While I spend most of my time educating people about sustainable approaches to getting a lean, strong, healthy physique, I do have an interest in the extreme of body transformation, or how to get ripped.
There is a massive amount of confusion about how to get a ripped physique. It’s not about a specific exercise program, or diet as many would have you believe, and it’s not magic.
I wanted to create this guide for you as an honest, no B.S. resource so you can understand the key elements to help you achieve a ripped, cut physique.
Why should you listen to me?
I’ve achieved a ripped physique (photos on this page are of me) and helped guys with even “bad” genetics get ripped too. As the owner of a personal training and nutrition counseling practice, I’m constantly trying new workouts, reading the latest and greatest research on nutrition and exercise, and speaking with natural bodybuilders, nutritionists, personal trainers, and anyone else with a keen interest in physique transformation.
So here’s a definitive guide to getting a ripped physique that I’ve been wanting to share with you. I hope you enjoy it.
How Ripped is Ripped?
The term ripped is used to describe a very low body fat level relative to one’s bodyweight, which creates an appearance of clearly visible striations of muscle and separation between muscles.
What is the body fat level you need to get ripped?
Are You Sure You Want to Get Ripped?
When I present the information you are about to learn to a client interested in getting ripped, that initial interest usually subsides. Getting ripped is an extreme pursuit that requires extreme focus and dedication. There is no way around it. In addition, getting too ripped comes with health concerns. I’ve achieved around 3.5% body fat once in my life, and while I was very happy with how my body looked, my face was extremely gaunt and it looked like I was starving to death. I’m taking a wild guess that wasn’t very healthy.
So not only does getting ripped take a ridiculous amount of effort and discipline, but the extreme is that it may not be healthy either. For me, I can maintain 6-7% body fat while feeling great and looking healthy, but it’s still walking a tight rope.
Finally, the whole idea of an extreme physique opens up a can of worms regarding body image. I’ve gotten ripped as a hobby, out of curiosity, and I really like the look, but I hope you don’t feel any more, or less of a man if you do, or do not achieve a ripped physique.
Get Ripped Step #1: Overcome the Mental “Weight” Hurdle
One of the most frequent questions I get from guys is, “I want to get ripped, but I want to stay the same weight. What do I do?”
This question tells me many guys (1) may not understand the basic arithmetic of getting ripped, (2) are too concerned about the scale and not body fat percentage, which is what it’s all about and (3) overestimate how much muscle weight they can naturally add to their frames (See: How Much Muscle Can You Gain Naturally?). Sadly, too many guys are doomed from the start!
Let me give you an example: