One of the age-old questions in gyms across the globe is, "How do I get that razor sharp conditioning?" You can push through gut-wrenching cardio sessions until your legs feel like they're going to melt from beneath you, or you can starve your body in hopes of revealing shredded abs. However neither of these tactics alone, or even combined, are going to peel away your fat and reveal the razor-sharp condition you're after.
Just like anything else in your daily bodybuilding routine, getting completely shredded to the bone is going to require a balanced combination of hard work in all areas, starting with the most crucial of all: nutrition.
1. High Gear Nutrition:
All the cardio in the world is not going to help you if you're going home to scarf down a cheese cake. You have to diet just as hard as you work in the gym. Good nutrition is absolutely key when it comes to getting shredded.
This means you're going to have to pillage through your cupboards and toss the junk. These are "empty calories" that your body can't use for anything. So, as tempting and delicious as that cheese cake may seem, the result is nothing more than fat storage.
2. Eating Enough Protein:
If you've been training for any length of time, you already know one undisputed fact: Protein is a staple in any serious bodybuilding diet. Many experts have recommended approximately one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass.
For the serious trainer looking to pack on muscle while getting ripped, one and a half grams of protein per pound will better help your muscles repair and rebuild for growth and help keep you feeling full for longer periods of time. And when your stomach feels full, you'll be more likely to avoid the fridge and any snacks that may halt your progress.
Lastly, few realize that large amounts of protein can be similar to doing cardio when it comes to revving your metabolism. Interestingly enough, it takes twice the amount of energy for your body to metabolize protein than it does for carbs. So, in essence with the right amount of protein in your diet you're burning more calories while eating!
3. The Vitals On Carbs:
Most people think that if you eat carbs, you're going to get fat. But, contrary to the common belief, this is actually not the case. Carbs are vital to help keep glycogen stores full and provide energy while training.
If these stores are depleted, the body will begin to burn muscle to help keep itself from starvation. As you burn more muscle, your daily caloric intake becomes lower and lower, making it harder and harder to burn calories. Limiting starchy carb (oatmeal, potato, etc.) intake to earlier times in the day, and consuming simple carbs (dextrose, maltodextrin) only after a workout will help keep your body from storing these carbs as fat.
4. Fats: Friend Or Foe?
All fats are NOT created equal.
The fact of the matter is, there are bad fats and good fats. Hamburgers, bacon, sausages and ice cream are full of bad fats; called saturated fats. However, salmon, nuts, flax oil, and olive oil, just to name a few, contain good unsaturated fats, which every bodybuilder should have in their diet. These types of fats support an already healthy metabolism and get you shredded.
Approximately twenty percent of your total caloric intake should come from good fats if you're looking to increase your fat-burning potential.
5. Water Intake:
The more water you drink, the more you retain - this idea is completely backwards. The fact is, the body only retains small amounts of water simply to protect itself from dehydration.
When you consume an abundance of water, the body will flush it because there is no fear of running out. Three to four liters per day is sufficient for the weekend warrior, and six to eight liters is recommended for hardcore trainers.
6. The Bottom Line - Calorie Deficit:
All macronutrient calculations aside, the bottom line is that calories consumed must be out-weighed by how many you're burning. If your body has a caloric intake of two thousand calories per day for example, and you're ingesting three thousand per day, then you're not on the road to getting ripped.
The number-one rule in shredding away the fat is ensuring there is a calorie deficit. This doesn't need to be drastic to drive you into high-fat-burning mode. Training intensely and doing cardio will burn the calories you need to get shredded without cutting excess calories from your diet, which would result in muscle loss. Follow the tips in this article to a tee, and you could be shredded beyond belief in no time at all!