Crossfit! You either love it, or you’re too unfit to do it, so you end up hating it.
Can you get shredded to the bone, with ab veins and striated quads doing your WOD? Hold onto your kipping bar, we’re delving into all the science of getting ripped!
The reality is that you can get ripped doing CrossFit. You could potentially get ripped doing any type of training style, as long as your diet and progressions are on point, but of course, there’s more to being 5% body fat than meets the eye.
Without further ado, let’s break it down, shall we.
What is CrossFit?
CrossFit was invented in 2000 and has grown in popularity ever since. Whether you love or hate it, you cannot deny that it gets people training which is always a good thing.
CrossFit is a particular training style that includes various types of other training styles all mangled into one.
This means you’ll be doing some weightlifting, some bodybuilding, some running, sprinting, and for some reason, about a thousand burpees. That last part might be inaccurate, but the fact remains that there are various kinds of training types that all come together to create CrossFit.
CrossFit is often advertised as training for all, and indeed, CrossFit is basically for anyone who’s willing to walk into their local Box. This is where most of your training will take place, and as long as you are old and/or strong enough to actually move some weight around, they’ll allow you to join in the fun of high-intensity training.
Many will often criticize CrossFit for being brash and causing a lot of injuries, but studies have shown the injury rate to be very similar to that of weightlifting and other sports. This makes CrossFit a viable option for someone looking to break a sweat, and can have the following benefits:
- Increased Muscle Mass: While CrossFitters aren’t known for being the most muscular people on earth, the exposure to training (of all kinds) will certainly be enough of a stimulus to create new muscle tissue
- Increased Muscle Strength: Again, there are people who are stronger than CrossFitters, but they are still considerably stronger than the average human being. This is due to them increasing weights week by week, forcing the muscle to increase in strength
- Increased Fitness: CrossFitters are known for being some of the fittest people on the planet, seeing as they not only combine weight training with other forms of resistance training, but they also throw in a whole bunch of cardiovascular training as well
- Community: Ask any lone gym bro if he would prefer having a training partner and the answer is almost always “Yes”. With CrossFit this is never a problem, seeing as you train with other people constantly. This has given the CrossFit community a comradery that is not often replicated in other forms of fitness
- General Health: When you are exposed to training like CrossFit, you’re going to see a substantial increase in general health such as decreased blood pressure, decreased cholesterol, and increased life expectancy
It’s safe to say that CrossFit has a myriad of positive effects on the human body and mind, regardless of what Instagram trolls would make you believe. Because of the way CrossFit is done, it’s open to almost anyone looking to join.
You don’t have to do a certain weight, and more often than not, they’ll have different WOD (Workout of the Day) variations for different fitness levels. This makes CrossFit incredibly approachable, and pretty much anyone can participate.
So, can you really get ripped with CrossFit training? Of course, you can!
Many do it already, as leanness is really dictated by your body fat levels which have little to do with your training style, but is dictated by your diet.
What is Being “Ripped”?
Shredded, ripped, peeled, call it whatever you like, but these people look like the people in movies. Mere ounces of fat are left on their body, muscles bulging against the skin, and somehow they are also incredibly friendly – what gives?
The term “Ripped” simply means someone who is both quite muscular and incredibly lean at the same time. This means that even though they have quite a lot of muscle mass (like a powerlifter) they have very little body fat (like a bodybuilder).
This combination is incredibly hard to master as attaining both of these traits simultaneously can be quite the task – and even more so to sustain it.
That being said, it is actually very simple when you break it down. To get shredded, you simply need to do these three things:
- Diet: You need to follow a diet that is both restrictive in calories but has enough protein to sustain muscle mass
- Train: You need to train in order to actually retain lean muscle mass, and cardio training can increase your caloric deficit
- Recovery: Overtraining is an actual thing, although not done very often, but some do. You need to get ample rest and recovery or you will start losing muscle (and life quality) quite rapidly
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When you break it down that simply, it is incredibly… simple.
That being said, again, while it may seem simple in practice, the reality is it might be hard to actually execute – and you don’t want to sustain being ripped for too long as it can lead to a decrease in testosterone, and can also increase your risk of injury.
Speaking about injuries, getting ripped isn’t really for everyone. It will take a great amount of effort, time, and even stress to actually get that lean.
If you are suffering from injuries or other ailments, maybe hold off on getting super lean.
But in order to get truly ripped, you need to execute that short list of instructions to perfection! So, let’s really dig into those.
