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by Daniel Burford July 29, 2018

Have you ever thought of what it truly means to be shredded, as opposed to just being lean? If you use the words interchangeably, chances are you don’t really know the difference, but that’s okay as what your about to read will make things much clearer to you.

Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone, as there are proven ways to help you do so, such as by following a trusted Shredded Workout Program or being part of the Hustler fitness community for all guys seeking improved health and body composition changes. 

In this post, I'm going to answer one of the biggest and most questions I get -- how to get shredded? 

So let’s get shredded!

What does "Shredded" mean?

In order for you to get shredded, you must first understand what the word shredded means. No, I’m not talking about cheese or paper, but that insane level of muscular visibility that is clearly characteristic of the amount of work you put into crafting your body.

It is much easier to get lean than it is to become shredded, as looking at things from a perspective of body fat percentage, you can be lean in the vicinity of 7 to 12% body fat, whereas to be shredded you are looking at 6% and below.

This is typical of competitive bodybuilders. This is me the first time I achieved this using the SHREDDED workout program: 

Get Shredded Workout

At 6% body fat and below skin literally becomes paper-thin, called "cockskin", so much so that every single striation of musculature underneath is visible, along with your vascular network. And let’s face it, it looks impressive as hell.

So to sum it up, being shredded refers to obtaining sub 6% body fat levels, along with a high degree of musculature that leaves you looking competition ready and absolutely jacked.

Sounds like something you’d be interested in? Never mind, I already know the answer!

How to Get Shredded

Okay, so you’ve decided that you want to get shredded… That’s great, but where do you go from there? Sure, you could devote yourself to “working out harder”, but we know just doing that without following a proven and replicable formula is just grinding your gears without going anywhere anytime soon.

So what should you be doing? As I have taught the thousands of guys that came before you, getting shredded is very attainable, given that you are consistent in following guidelines that work time and time again. This is why the shredded program was created. To give you the clearest roadmap to getting shredded, even if you tried multiple times before and never gotten very far.

Apply these proven principles and you will be ecstatically happy at the end of 12 weeks.

1. Use Tempo Training

After dealing with thousands of clients, it is as clear as day to me that over 95% of trainees have no idea what their training tempo should be, or what it even is to begin with. I like to compare tempo training with someone aspiring to be a chef, but has no idea the cooking time necessary to create mouthwatering dishes.

Muscles can be considered the same. There are different muscle fibers that make up any given muscle group, that respond differently to the time spent under tension. Similarly to how a well done steak takes much more time to prepare than fish.

By adjusting and taking advantage of different training tempos, you are more efficiently able to target what we know as fast twitch, and slow twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers are the ones that are recruited immediately when we start performing an exercise, and thus are much more able to generate explosive power.

Power lifters and sprinters have a larger degree of fast twitch muscle fibers, as their particular sport disciplines require explosive strength and speed, but over a short period of time. On the other hand, slow twitch muscle fibers take longer to fatigue, and need to be stimulated over the course of many seconds.

This is why it is important to use proven training tempos, such as the ones I advocate on the shredded program, to ensure development of all muscle fiber types, and offset the risk of training injuries.

Your training tempo consists of four “phases”, starting at the lowering or negative of the rep. So for example, considering the popular bench press, a tempo of 2121 means that you take two seconds lowering the weight, one second stop at the bottom position, two seconds actively pushing it up back, and one second pause at the top position before starting the next rep.

Thus, 10 reps performed in this fashion will take 60 seconds to complete, done correctly. There are many different tempos to use, depending on the particular muscle group being trained, and which I take advantage of when training clients using the shredded program.

2. Train the WHOLE Body; Not Just Vanity Muscles

A mistake I see new trainees making extremely often is believing that by training the show muscles, AKA abs, chest and arms, that they will automatically develop a world-class physique. While it is imperative that you do not neglect these vanity muscle groups, put together they still comprise a very small volume of overall musculature, and are unlikely to result in significant body recomposition if those are your primary targets.

