It’s a common situation. That beach holiday or pool party is coming up fast and you want that slim ripped beach body as quickly as possible. Maybe its a photo shoot or any other event where you want to have a shredded appearance. It’s possible that you missed the boat in taking a slow steady approach to weight loss.
If you’re carrying a lot of extra weight, you will have to lose that fat first, and it won’t take you two weeks to get ripped, it’ll take a bit longer. If you’re already in a fitness routine and you want to look cut, tone up a lot and get shredded, then this 2-week goal is highly achievable.
Diet…First things first
Abs are made in the kitchen and in order to cut fat and support your workout to achieve your goal of building and sculpting muscle, you need to eat clean and cut your calories. This means cutting out the bad stuff (pizza included), and there’s a long list of things to avoid including sugar, refined carbs, processed food (ready-to-eat meals are usually high in sugar and salt), and of course alcohol!
Stick to a high protein, low carb and healthy fat eating plan for 10-21 days. Remember to drink plenty of water!
Fruit & Vegetables
Fruit and vegetables are good in moderation. When it comes to veggies: opt for an abundance of leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. Many people ask if bananas are suitable for weight loss and the simple answer is yes. Bananas are a great source of fuel and they’re a resistant starch, which is a healthy carb that digests slowly and keeps you fuller for longer (preventing overeating later).
Eating a handful of grapes is also excellent for post-workout as they are a potent antioxidant, and support your body’s cells and organs by helping eliminate uric acid and other toxins from the body, which aids in post-workout muscle recovery. Vitamin C has been shown to be an effective fat burner and eating oranges and red peppers can help you burn off up to 30 percent more fat during exercise, research from Arizona State University at Mesa suggests.
The Carbohydrate Debate: many people know by now that a diet high in carbohydrates is not conducive to losing weight and toning. Carbs are certainly not the enemy though and you can’t cut them out completely in a fat-shredding diet, since this food group gives your body the energy it needs for a workout. However the rule is to eat the good carbs that have a low glycaemic index, these include green vegetables, sweet potato, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and bran breakfast cereals.
Low GI meal plans have been proven to maintain healthy blood sugar levels and are an effective way to not only lose weight but also prevent chronic diseases related to obesity such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Many sports and fitness fanatics also employ what is known as “carb cycling”, whereby they will reduce their carb intake on a rest day and increase their carbs on exercise days.
Remember in addition to eating low GI carbs, you need to eat healthy fats and increase your protein.
There are various ways to carb cycle, the most common for best fat loss in a short period of time is to reduce carb intake significantly for a short period, and then increase carb intake slowly during a “muscle building” or performance phase. Short periods of low carb eating can have a beneficial impact on insulin sensitivity so that when we do re-introduce carbs (which you will) later in the diet, you can handle them more efficiently.
Healthy fats are important and recommended for muscle building, overall health and can help you on your way to rippedness. Some recommendations are avocado, salmon, extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, organic eggs, almonds and walnuts.
Healthy fats support our metabolism, our immunity, aid tissue repair, hormone production, cell signaling, reduce inflammation, help brain function: and promote the absorption of many nutrients. And if all of those benefits weren’t enough, healthy fats taste great and help to reduce hunger.
The protein puzzle in a diet for shredding: when working out how much protein you need to eat, it differs for men and women. Men should aim to get 1.2 grams per pound of body weight, while women should aim to get 1 gram per pound of body weight. It’s important to keep consuming protein even on a calorific deficit to maintain your gains and strength.
Good sources of protein include:
- Chicken breast
- Grilled fish
- Egg whites
There is a myriad of plant-based protein foods like:
Veggies that contain the most protein:
- brussels sprouts
As per the usual advice for maintaining a slim waistline – eat smaller meals more regularly to prevent bingeing on junk and overeating at set meal times.
Water, water, water! There’s no doubt that drinking water helps you lose weight. It’s a natural appetite suppressant, it removes waste from the body and studies have shown that drinking lots of water increases calorie consumption and body fat loss.
The recommendation for weight loss goals is to drink 2-3 gallons of water a day.
Intermittent Fasting Works
If you delay your first meal to later in the day, so you haven’t eaten for 16 hours, then you are intermittent fasting. During this time, your body needs an energy source and turns to your body fat stores.
This is a great way to make progress quicker by forcing your body to burn fat with just a little effort from you by not eating. So for a 16 hour period, for example 9PM to 1PM, don’t give your body food to burn.
From Protein Powders to Fat Burner Supplements to Branched-Chain Amino Acids or BCAAs (for muscle retention during workouts), there’s so much to think about and so much to choose from I you want to achieve your desired physique quicker. There are also some helpful supplements for getting ripped fast.
Remember to always choose a low-fat, low-carbohydrate, high-protein powder. If you’re vegan or are dairy-free, opt for a vegan protein powder with pea, pumpkin and brown rice to provide a complete source of essential amino acids. They’re a great supplement to help you to stay lean.
The two most popular protein powders are whey protein and casein protein. So what’s the difference? Whey is considered an anabolic protein because it rapidly accelerates protein synthesis so it’s great for quick muscle regeneration, but has very little effect on naturally occurring muscle breakdown after a workout.
Casein can take several hours to be metabolized and as a result, creates a slower release of proteins to help muscles recover and grow. It is often referred to as an anti-catabolic protein because it also helps to prevent excess protein breakdown. Because casein takes hours to metabolize, it can stay in the stomach for a long time, which isn’t always comfortable when training and is often taken before bed.