Following a Diet to Get Ripped
Grab hold of your broccoli, we’re talking about getting lean.
Firstly, if you are struggling with any form of eating disorder, skip this part. Secondly, if you dislike the idea of eating a lot of veggies, skip this part, grow up, and come back.
Hey! Welcome back!
Dieting to get ripped comes down to one thing. You need to diet. End of story.
This means spending a considerable amount of time eating fewer calories than your body needs in order to burn excess body fat.
There are of course ways to make this easier on yourself, like consuming certain foods and consuming foods at certain times. Regardless, here are the absolute musts for dieting to get ripped:
- Eat a high protein diet: Protein is muscle-sparing, meaning that eating protein will grant your muscle an actual fighting chance, and they will probably stick around instead of withering away whilst dieting
- Follow a calorie deficit: In order to actually lose fat mass, you need to follow a diet that is lower in calories than you actually need to sustain your current weight. Combining this point with a high protein diet will yield weight loss from mostly fat, sparing as much muscle tissue as possible
- Eat Nutrient-dense food: Nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and fiber are often found in high amounts with healthier food options. Dieting with hyper-palatable foods can be a lot harder than dieting with good ‘ol chicken and rice
These points will enable you to lose as much fat as possible without digging into your muscle, the latter of which is vital if you want to look shredded, and not just small and fat. Further than just the amounts of food, you can also look at the type of foods you can eat, your macro split:
- Protein: 1 – 1.3g per lbs of bodyweight
- Fats: 0.6g per lbs of bodyweight
- Carbohydrates: Remainder of calories
We need ample amounts of protein to retain muscle mass, we need fats for hormonal and cellular health, and we need carbs because they taste amazing! Jokes, but there are some studies that show eating a higher carbohydrate diet can lead to better muscle retention and performance.
Training to Get Ripped
The biggest misconception with performing workouts to get ripped is the notion that you have to do a ton of reps and/or sets to actually burn fat. This could not be further from the truth, as fat loss is going to be dictated by your calorie deficit, not your training style.
That being said, training is still incredibly important when you are looking to lose fat mass. This will result in the retention of muscle mass whilst stripping away as much fat mass as you possibly can.
In regards to CrossFit, you’re going to be doing a few different training styles:
- Weight Training: Weight training (or any resistance training – like push-ups) will stimulate the muscle in such a way that’s going to allow amino acids (from protein) to repair the muscle, and even build it bigger than it was before – hence muscle growth
- Cardiovascular Training: This training won’t be doing much in regards to muscle building, but it is an easy way of putting yourself in a caloric deficit. Not only this, but it will be exceptional for your cardiovascular health (blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.)
Using a combination of these two training styles is going to allow you to retain the most amount of muscle mass whilst losing the most amount of fat mass.
Recovery to Get Ripped
It’s not often someone will instruct you to just do nothing – yet, I’m going to instruct you to do nothing. Well, not entirely nothing, but recovery is by and large just resting.
Recovery refers to the time spent between training sessions, in which you need to be resting and getting ready for the next. This is actually the time your muscle will adapt and grow, so don’t undervalue recovery!
There are a few ways you can actually improve your recovery capabilities:
- Sleep: This should not come as a surprise, but sleeping is super important. Sleeping a minimum of 7 hours per night is going to be essential for you to achieve the best results
- Soft Tissue Massage: This one might be inaccessible to some, but getting a massage every now and then might significantly improve blood flow, resulting in better recovery and muscle growth
- Diet: If your diet is lacking in protein and high-quality carbohydrates, recovery might be suboptimal. Make sure you follow a diet that is mostly whole foods and rich in protein and carbs to have the best recovery capabilities
Can You Get Ripped Doing CrossFit (Truth)
Getting ripped is not for everyone, and that’s okay! Your worth isn’t measured in your body fat level.
Regardless, CrossFit is an excellent way to get ripped. Not only is it going to be a great stimulus, but it’s an engaging community.
CrossFit will be challenging, and will certainly keep you guessing. Combine the intense training sessions with a decent diet and some quality sleep and you’ll be sure to get shredded to the bone.
To end, don’t stay ripped for too long. Not only can it be taxing on the body, but on the mind as well. Allow yourself the time to build some nice lean mass, and show it off with short bursts of being 5% body fat.
In the end, it will come down to diet to shred you, and training to keep you muscular. CrossFit can certainly keep you as muscular as you can be, plus you’ll learn to appreciate the simple things. Like oxygen. And your quads fit into your pants.