The way I coach my clients is to emphasize the largest muscle groups first; which means make your legs and back focal points of your training. It is much more likely that you develop a well-balanced physique if you train these muscle groups alone, compared to all the others put together. 

Emphasizing training of these muscle groups will also yield the greatest increases in testosterone synthesis, and metabolic changes, which equates to significant changes in your physique.

3. Train the Posterior Chain

Collectively, the muscles of the posterior chain are the most neglected ones in common training protocols, which leads to an overdeveloped upper body and an under developed lower body. The way to avoid this is by training the posterior chain, which works multiple important muscle groups to get shredded, and of course the core.

So what exactly are the muscles of the posterior chain?

To simplify it, you can think of all the muscles on the rear of the body, even though more correctly they consist of the hamstrings, calves, glutes, erectors of the lower back and the rear traps.

Posterior Chain

These muscles are the most important for ensuring upright posture, and are what we have to thank for being able to walk freely. Have you ever noticed how babies and young children seem to have virtually limitless flexibility, doing squats many of us could only dream of? It is because of posterior chain balance.

Common examples of exercises that work the posterior chain include almost every form of deadlift, hamstring curls, calve raises and hyperextensions. 

As we grow older and sit more as you get settled into the sedentary lifestyle society has made for us, these posterior muscles naturally begin to catabolize, or shrink and become mere shadows of what they were supposed to be.

This is why posterior chain training should be arguably more important than the muscles of the anterior chain, or the front half. Stronger posterior chain muscles equate to reduced likelihood of injury, unhindered movement well into old age, and a general degree of fitness.

For athletes, training these muscles contribute significantly to maximum power output, as these muscles play an integral role in the generation of power. Virtually all of the heavy compound lifts require a great degree of stabilization and support from these muscles. Now you know why lower back injuries are so common in ego lifters.

4. Optimize Your Rep Range

In order to truly become shredded you need to pull out all the stops and take advantage of every training variable you have at your disposal. One of the most underused, or rather misunderstood of these variables are rep ranges, since many clients I first talk to don’t have an understanding of the different roles each range plays.

Rep ranges are generally clumped into strength, hyper trophy, and endurance brackets respectively, each category increasing in total number of reps as we move along.

During week one of the shredded program I introduce clients to a more bodybuilding centric or hyper trophy targeted rep range, in the vicinity of 8 to 12 reps per set. This rep range is best suited to invoke metabolic and muscular stress, as well as very decent working time per set, all critical to muscle growth and strength gains plus helping to kick into motion fat loss.

However, this should not be the end-all to your training rep ranges, as you will inevitably stagnate after a prolonged period of hypertrophic specific ranges. You also need to incorporate your rep arranges of 3 to 5, as this targets is able to improve power generation in the shortest amount of time. A large aspect of maximal power outputs deals with nervous system acclimation, with burnouts being the opposite of this.

Higher rep training, exceeding 12 reps and up to 25, teaches the body to buffer the effects of lactic acid more efficiently, since accumulation of this compound in muscle is the number one contributing factor to muscle failure within a training set.

Knowing when to employ each of these rep ranges in your training program is a sure way to get you closer to your goal of becoming shredded.

5. Prioritize Compound Exercises

Compound movements, as the name implies are those exercises that utilize a diverse range of muscle groups, or that involves movements through more than one joint. For instance, the bench press is a compound movement since it involves both the elbows and shoulder joint, being in essence multi-jointed (which is what compound movements are).

Compound movements result in the greatest metabolic burn, or post exercise oxygen consumption, stimulates a large number of muscle groups, and are what the shredded program, and ideally all workouts should be centered around.

I place heavy emphasis on performing movements such as the bench press, squats and deadlifts, which are the core of the get Shredded Workout Routine, and are all virtually found in all effective programs that get you shredded. Targeting abs and arms alone all day long one won’t do much for you, even though you might want to think so.

