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The gains you get at the gym make you feel confident all over town. What if you want to take your workouts to the next level? How can you achieve the ripped body you’ve always dreamed of? Right now, you’re probably somewhere between Joe Blow and Arnold Schwarzenegger. If you want a chiseled, Adonis-level body, read this guide and follow these seven tips.
1. Commit to Strength Training
First, you must commit to strength training to get a ripped body. That’s not necessarily a surprise. Though, it does take consistency and dedication in the gym to attain strong muscles. Find a gym near you that has the proper equipment. Alternatively, you could work out at home. Find dumbbells and strength training machines and create a home gym in the backyard, garage, spare room or any area with enough space to function.
Once you have your equipment, getting on a routine is best. Do strength training at least three days weekly, or you could go up to five or six. If you want to work out every day, target different muscle groups each session so you give your body time to recuperate.
Strength training is the first step to getting ripped, and it comes with other health benefits you may have yet to realize. Regular resistance workouts decrease your risk of diseases like osteoporosis, improve your flexibility and help your brain stay sharp as you age. Additionally, you’ll feel better about yourself and your accomplishments. Who has walked out of a gym saying they regret their workout?
2. Eat Tons of Protein
When you work out, you cause tiny tears in your muscles. Don’t worry because tearing muscles is the objective. How you repair and rest them is crucial to your muscle gain. After a workout, you need protein to replenish your body and strengthen your muscles. How much protein do you need? The short answer is a lot.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends eating 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound to increase muscle mass. That might sound like a little, but get a pen and paper to do the math. Suppose you weigh 180 pounds. The 0.5 mark is the minimum, so it’s around 90 grams. The ceiling of protein intake should be about 144 grams.
Consuming that much protein can be challenging initially. Still, you’ll see the gains soon if you eat correctly. Protein can be expensive, so shop for inexpensive protein sources to fit your budget. Some examples include cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, chicken breasts and oats. If you’re vegan, you can still participate in the ripped body movement with black beans, tofu, lentils, vegan protein powder and more.
3. Include Carbs
Some people give carbs a bad reputation, and it’s not necessarily justified. Carbs are your body’s primary energy source, so you need them for daily functions. You especially need them to gain energy before your strength training workouts.
You want your muscles to have stored glucose to last through the session. Before your workout, eat a banana, protein bar, peanut butter toast or any snack that works for you. Some people even eat Rice Krispie treats as their pre-workout food.
4. Incorporate Healthy Fats
You may be trying to cut the fat and increase muscle, but you still need fats in your diet. Your body can’t produce particular fatty acids by itself, so you supply it with triglycerides, cholesterol and more. You need fat, and the type of fat you put in your body matters. Aim for fats that store energy and assist the protein you’re eating for the gains.
Thankfully, healthy fats are easy to access at the store and incorporate into your diet. Look for unsaturated fats, also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These foods lower your risk of heart disease and can lead to better protein gains. Some tasty examples include fish like salmon, tuna, trout, cod and more. You can also find healthy fats in nuts, seeds and oils like olive.
5. Take Rest Days
Your dream body is only achievable if you put in the work. However, with strength training, you need to have patience. The dawg in you may want to lift weights every day, but you’ll see better gains if you take rest days in between your workouts. Your body needs time to repair your muscles, partly with protein intake. While resting, your tissues heal and produce a ripped body.
So, how much rest do you need? It depends on the workout and how intense it is. Some people work out muscle groups depending on the day. Let’s say you work out four days a week. Day one is for legs, day two is for core, day three is for chest and day four is for arms. Dividing your workouts may be best to give each group a chance to rest. Allow 48 to 72 hours for recovery for optimal muscle repair.
6. Don’t Forget Cardio
When you imagine getting a ripped body, you likely think of an hour lifting weights, not jogging on a treadmill. Some people dread cardio, but it’s essential for your fitness goals. If you’re trying to cut, you need to burn calories. Lifting weights burns calories, but you’ll see much better results if you do cardio.
Cardio can include 30 minutes on the treadmill, but there are so many options out there. Find a form of cardio that you find the most fun. Get some buddies together for soccer, basketball, swimming, cycling or other fun activities. Do you like hiking? Many national parks are free and include long trails for cardio. Take your dog, kids or whoever else wants to tag along to see nature’s beauty.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Life would be easy if all you had to do was work out, eat and sleep. You probably have other obligations like work, school, family and a yard to tend to. Juggling everything with your workouts can be challenging, so remember to get enough sleep.
Sleep is the basis for everything we do, including workouts. You need to sleep adequately at night to ensure your body and mind get enough rest. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says you need at least 7 hours sleep nightly to be healthy. When you sleep at night, your body repairs the muscles you tore in your workouts and restores your body’s supply of glycogen or energy. If you don’t sleep enough, you risk not getting the most out of your training.
Working Toward a Ripped Body
Getting a ripped body won’t happen overnight. It takes months and years of dedication to achieve your fitness goals. However, you’ll build confidence along the way and feel proud of your progress. Use these seven tips for achieving the Greek god body you imagine in the mirror.