A word of caution on fat burner supplements – they do not have to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and so don’t have to comply with any safety or efficacy regulations. This has resulted in many products being pulled off the market because they contained harmful ingredients. So when it comes to fat burners, talk to a nutrition expert or look at our selection of fat burners. Also consider natural solutions like caffeine, green tea extract, protein supplements, soluble fiber supplements and Yohimbine; all in addition to a healthy eating meal plan and exercise program.
We unpack two of the most effective and natural fat burners, and all you need to do is boil the kettle and have a cup of coffee or green tea.
- Caffeine: Research shows that caffeine can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to 16% over one to two hours. To reap the benefits of caffeine, you don’t need to take a supplement. Drink a few cups of strong coffee, which is an excellent source of caffeine, but note that too much caffeine can make your body tolerant to its effects and can raise acidity levels in your body.
- Green Tea Extract: rich in caffeine and the polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), both of which are compounds that can help you burn fat. Try taking 250–500 mg per day. This will provide the same benefits as drinking 3–5 cups of green tea per day.
BCAAs or Branched-Chain Amino Acids
These are essential amino acids, meaning they are not made in the body, yet they constitute more than one third of the protein found in human muscle tissue! BCAAs are found in dairy, egg, meat, poultry and fish, however they also come in supplement form for sports and fitness fanatics. And here’s why: BCAAs are unique because, unlike most other amino acids, they are primarily metabolized within the muscle itself, as opposed to being broken down by the liver which means they are rapidly absorbed and act as an additional fuel source for working muscle. BCAA’s have the following benefits:
- Delay fatigue during prolonged exercise
- Improve aerobic and anaerobic performance when taken regularly
- Fortify the immune system
- Protect lean muscle (preventing muscle wasting – important for extreme endurance athletes)
- Reduce exercise-induced muscle soreness and damage
- Promote muscle protein synthesis (important for weightlifting)
BCAA’s can be taken before, during or after exercise and between meals. They come in capsule or powder form, flavoured or unflavored that can be mixed with liquid. Be warned the unflavoured powder often tastes bitter, so bear that in mind before you buy any.
Don’t Compromise On Exercise
In order to get shredded you need to cut fat and be lean, so you’ll need to be committed to your exercise routine.
It might be time be become best friends with the treadmill
Start with your morning cardio (aerobic exercise) – so go for a brisk walk or run, hop on your bike, go swimming, use the treadmill in the gym, do whatever gets your heart racing. Aim to do your cardio workout (even if it’s a different exercise) twice a day for improved heart health, better sleep and improved mood (thanks to all the endorphins your body releases during exercise).
There is a theory that if you exercise on an empty stomach (especially for your morning routine) you’ll burn fat faster. The reason? Six hours after eating you enter the fasted state and glucagon is released to keep your blood sugar at normal levels. Your body starts to break down adipose (fat) tissue into free fatty acids, which can then be converted into a form of energy known as ketone bodies.
In layman’s terms, you’re burning fat for energy on your cardio session. This can lead to rapid weight loss. As with everything when taking on a fitness and diet regimen, you have to see what works for your body. Fasted cardio is not for everyone as some people need the fuel to feel energised to perform.
Another effective way to lose weight, cut fat and get ripped is to do High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), which means working out at 90% of your maximum capacity. This trains your body to work in an anaerobic mode through short but intense bursts of exercise like sprints (running or cycling), jumping rope, weight lifting, and isometric exercises.
Anaerobic exercise requires more energy than aerobic exercise, so to produce more energy, your body uses its anaerobic system, which relies on energy sources stored in your muscles.
In addition to helping your body manage lactic acid more efficiently, anaerobic exercise has been shown to help you maintain a healthy weight that aids in helping you get ripped.
HIIT with weight lifting means you’ll do, for example, 10 sets of 10 reps for one exercise per muscle group. Your initial interval between sets will be 60 seconds at the beginning of the program, and progressively you’ll drop rest periods by 10 seconds over six weeks until you have no rest and are doing 100 reps straight through. Now that’s High-Intensity Interval Training!
Many people overlook the benefits that weight lifting can have when it comes to losing weight. While cardio initially burns more calories, weight training has a longer-lasting effect on calorie consumption, during the recovery phase. So the number of expended calories overall is increased.
If you are already lifting, there may be a temptation to reduce the amount of weight you lift in your normal gym sessions. But it’s actually important to keep your weight training workout similar to before in order to maintain your strength. There are a whole lot of programs out there designed for cutting, but I say just keep it simple. Also, with the reduction in calories, you might have an issue with mustering up enough energy for heavy weights. For this, try adding a pre-workout supplement or reducing the volume that you area lifting a little.
Sleep On It
Lastly, in your quest to get ripped, don’t lose any sleep over this goal. Sleep is extremely important for your physical and mental wellbeing, as it enables your brain and body to rest and recover. Your heart rate slows which results in your blood pressure dropping, and your body releases hormones that slow down breathing and relax the muscles, reducing inflammation in the body.
Reducing your stress levels will also help you lose weight, as the stress hormone cortisol raises our blood sugar levels which then raises insulin – the fat storage hormone. If your cortisol levels are constantly elevated, your insulin levels will be haywire resulting in fat storage, especially around the midriff area. So, breathe, let go of the things you can’t control and practise gratitude for the positive things in your life.
This might be a two week goal but enjoy the journey along the way.