Has this happened to you?
You stand in front of a mirror, turn to your side, grab your belly bulge between your hands, and wonder how you could turn this into a six-pack.
It most likely has because you wouldn’t be reading this article if it didn’t.
Most people get a gym membership to get ripped, and they want the results quickly. However, their results are generally so slow that it makes a snail on vacation look like an Olympic sprinter. It’s no surprise that most of these folks end up hanging their sprinting shoes before achieving their training objectives.
To be honest, losing body weight isn’t easy. It requires tedious planning and meticulous execution. Falter on any of the fronts, and you’ll see your progress halt or, worse, enter a downward spiral.
In this article, we will go over everything you will ever need on your fat-blasting and muscle-building journey, including what it really means to be ripped and the body fat percentage you should have, and factors that affect the time it takes for you to get in the best shape of your life.
Besides unveiling the 12 best tips to get ripped in a record time, we also cover a general timeline of the changes you can expect by following these tips. Finally, we summarize the article with the most frequently asked questions about shredding.
We have a lot to cover, so sit tight, grab your protein shake, and read on.
What does ‘getting ripped’ mean?
The fitness world has its fair share of jargon. So, before we get into the nitty-gritty of getting ripped, let’s ensure we are on the same page.
Getting ripped can mean different things to different people. For a bodybuilder, it could mean gaining muscle conditioning; for an overweight individual, it could mean losing weight; and for a motorcyclist, it could mean falling off his bike without protective gear. You are certainly in the wrong place if you are a rider. The bikes we’ll be riding in this program are stationary.
For the scope of this article, getting ripped refers to shedding body fat while preserving and building lean muscle mass. Getting ripped involves maintaining a low body fat percentage so that you have crisp muscle conditioning, separation, lines, and striations. It is the process of sculpting your physique into a masterpiece worthy of gracing the cover of fitness magazines. Lean, diced, shredded, peeled, cut, and whittled are other gym terms for getting ripped.
The optimal body fat percentage that makes it look like your muscles are tightly wrapped around your muscles will vary for different individuals. Furthermore, men achieve a more defined physique faster as they hold a lower body fat percentage than women.
Different Body Fat Percentages
Although many lifters tirelessly chase a lower body fat percentage, only a few truly understand the subject. Your body fat percentage is the proportion of fat your body carries compared to its total weight. It is calculated by dividing your total fat mass by your total body mass, multiplied by 100. It includes essential body fat and storage body fat.
According to the American Council on Exercise, the percent body fat norms for men and women are as follows:
Essential fat is required to maintain life and reproductive functions; essential fat stores in women generally lie in the 10-13% range. On the other hand, they are considerably lower in men and lie between 2-5%.
Athletes engaged in physical sports usually have the lowest body fat percentage. Female athletes have 14-20% of body fat, whereas men are in the range of 6-13%. On average, ladies that work out regularly have a body fat percentage between 21-24%, whereas the males have 14-17%.
An average untrained female has a body fat percentage between 25-31%, and for an average male, it lies in the range of 18-24%. Anything over this is considered obese.
Body Fat Percentage and Ab Visibility
The average body fat percentages don’t necessarily dictate when you’ll be able to see your abs. Here is a rough estimate between the body fat percentage and ab visibility in men:
- 20%+: In the ‘average’ body fat percentage stage, you will be soft around your midsection, and your abs will not be visible.
- 14-17%: The ‘fitness’ stage can be considered healthy, but it is unlikely that you will see any ab definition. People at the lower end of this range might have their abs peeking through in perfect lighting.
- 6-13%: The ‘athlete’ range of body fat is considered lean, which means your abs will be visible.
- 5-9%: You will be peeled AF. However, staying in the ‘essential’ body fat range for a prolonged period is unhealthy.
Factors That Influence How Long It Can Take To Get Ripped
Several factors can play a role in determining how long it takes for you to get ripped. You can tweak some of these factors, but you have to adjust to the others.
You are in for a rude shock if you thought you could replicate your cousin’s weight loss transformation results by following his fitness regimen. Genetics plays a crucial role in how your body adapts to your training and diet routine.
Some folks might be better positioned to get ripped quickly because of a favorable fat distribution and faster metabolism. That said, some people use poor genetics as an excuse and go easy on themselves. Don’t be this person.