6. Follow a Diet Designed for Getting Shredded

You can do everything right when it comes to training, but if your diet is shoddy you will never ever come close to being shredded. You cannot out train a bad diet – no exceptions. Diet is arguably responsible for 80% of the progress you make, or lack thereof. This is why even though training is critical as stimulus for initiating change, it is diet that will actually give your body the material necessary for structural rebuilding.

So which diet works best? It depends largely on individual differences. Personally, the SHREDDED Program Diet advocates lower consumption of carbs, as these diet types are able to elicit metabolic changes that promotes the utilization of fat for fuel. Indeed, the first week or two on low-carb diets are tough, but a body makes adaptations very fast, and moving into the third week the status quo returns.

You should aim for a moderate protein high-fat diet, more commonly known as the ketogenic diet, as this is one of the fastest ways to build muscle and shed body fat, accelerating your goal to shredded.

Diets high in meat and assorted nuts supply both of these important macronutrients, and keep your satiety high. Nothing derails a good diet plan faster than hunger; just call it an evolutionary trait. Nuts are also loaded with various trace minerals that keep your metabolism revving on high, and testosterone synthesis optimized.

Don’t forget vegetables, as they are typically very low-calorie and filling, making them the perfect complement to meals. Carbs are best suited around work out time, since uptake into muscle cells is greatly favored at this interval.

7. Training Abs Isn't That Important

We all want a set of well chiseled six-pack abs (or 8 pack if you’re lucky, you mutant!), as time and time again this is the first thing new clients want from me. Relax, abs will come but not as a result of doing a gazillion crunches every day from now to eternity.

Rather, as with everything else you need to be strategic and performing the best ab exercises as prescribed in SHREDDED correctly.

Crunches have their place in an ab workouts, but they should not be your sole focus. Heck, they shouldn’t even be a primary focus. Rather, you should focus on developing the lower abs, which is the part most people have difficulties with.

Targeting the lower abs to a large degree involves keeping your top have stationary, and working from the bottom half of your body. Think of hanging leg raises, or flutter kicks. Training of the obliques is also a necessary part of any effective ab training routine, helping you detail out the shredded sides of those six-packs.

My guys following SHREDDED are often surprised how little ab exercises are used in the program. This is because for most guys, abs are achieved almost unintentionally as a result of everything else being on point according to the program -- the right diet, compound movements, cardio, the right rep ranges. While there are great ab workouts for men, the best way for guys to get six pack abs is with the holistic approach used in the Shredded Program that not only helps you get abs, but also build muscle, get leaner and fitter all at the same time.

8. Using the Right Supplements to Get Shredded

While supplements are a contentious point for many novice trainees, I always advise the use of basic supplements that ensure your bases are covered on the Shredded Program.

And when I say "supplements" I don't mean "protein powder". I mean taking into account things to become healthier all round, with a focus on gut health.

For instance, many people do not get the required daily intake of many vitamins or micro minerals, which could stall progress over the long term. The best supplements to get shredded are the basics with smart additions to de-stress the body and have a range of positive side effects in addition to body compassion.

Plus, unknown to many people, the more active you are (and sweat), the more urgent is the need for supplemental zinc. Zinc plays a critical role in hormone synthesis and many cellular processes, so why should we handicap ourselves? 

Keep in mind that supplements should not be a crutch.

Protein powders are also technically supplements which can help you reach your targets for this macronutrient as well. At the very minimum you need about 1g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, and ideally more than 2g.

Depriving yourself of such nutrients won’t help you in the quest to getting shredded anytime soon, so supplement wisely for gains. This is where our Shredded Supplements Guide helps so many guys choose the right supplements and avoids the nasty and ineffective products.

9. Watch Your Hydration

You cannot skimp on water to get ripped and shredded.

Your body is more than 70% water, with it being absolutely necessary for a range of biological functions. 

Want to have a poor workout? Don’t drink water. Just 2% dehydration can decrease your performance by over 40%, so why would you risk it? Unless you are seriously messing around with your electrolytes, there is no harm in drinking 4 liters of water daily, in some cases more.

