mention poor sleeping habits have been linked to increase stomach fat, as well as poor overall mental and physical well being.
Stress can also wreak havoc on losing weight and getting ripped, because high levels of stress boost your cortisol level, which can lead to increased fat storage and making losing weight that much harder. Ways to lower your stress include meditation, exercising, therapy, nature, and more.
Just Start (But Stay Consistent)
When it comes to getting ripped, you just have to start. But perhaps one of the most important parts of getting ripped is staying consistent. If weight loss is another goal of yours, stay consistent and motivated by measuring your process each week. Weighing yourself isn’t always helpful because as you start to put on lean muscle, you might find you’re not losing much weight (even though you’ve actually lost fat to put on that lean muscle). And, if you see you’re not losing numbers on the scale, you might get discouraged. That’s why getting a tape measure around your stomach, legs, arms and hips is one of the best ways to see progress.
Getting ripped fast ain’t easy, but with time and dedication, you’ll begin seeing results. Just stay consistent!