Get Fitter, Faster: Fitness, Food & Health Hacks

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How To Get Shredded Fast: The Best Guide To Getting a Six Pack

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 


Getting shredded can be a lot easier said than done, but with guides like this one on water intake, how to determine the calories you burn, and what exercises to do to get the best results, you’ll be set up for success.

We answer all the questions on if you should do cardio before lifting, if you should lift heavier, how to boost your metabolism, what you should eat to get shredded and so much more. You’re not going to miss out on this guide. 

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Where Do I Start to get Shredded?

Here is what to keep in mind to get fast results!

Figure Out Your Stress Levels

When trying to figure out your stress levels, it’s important to remember there are two components of stress:

Stress triggers: the factors that cause stress

Stress response: how you respond to stress triggers on an emotional, biological, or cognitive level

The difficult part is that every person responds to triggers differently, which means it might take one or multiple ways of tracking your stress levels.

Heart rate variability (HRV) involves recording the variation in time between consecutive heartbeats. In other words, it doesn’t just look at how fast your heart is beating, but instead how the time period between heartbeats changes.

Or you can get an Electroencephalography (EGG), which measures brainwaves to monitor stress or you get a hormonal test panel. When you’re stressed, your body will produce adrenalin to give you the energy to handle your stressor and cortisol hormone produced in the adrenal gland, which assists with the fight-or-flight response. Cortisol helps regulate blood sugar, inflammation, and metabolism, so if you’re struggling with acne, fatigue, mood swings, and weight gain that could be a huge indicator that it could be difficult to get shredded.

You can also track your mood through journaling or writing updates on the notes app on your phone to help you notice when you’re feeling stressed and how it’s affecting your body.

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Determine The Calories You Burn

The Harris-Benedict formula is when a person multiplies their basal metabolic rate (BMR) by their average daily activity level.

BMR is the number of calories a person burns by simply existing and varies based on age, sex, size, and genetics. To calculate your BMR, a person uses inches for height, pounds for weight, and years for age in the following formulas:

For men: 66 + (6.2 x weight) + (12.7 x height) – (6.76 x age)

For women: 655.1 + (4.35 x weight) + (4.7 x height) – (4.7 x age)

The results of the BMR calculation are then used to multiply against the average daily activity of the person. Points are awarded based on how active a person is.

1.2 points for a person who does little to no exercise

1.37 points for a slightly active person who does light exercise 1–3 days a week

1.55 points for a moderately active person who performs moderate exercise 3–5 days a week

1.725 points for a very active person who exercises hard 6–7 days a week

1.9 points for an extra active person who either has a physically demanding job or has a particularly challenging exercise routine

Once you find your BMR and determined what exercise level fits your lifestyle then multiply the two scores.

For example, to calculate how many calories a 37-year-old, 6-foot-tall, and 170-pound man who is moderately active burns, the formula would look like this:

(66 + (6.2 x 170) + (12.7 x 72) – (6.76 x 37)) x 1.55 = 2,766 calories/day

Set Your Goals

Now that you know your stress level and how many calories you burn per day, it’s time to set your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Is it to lose weight and decrease body fat? Do you want a more lean body mass? Do you want more muscle gain? Do you just want that beach body for the summer? No matter what it is, figure out what you want and write it down.

Plan Your Attack

The next step is to plan the attack. Depending on your goals will depend on what plan you take. You’ll need some cardio sessions for fat loss, high-intensity interval training for lean muscle mass, weight training for muscle gains, and so on for the full body transformation you’re looking for.

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What Do I Eat To Get Shredded?

Watch Your Carbs

Now, we’re not telling you to go on a strict low-carb diet. Some research happens to suggest that replacing refined carbs like sucrose and refined wheat with unprocessed starchy carbs like potatoes or whole grains may improve metabolic health and reduce belly fat.

In the Framingham Heart Study, people who have the highest consumption of whole grains were 17% less likely to have excess abdominal fat than those who consumed diets high in refined grains. 

Be In a Calorie Deficit

Calories provide 100% of the energy your body needs every single day. Eating more calories than you need means they get stored as reserve energy, AKA fat. Now, if you eat less than your body needs, you are forced to go into these reserves and essentially burn body fat for fuel. Thus, cutting calories consistently is the most effective way to lose body fat, which in return will help you get that shredded physique.

It’s also very important to not cut your calories too much. While this can potentially speed up the process for a limited time, you may end up losing precious lean muscle. Research suggests that this may be more important for trained individuals and those with less fat to lose, compared to those with less lean mass and more body fat to begin with

Eat Protein

Protein is one of the best nutrients you can consume for weight management.

