Ripped Roundtable: 12 Fitness Tips From Physique Competitors

Need some fat-loss guidance? These three fitness pros reveal what they do to stay lean. Their moderator? None other than our own Ripped Dude.

Everyone has a unique way of practicing fitness. Because each person has a different goal, different genetics, and a personal lifestyle, not every piece of fitness advice works perfectly for everyone. That's why I started the Ripped Roundtable. You'll get a variety of advice from three unique voices.

This volume includes diet and training advice from up-and-coming fitness personalities. Each of them has a particular knack for getting in shape and bringing their best to the amateur stage. Find out how these athletes get and stay lean!

How many meals do you consume per day and why?

Stent: I am currently consuming five meals per day: breakfast, meal two, meal three, plus pre-workout and post-workout meals. The five-meal structure suits my lifestyle. That's the most important part of structuring a diet. Scientific research has proven that the most important aspect of nutrition is the macronutrient targets, not meal frequency. So, when I'm structuring diets for my clients, I pay special attention to their lifestyle.

Shaun: I consume 6-7 meals per day. I try to avoid huge cheat meals and I consume 25-30 grams of protein per meal. I believe that the body absorbs 25-30 grams efficiently. Before and after I train, however, I eat 40 grams of both protein and carbs to fuel and repair my body after I demand so much from it.

Lenee: I consume six small meals per day and eat every 2.5-3 hours. This keeps my metabolism high and my levels balanced, and keeps me energized throughout the day. It also keeps my body from going into "starvation mode."

What type of cardio do you do for fat loss?

Stent: I have a degree in exercise science and physiotherapy, so I love looking at what science has proven. I believe high-intensity exercise is the best way to lose fat without losing muscle mass. For example, a 10-minute jog followed by 15 minutes of interval sprints will help mobilize fat stores and burn them efficiently.

Shaun: Typically, I walk first thing in the morning. It's always helped me stay lean. It's also low-impact, so it puts less pressure on my hip, knee, and ankle joints—which means I can stay in the game longer.

Lenee: My cardio consists of using the elliptical, treadmill, stair climber, and doing aqua fit class. I like slow, incline cardio on the treadmill because it sheds my unwanted fat and builds and maintains my glutes and legs.

When you lift, do you lift heavy or lift light? Why?

Stent: As a natural athlete, I believe there is no "perfect" way to lift. I believe muscle growth will occur best with a combination of heavy training (less than six reps), explosive training (light weight with fast movement), and hypertrophy training (10-15 reps). I incorporate these styles throughout my training week.

Shaun: For the most part, I use medium-to-heavy weights. I usually use weight that I lift for 10-12 reps with good form. I also like to use dropsets on the last set to maximize the pump. The 10-12 reps work the fast-twitch muscle fibers and the dropset gets the slow-twitch fibers. However, I love heavy deadlifts and T-bar rows.

Lenee: When I lift, I lift according to how I want my body to look. Lifting light gives my body clean lines and an everyday lean look. However, if the occasion calls for me to lift heavier, I'll do that too. I'm versatile when it comes to fitness.

Do you do anything differently to your diet and training when you're getting ready for a photo shoot or competition?

Stent: I monitor my calories and macronutrients closely. I adjust these depending on my progress. As I get closer to an event, I'll eat fewer carbs and fat. As carbs get low, I make sure I get them in around my training so they can help me fuel and recover. Instead of relying on cardio for conditioning, I try to allow the diet to do the work. For my last competition, I only did cardio twice each week.

Shaun: My training remains the same until the last two weeks. In those last two weeks, I'm extra careful not to get injured. I also have smaller meals and don't eat cheat meals.

Lenee: My motto is: Stay ready so you don't have to get ready. Overall, my lifestyle doesn't call for a diet. But, when I'm getting ready for an event, I use a strict diet regimen and cut out all sugar. Generally, because I stay ready, I don't have to change much about my training.

How many days a week do you train and how much time do you spend in the gym?

Stent: I train weights five days per week. None of my sessions last more than 90 minutes. I train my abs most days and only do cardio on days I don't train with weight.

  • Monday: Upper Body
  • Tuesday: Legs
  • Wednesday: Off
  • Thursday: Back and Shoulders
  • Friday: Chest and Arms
  • Saturday: Legs
  • Sunday: Off

Shaun: I train 4-5 days per week for an hour and 15 minutes per session. My morning walks usually last 30-60 minutes.

Lenee: I train 5 to 6 days per week and I spend 2.5 hours in the gym each day.

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