Even if you did not hit the genetics lottery, you could still achieve a ripped physique by adhering to the 12 transformation tips mentioned in this article. Remember, genetics can slow you down and limit your growth, but it won’t stop you dead in your tracks. You must keep pushing yourself to achieve your dream physique.
How fast you can achieve your training objective depends on where you start. For example, a person with 19% body fat will get to 15% body fat faster than an individual starting at 24%.
However, beginners initially experience quick results, and their progress tapers off as they gain more experience and their bodies adjust to their training and diet programs. You must constantly challenge your body to avoid hitting a plateau.
Also, you shouldn’t compare your progress with others, as it can lead to frustration and burnout. Many people also increase their risk of injury while training by pushing themselves too hard while trying to keep up with others.
Your lifestyle also plays a crucial role in how long it will take you to achieve your dream physique. People who are very active (train 5-6 days a week or have a physically-intensive job) will get ripped faster than those with a sedentary lifestyle. Plus, your sleep quality, stress levels, and overall health can also affect how quickly you shed your body weight and build muscle mass.
An optimal training, diet, and recovery program is the holy trifecta of a transformation program. You must nail all three aspects of your fitness regimen to achieve your dream physique. Neglecting any department will lead to suboptimal results.
You must follow personalized training, diet, and recovery regimen to fast-track your gains. Many people make the mistake of following a vanilla transformation program. However, they never get too far with it as it is designed around someone else’s strengths and weaknesses.
For example, folks with a lagging lower body will increase their muscle imbalances by following a training program focusing on building upper body strength.
Men generally find it easier to lose body fat and shed weight due to higher testosterone levels. Testosterone is the male sex hormone responsible for the development of muscle mass and strength and for producing male sex characteristics.
High natural testosterone production is why the ladies cannot build the same amount of muscle mass and strength as the gents. Nonetheless, women can still achieve a ripped physique in a short period by following the right training and diet protocols.
The process by which your body changes food and drink into energy is known as metabolism. Metabolism constantly provides your body with energy for essential bodily functions like breathing and digestion.
Your body needs a minimum number of calories to sustain these functions; this category of calories is known as the basic metabolic rate (BMR). Do you want to know your BMR? Check out this neat BMR calculator.
Factors like age, sex, muscle mass, and physical activity affect metabolism or BMR. Some folks have a naturally high metabolic rate, which can help them burn more calories throughout the day. Most of us have a friend that eats like a pig but can easily be mistaken for a pole. That’s a classic case of someone with a high metabolic rate.
Furthermore, your metabolic rate improves through regular exercise, strength training, and maintaining muscle mass. Stay active throughout the day to burn more calories.
Since the natural testosterone levels drop with age, humans of both genders find it more difficult to lose body fat and build muscle mass. Furthermore, our metabolic rate takes a dip too, which adds to the complexities.
We tend to lose muscle mass with age. However, following a balanced training, diet, and recovery program can help slow down muscle atrophy. Don’t get us wrong; we, by no stretch of the imagination, mean to say that you cannot lose body fat as you grow older. You can reach your goal weight at any age. You will just have to work a little harder.
You can only achieve your transformation objective with consistency and dedication toward your goal. Most cutting programs require a long-term approach, especially if you are doing it for the first time.
You must stick to your training and diet program even when the going gets tough; believe me, it will get tough, very tough. You must have the grit and commitment to get your head down and work with all your might, even when you do not see immediate results.
Even after you achieve your training objective, you must stay consistent with your training and diet program to maintain your ripped physique. Staying in photoshoot-ready shape throughout the year is a full-time job. The sooner you realize this, the less friction you will face in your transformation journey.
Furthermore, the 12 tips mentioned below to get ripped quickly revolve around these factors and managing them better. The better you can control these factors, the better results you will see.
Timeline For Getting Ripped
Let’s address the elephant in the room. “How long will it take for me to get ripped?” This is usually the first question asked by beginners starting their fitness journey. Although many fitness experts get annoyed with this question, we think it is a fair thing to ask since a body transformation demands significant time, energy, effort, commitment, and cash.
Knowing how long it takes to achieve your dream physique will give you a timeline. You can use it to assess your progress and make necessary adjustments if and when required. A timeline can also act as motivation to stick to your guns. A transformation timeline is like a ticking time bomb; you are a bomb defuser trying to cut the correct wire before the big bang.
