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So, you’ve decided to get lean – burn fat and get ripped, if possible, yesterday.
Whether this is your first time trying something like this or you’ve been there before but fallen off track, you’re probably familiar with the basics of shredding: eat the right diet, watch your macronutrient ratio, drink plenty of water, rely on the right supplements, and, of course, get the right workout plan.
We’re not here to walk you through the basics. The issue for everyone is in the process, which takes so much dedication and effort. In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the key hacks for overcoming the main challenges, both physical and mental, to help you speed up the shredding process.
Prepare for a test of willpower
If you’re looking to get impressive results fast, you’re in for a lot of work. It’s a major lifestyle change. For one, you’ll have to accept that you’re going to get hungry, and that’s when your mind starts messing with you.
You can start experiencing a lot of (possibly even weird) cravings, get easily demotivated, or get thrown off track and start making stupid decisions regarding your regime.
You have to accept the possibility – acknowledge that it could happen so that if it does, you won’t be losing your mind and straying off your regime. You want to adopt a mindset of patience and dedication.
Remember, the process is essentially a straight line, but the experimentation and lack of proper regime that people implement makes getting from point A to point B longer and harder. By being more prepared and setting your intentions each day, you won’t lose out on the psychological game.
The key is to maintain a strong will, which is vital to maintaining consistency and reaching your goals.
Get a coach to help manage your fat loss
Some bumps on the road will be bigger than others, which is why hiring someone reputable and trustworthy might be a good idea to help you stay on track, stay motivated, and make the right adjustment as you make progress.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to hire a coach. Provided that you *objectively* know what you’re doing, you can get shredded on your own. But getting help from someone who knows what they’re doing – and who’s going to hold you accountable – can make things a whole lot easier.
So if you have the budget for a personal trainer, we’d recommend it. If not, you can use the old “mirror test” to judge your progress. On top of that, just paying attention to how your clothes fit will also be a good barometer of progress.
Once you start losing a good amount of fat and start building more muscle you’ll probably have to do some more clothe shopping anyways, since you’ll want to wear things tailored for a more athletic body shape. Got to show of what you’re working with!
Keep lifting heavy
One terribly common, terribly misleading myth about shredding muscle is that you’re supposed to lift lighter weights with a higher number of reps.
In order to get shredded, you have to lift heavy with fewer reps, period. The heavier the weights, the more energy you need to lift them, which leads to burning more calories. We’ve discussed this before in our “Lift Furiously for Bigger Gains” piece and we stand by it today as well.
There are plenty of guys out there who start out right, but when progress is not made as fast as they’d hope, they switch up their workout routine to a high rep, low weight protocol. This routine adjustment ultimately does just the opposite, making you look and feel worse.
The bottom line: whatever your bulk/cut cycles may be, don’t stray away too far from the training you do during your bulk. That’s how you’ll ensure that you retain strength and maintain the built muscle.
To help enhance your workouts during your cut cycle, consider wearing special workout gear to help you break a sweat. You can check out great sauna suit styles at Kewlioo for an extra boost to your shredding process.
Eat smarter to stay full between meals
As we’ve mentioned previously, the feeling of hunger could get more frequent and you might have a harder time dealing with it at some point of your cut. This varies from person to person, but the best way to overcome it is by focusing on smarter nutritional choices.
Now, you can have flexibility in your diet; in fact, it’s encouraged so that you can satisfy some cravings or manage a dinner with friends while maintaining your defined macro intake. That way, you are less likely to blow your diet.
However, flexibility obviously doesn’t mean fitting in all the guilty pleasures at the expense of healthy foods regularly. Wholefoods are more satiating, helping you stay full for longer and actually experience less cravings. Fill up on vegetables and light, protein-rich foods such as boiled eggs, beans (all types of beans will work great) and zero-fat Greek yoghurt to keep hunger at bay.
Track the right factors to make intelligent adjustments
You can’t make serious progress without keeping track of the right metrics. Getting shredded is not really something you wing – at least not if you want to do it as efficiently and effectively as possible, steadily coaxing the fat loss and preserving maximum muscle.
One thing that often happens, and which you certainly don’t want to do, is getting wrapped up in all kinds of metrics and fixating on things that aren’t as important to the process. For example, you might obsess over nutritional advice such as how many meals a day you should take, when is the best time to eat, should you separate certain types of foods, when is the best time to have carbs, and so on and so forth.
In the end, however, the most important thing is hitting your overall daily macronutrient targets – and that’s what you want to focus on primarily.
That being said, the key factors you need to track are:
Daily weight: Set a daily weigh-in time to help ensure that you weigh yourself in similar conditions; then calculate the weekly average weight and weekly average weight loss)
Workout routine log: Make sure to note your strength and energy levels, which will get lower when your calorie deficit increases, so that you can adjust your regime accordingly.
Macronutrient intake: Track and log your meals to help you maintain a ratio of 40% carbs, 30% protein, and 30% fats.
Final word: Embrace the process
So much of the process is about your mindset. If you’re hung up on the end result and constantly desperate that you’re not getting shredded as fast as Men’s Health magazine suggests you should, you’re more likely to make all the wrong choices and end up in a vicious cycle of crash dieting and binging.
But once the pounds start dropping off and you start developing muscle in all the right places (like growing boulder shoulders) then you’ll start feeling great and be further motivated to continue.
If you are new to bodybuilding be prepared for slow but steady progress. Remember that consistency is absolutely critical when it comes to bodybuilding. You might also want to check out our beginner bodybuilding guide for other tips to help you maximize your results.
Be realistic and be prepared for it to take longer than 12 weeks. Appreciate the journey and appreciate the small wins. When you embrace the process as a lifestyle change, you’ll both have more fun and you’ll achieve results faster.