Don’t depend on thirst alone. Set a quota and get it down.

10. Strategic Cheat Meals

As you progress in your quest to become shredded, and your duet tightens up more and more, it also becomes harder to maintain your gains and stay lean. This is when you can start schedule days for reloading muscle glycogen, to keep performance high, and your sanity to an extent.

The best strategic use of these “cheat days” can be found on a cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD). In a nutshell, you go very carb low for 3-4 days in a row, then follow it up with a “cheat day” that is forgiving and allows you to recharge with carbs. 

Doing this helps keep metabolism higher, performance up and supports muscle hypertrophy. Just don’t overdo on your cheat days; this is not a LICENSE TO FILL. Eat sensibly using high quality carbohydrates. 

Take note, it is a cheat meal and not a cheat day. It's for this reason I generally recommend cheat meals for dinner.

One of the best cheat meals are burgers -- moderate carbohydrates, protein and fats -- without killing that week's progress. Pizzas are also a good option, but if you're anything like me, find that the tomato paste and other ingredients enflame the gut leaving you bloated and feeling anything but shredded for the next 1-2 days.

Tip: As I tell clients on SHREDDED, taking a digestive supplement 30 minutes before a cheat meal is a great way to avoid upsetting your stomach with a relatively high carbohydrate/high fat meal. An example would be 1 tbs apple cider vinegar, a digestive enzyme, or a probiotic.

11. Thou Must Rest

Does working out more equate to greater gains? Not necessarily. While it is necessary to subject your body to regularly scheduled stimulus, there is a point of diminishing returns that can occur from working out day after day with no rest in between.

It is very important to realize that growth and progress does not occur in the gym, but rather all the other hours you spend on nutrition and sleep. Take sleep away from the formula and you are unlikely to progress at all.

Since we were kids we learned that during sleep the body takes the time to repair damaged tissue. Why would this change now? Without sleep the body is unable to rebuild stronger in order to handle the stressors it is expecting subsequently.

Take days off from the gym completely, even if it is a singular weekend day. Clients that follow the shredded program have Sunday as an off day to allow the body to recuperate significantly. In addition to looking good and becoming stronger, you should also strive to maintain your health as long as possible.

Not resting hinders your progress; not the other way around.

12. Don't Overcomplicate the Process: Use Proven Training Programs that Work

There are virtually thousands of training programs out there that may apply one or two of the principles mentioned above, but which fail to comprehensively look at the larger picture.

Sure, you may see a little weight loss here and there and gain a few pounds of muscle, but you will never be satisfied with subpar results.

Shredded is a proven program used by thousands of trainees before and continues to deliver results to this day.

Wrapping Up: How to Get Shredded

Getting shredded takes work. 

But a ripped physique is far from impossible, and it's easy to take steps to get started.

The above steps outline exactly how to guys from all walks of life can take today to start seeing serious results from their training. 

While you can experiment all day with ideas on what works to get ripped, it is hard for someone to do this on their own, especially in as little as 12 weeks.

This is where trusted workout programs can provide you with everything you need to build lean muscle and lose fat while becoming fitter, healthier and more confident.

The SHREDDED program is the world's most popular program for guys wanting to get shredded. Using evidence-based training, nutrition and supplement protocols, the program has helped thousands of guys become stronger, leaner and healthier. 

So get excited. 

Following the steps outlined above, you too can become leaner, stronger and more confident by following the proven steps to get ripped and shredded. The Hustler Fitness Shredded Program is a great way to get started. 

Any questions about getting ripped? Let me know in the comments!

Daniel Burford
Daniel Burford

Daniel Burford is the founder of Hustler Fitness and the SHREDDED Program, a 12 week program that helps men build muscle, lose fat and get shredded. Check it out by clicking here. For training, nutrition & supplement tips, follow Hustler Fitness on Facebook & Instagram.


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