How much weight should I expect to lose?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends cutting your daily calorie intake by 500-1,000 kcal. Doing so will help you shed 1-2 pounds weekly. Conversely, adding 500-1,000 calories to your diet will result in gaining 1-2 pounds weekly.
According to JAMA, you must burn 3,500 calories to lose a pound of body fat. Sticking to these calorie increases and cutting limits will keep your physique transformation journey gradual, steady, and sustainable. 
Here are a few weight loss estimates as per these recommendations:
|Time||Expect Weight Loss Results|
|1 Day||0.14–0.28 pounds|
|1 Week||1–2 pounds|
|1 Month||4–8 pounds|
|3 Months||12–24 pounds|
|6 Months||24–48 pounds|
|12 Months||48–96 pounds|
How ripped can I get in a week?
As per the JAMA findings, you can expect to lose 0.14 pounds daily if you cut 500 calories from your diet. Notably, you won’t see the results from the first day you cut your calories. You will start seeing results after your body starts adjusting to the new regimen. This process usually takes up to a week.
Sticking to the 500-1,000 daily calorie cut will help you lose 1-2 pounds weekly. Some people try to lose too much weight too soon by following a much bigger calorie deficit, such as a 1,500-2,000 kcal shortfall. Not only is such a large calorie deficit unsustainable, but it can lead to chronic health conditions. Furthermore, the weight lost by following such a significant deficit usually returns just as fast.
How ripped can I get in a month?
There are three ways of entering a calorie deficit. You could enter a deficit by cutting your calorie, starting exercising, or using a combination of the two methods. We recommend using a combination of both approaches to achieve your weight loss goals.
You can lose 4 pounds of body weight in a month by maintaining a weekly deficit of 3,500 calories. However, since a month usually has a little more than four weeks, you can expect to shed around 6 pounds monthly. The number could increase to 10 pounds if you can manage a 1,000-calorie deficit.
How ripped can I get in three months?
An intermediate exerciser can lose slightly more than 12 pounds in three months by sticking to a 3,500 weekly calorie deficit. You must account for your cheat meals in your weekly calorie deficit. For example, if you eat 1,000 surplus calories in your cheat meal, you must adjust your calorie intake the following week to return to a weekly deficit.
You should use a calorie-counting app to log all your meals so you are on top of your diet plan. Further, developing a habit of reading food labels while grocery shopping will help you avoid junk food and achieve your goal faster.
How ripped can I get in six and 12 months?
Most people will start to see weight loss results after they stick to a controlled diet and training program for 6-12 months. You can expect to shed 24-48 pounds in six months and 48-96 pounds in 12 months by maintaining a 3,500-calorie weekly deficit.
It doesn’t matter where you are starting at. Losing between 24-94 pounds in a year can lead to a total body transformation.
Notably, the time it takes to transform your body will depend on your genetics, gender, starting point, consistency, and the other factors mentioned above. You can expect a slight variance from this timeline.
Novices shouldn’t expect to lose 1-2 pounds weekly. You can expect to replicate these results after you have some training experience under your belt and know what you are doing. Noticeable changes start to appear after you have arrived at a diet and training program that works for you.
12 Best Tips To Get Ripped Quickly
Here are the 12 best tips to get shredded in record time:
Start With a Goal
It sounds so basic, but it is where most people falter. While many do not set an objective goal for themselves before starting their transformation journey, others are either too aggressive or bleak.
You must set realistic expectations. Setting goals that are too ambitious will not only lead to disappointment but also increase your risk of injury, burning out, or giving up on your transformation dreams entirely.
Rome wasn’t built in a day. Your physique transformation will take time, effort, and grit, and you must be willing to commit to it for the long term.
Have a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound; for example, ‘lose 4 pounds in a month.’
Assess Current Diet and Make Necessary Changes
Most people think that losing weight is like solving a Rubik’s cube. You must twist and turn your entire lifestyle up and down until you can create the right pattern. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The only thing that you need to do to lose weight is to cut calories and enter a calorie deficit, meaning you must expend more calories in a day than you consume. Determine your daily average calorie intake, realign it according to your goals, and Bob’s your uncle.
Many people go balls to the wall while cutting their calories. They limit as many calories as they possibly can and sometimes push it so much that they can hear guilt whispering in their ear every time they indulge in a cheat meal. Although going cold turkey cheat meals can be great for an obese individual, depending on your starting physique and training objectives, you might not have to do it.