Having a high protein intake can increase the release of the fullness hormone peptide YY, which decreases your appetite and promotes fullness. Protein also raises your metabolic rate and helps you to retain muscle mass during weight loss. This means including a clean source of protein in every meal, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and beans.

Make Smarter Food Choices

Really it just comes down to eating a high-protein, clean diet that is low in calories. Eating sugary and processed foods can ruin all the work you’ve been putting in with exercising. Sugar usually contains fructose, which is linked to several chronic diseases when consumed in excess and is proven to cause stomach fat. And processed foods can be harder to digest and have all kinds of preservatives and additives that aren’t good for you.

It’s also a good idea to cut back on alcohol. You don’t need to give it up completely, but limiting the amount you drink in a single day can help you with your body fat percentage.

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What Should I Do To Get Shredded?

Boost Your Metabolism

Focusing on boosting your metabolism is going to help the entire body burn fat and you can do that by increasing your calorie intake, getting a workout routine with resistance training, and being on a healthy diet. This also includes eating on a consistent schedule and not skipping breakfast. 

Cardio

You can stick to basic cardio like running, sprinting, biking, and swimming or try less common options like jump roping and kettlebell swings for a better cardiovascular exercise. If you’re not sure about your cardio plan, we recommend working your way up to 20-30 minutes of high-intensity activity four to five times a week to see the best results for your body transformation. And not just any cardio workouts, the ‘stop and start’ interval-type training is the best since it burns more fat and spares your hard-earned muscle at the same time.

Lift Heavy

Now, it’s important to remember that more muscle means a faster metabolism, which means more fat is burned and the physique becomes leaner. The reason why we say not to do too much cardio is that cardio can actually have a negative impact on the body composition (percentage of bodyfat), as too much of it creates a catabolic (muscle-wasting) environment in the body, which can actually slow the metabolism. This means that going for a ten-mile run is going to give you slower results than if you were to sprint for five minutes and stay focused on heavy lifting. 

For lifting, we recommend lifting with a heavyweight at 6-8 rep ranges since studies have also shown that heavy sets keep testosterone levels elevated for longer after the workout, which helps keep metabolism high as well, resulting in greater fat-burning.

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Lift Before Cardio

The common misconceptions when it comes to lifting before cardio and cardio before lifting is that it doesn’t matter and if you’re going to the gym just to simply work out then that’s right, it doesn’t matter. However, when you go right to the weights, you have all the energy you need to lift as hard as you want. This makes it much easier to build muscles. The anaerobic energy system that your body uses to power your weight-lifting session isn’t as efficient as the aerobic system, so your glycogen stores are depleted at a much faster rate, meaning that you start burning unwanted body fat a lot earlier when it’s time for an aerobic exercise.

Long story short, if you want the best outcome for a more defined look then lift weights before you do your cardio.

How Long Does It Take To Get Abs?

It really depends on genetics, diet, chronic stress, and how you’re working out to get a shredded body.

With that said, besides the things mentioned above, there are really only two requirements for getting a six-pack:

  1. Build abdominal muscles
  2. Lose body fat

It’s important to remember that you can’t just focus on losing belly fat alone. It’s all about losing the total body fat to see more abdominal definition, which is around 15% or less for men and 20% or less for women. So to answer this question is that the overall process can take many months, if not years. Unfortunately, many people cannot build a shredded body in six weeks, but they can still make drastic improvements when it comes to their fitness and health. With enough dedication, you can get there!

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What Else Can I Do?

Get Enough Sleep

Take enough rest days and get some sleep. Constantly working out and being always focused on muscle gains isn’t always great, especially if you’re dealing with daily stress. Allow yourself a break occasionally and if you don’t hit your daily calorie goals, that’s okay, don’t worry about it too much. And for most people rest means getting enough sleep, which is typically 7-9 hours a night depending on the person.

Water Intake

Throughout the whole week, get a water intake of at least 1-3 liters of water a day. On the final day (the 7th day), sip rather than chug as you want to be bone dry. The goal here is to make sure to drink less than a liter and make your muscles more defined. 

Track Progress

No matter where you are on your journey, taking the basic steps and devoting 6-8 weeks to writing down and tracking your progress can make a huge difference. Sometimes when you’re working out you’re not able to see the changes for the first few weeks, so by taking pictures and tracking your body weight and calorie intake to compare with your body goals you’re able to see the smaller changes. 

Be Patient & Stay Motivated

As we mentioned above, it can be hard to see the changes sometimes so be patient and stay motivated. Try not to compare too much to others and stay focused on your own goals. There will be plateaus and times you’re not sure you’re doing anything right and that all just comes with the workout journey so don’t be discouraged. You got this!

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