Following an unnecessarily severe diet can lead to a negative relationship with food, which can result in chronic health conditions.
After determining your daily caloric intake goal, use a suitable macronutrient split (carbs, protein, and fats) to work toward your dream physique. Use a high-protein, low-carb, low-fat diet to shed body fat and build muscle mass.
Although cardiovascular training isn’t compulsory in a weight loss program, doing it can help speed up your weight loss progress. You should ideally perform two cardio workouts daily to fast-track your weight loss progress.
The first sesh should be a 30-45 minute low-intensity steady state (LISS) session that you do on an empty stomach first thing in the morning. Your second cardio workout should be a 15-20 minute high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session, preferably after your weight training session.
You must add weight training to your exercise regime to build a chiseled physique. Resistance training exercises will help you pack muscle mass, tone your physique, and improve your overall aesthetics.
Your workouts’ frequency, intensity, and volume will depend on your experience level and training objective. Furthermore, your workouts should include a balance of compound and isolation exercises. Compound lifts help build strength and muscle mass, whereas single-joint movements improve your conditioning.
Incorporate Progressive Overload Into Your Routine
You must progressively overload your muscles to ensure consistent progress. A progressive overload could include enhancing your training frequency, volume, intensity, or time under tension.
Advanced training principles, such as super sets, drop sets, and blood flow restriction (BFR) training, are also incredibly effective ways of shocking your muscles into growing. Remember, following the same workouts for too long can lead to weight loss and muscle plateau, which can delay your progress.
Use Targeted Exercise
The concept of spot reduction is as fake as unicorns. However, both these myths live on because they are beautiful and ignite your fantasy and imagination.
Although you cannot spot-reduce a trouble area, you can target it using resistance training exercises to help shape and improve your muscle aesthetics. For example, men with excess chest fat can improve the shape of their pecs using chest exercises after reducing body fat by staying in a calorie deficit.
Track Your Progress
Tracking your progress ensures you are on the right path. Track your progress weekly by taking progress photos, body measurements, and weighing yourself. You can also record your heart rate and blood pressure for overall health tracking.
Lifters can also track their training progress by noting their exercises, sets, reps, and weights in a daily journal. Tracking your improvement allows you to make quick and necessary changes in your fitness regimen whenever you feel you’ve derailed.
Work With a Personal Trainer
A personal trainer can give you a personalized training program that suits your abilities, makes the most of your strengths, and works on fixing your weaknesses. He can also teach you the correct exercise form, which can significantly reduce your risk of injury.
You could also hire a dietician for a customized nutrition program. Availing the services of a trainer and a nutritionist might cost you a little money upfront, but it will pay you dividends in the long term.
Focus on Your Recovery
Many people become obsessed with losing body weight and do too much too soon. Doing this for a prolonged period can lead to overtraining. If you always feel sore, you must work on your recovery program.
Sleep for seven to eight hours each night to give your body enough time to rest and recuperate from your workouts. Massages, self-myofascial release, and cold plunges are other incredibly effective ways of fast-tracking your recovery.
Try New Things
You must be open to experimenting with different strategies to maximize your fat loss potential. Consider carb loading before a training session to increase your workout intensity and push yourself harder.
Furthermore, if you are stuck on a weight loss plateau, you could try intermittent fasting to break through the overhead ceiling. Always be on the lookout for things you could do differently to maximize your returns.
Improve Your Lifestyle
Getting shredded isn’t limited to the gym and kitchen; it is a lifestyle. You must manage your stress levels and be mindful of your choices throughout the day. For example, you should take the stairs instead of the elevator and bike to work whenever possible.
Stay active throughout the day. Set a step goal for yourself and schedule walks throughout the day to achieve your objective. Beginners can start with a 5,000-step goal, whereas active folks can experiment with a 10,000-step goal.
Supplements Can Help
Although supplements aren’t necessary for building a chiseled physique, they can help fill the void in your whole food diet and speed up your transformation. Whey protein, creatine, and BCAAs are a few effective supplements you can add to your fitness regimen.
2 HIIT Workouts To Get Ripped Quickly
Contrary to what most people think, you don’t require fancy training equipment or need to spend a couple of hours in the gym to tone your body and shed excess fat. You can do it using bodyweight exercises within 30 minutes. Here are two HIIT workouts that will help you get ripped quickly:
Perform four rounds of the following circuit, resting one minute after the burpees in each round. This workout will last 18 minutes.
|Mountain Climber||60 seconds||–|
|Jumping Jacks||60 seconds||–|
|Burpee||60 seconds||120 seconds|
Here is a lower-body dominant HIIT workout for getting ripped. Do four rounds of this circuit. This workout will take you 22 minutes to complete.
|Squat Jump||60 seconds||–|
|Standing Calf Raise||60 seconds||–|
|Inch Worm||30 seconds||120 seconds|
How To Structure Your Weight Loss Program
Learning about all these 12 steps to get ripped quickly can be overwhelming and lead to analysis paralysis. If you are a beginner and have no idea where to start, don’t fret; we have got you covered.
Beginners will probably not lose 1–2 pounds weekly. You can expect these results after you’ve been following the fit lifestyle for at least a couple of months. For this timeline, we are assuming you have a few months of training experience under your belt.
Here is an over-simplified six-month transformation timeline that you can use to kickstart your weight loss journey:
Month 1: Establishing a Strong Foundation
Beginners should focus on getting their basics right. Assess your current diet and make necessary adjustments according to your objectives. Begin by creating a caloric deficit through balanced nutrition and portion control. Your goal is to lose 4–8 pounds in the first month.
Start your training journey by engaging in regular cardiovascular exercises (e.g., running, cycling, swimming) for fat burning. You can also start strength training to improve your physique aesthetics. However, your goal here will be to learn the correct exercise form instead of chasing big weights.
Ensure you take weekly progress measurements and photos during your weight loss journey. It will keep you accountable and motivated and ensure you are on the correct path.
Month 2-3: Accelerating Fat Loss and Muscle Development
While maintaining your objective of losing 1–2 pounds weekly, in the second phase, you must refine and optimize your nutrition plan, increase the intensity and duration of cardiovascular workouts, implement progressive overload in your strength training routine, and incorporate HIIT (high-intensity interval training) in your cardio and strength workouts for efficient fat burning.
Your goal will be to lose 12–24 pounds by the end of three months. Make necessary adjustments to your fitness regimen if you are far from this objective.
Month 4-6: Focus on Muscle Definition and Strength
As you gain more experience, you can gun for improving your muscle definition and strength while pushing your cardiovascular endurance and stamina. In this phase, increase the frequency, intensity, and volume of your workouts.
You should see a considerable improvement in your physique by the end of six months. Your weight loss should be in the range of 24–48 pounds. Consider hiring a training and diet coach if you are unsatisfied with your progress.
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Can you spot-reduce body fat?
Most people want to shed belly fat and are always looking for ways to spot-reduce their tummy. Sadly, this is not possible. Maintaining a calorie deficit and engaging in cardio exercises leads to overall fat reduction and body weight loss. However, you can tone a particular muscle group through targeted training. For example, men can build a six-pack by doing ab exercises after their body fat percentage falls below 15%.
Do I need to take supplements to lose fat and build muscle?
Absolutely no! You can shed body weight and achieve the physique of your dreams by eating nutrient-dense whole foods. However, supplements can help folks that cannot meet their daily caloric needs through whole foods.
Is it possible to lose fat without hitting the gym?
Yes, you can lose weight without training. You must maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight and can expect to lose 1 pound weekly by cutting 500 calories from your diet. That said, exercising regularly can speed up your weight loss progress.
Following the 12 explosive tips mentioned in this article to get ripped quickly will set you on a fat-obliterating and muscle-building adventure that will have you rocking a body so ripped that you’ll have people wondering if you were sculpted by Michelangelo himself.
Starting a transformation journey might feel like a daunting task. You might feel unequipped and unprepared even to begin, but with these 12 tips by your side, you aren’t. Losing the flab might feel like an uphill battle, but it isn’t.
Are you feeling too overwhelmed to take your first step? Cut one serving from any of your meals, and you’ll have begun the journey to becoming totally unstoppable. Best of luck!
- Wishnofsky M. CALCULATION OF DIETS. JAMA. 1957;163(5):384–385. doi:10.1001/jama.1957.02970400056024
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Losing Weight. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/losing_weight/index.html