According to a study by the IHRSA, about half of all Americans suffer from gym anxiety – or the fear of going to the gym. This fear typically stems from the social aspect and being judged for not knowing what to do or how to do it.
This shows there are two things that need to happen to improve health in America:
- People who visit gyms need to be more inclusive to all body types and encourage them to bring more people in to make them feel more comfortable.
- Home workouts need to be more popular for their accessibility and promoted to improve the overall health of the world.
The coolest part is that you can definitely get ripped with just home workouts. Take a look at Olympic gymnasts, who pretty much only use their body weight to work out, as your example.
What Does It Mean To Be Ripped?
When you’re trying to prove to someone that it’s possible to do something, it’s really important to be precise in your language. Just like in Catch-22, if the end goal keeps getting pushed further away, then you’ll never reach it.
Oftentimes, if you ask multiple people to define a single thing, you’ll end up with many different responses. That’s why it’s so important to set the baseline of what we mean when the term “ripped” is used.
In terms of health and fitness, ripped is still usually pretty relative. After all, different people display the same physical statistics differently because humans all vary.
For that reason, it’s smart to have a standard baseline. There’s a broad body fat percentage that the industry commonly agrees fits the definition of “ripped.”
Here are the baseline parameters that tend to fit the best:
- Men: about 12-15% of body fat will allow some abs to show through
- Women: anything below about 17-20% will let some ab musculature be seen
These numbers aren’t exact because people are different. But if you fall within them, it’s quite likely you’ll be classified as “ripped” by the majority of people.
Now, that may not hold true if you’re working toward a bodybuilding physique. But we all have to start somewhere.
Basics of Bodyweight Training
This topic is deep enough to end up as a post all to itself; however, we have to come to terms with the absolute basics of bodyweight exercises.
There’s a massive difference between lifting weights through space and moving your body weight through space. It’s a massively different adaptation, and it’s hard to explain fully.
The best thing I can suggest is to do a max-weight bench press and then do as many push-ups as possible. They feel very different.
When training, in general, I like to recommend a full-body routine over any sort of split. This is because my personal goal when going to the gym is to get the most bang for my buck, and I’d assume others feel the same.
That said, I also like to work in all planes of movement. That means a vertical push and pull, a horizontal push and pull, and a leg push and pull (or hip hinge – to be more technical).
This structure causes the workouts to be about an hour long, but it allows for an amazing full-body routine and skill advancement. Because when it comes down to it, every exercise is really just a skill, and the best way to master a new skill is to do it more.
Sample exercises for each of these would be:
- Vertical Push: Pike push-ups
- Vertical Pull: Pull-ups or chin-ups
- Horizontal Push: Push-ups
- Horizontal Pull: Bodyweight rows
- Leg Push: Squats and variations
- Hip Hinge: Single-leg stiff-leg deadlift
All of these offer a ton of variations that allow you to progress and achieve those ripped goals you’re looking for.
Dialing in Your Diet
Now, it’s time for everyone’s favorite aspect of getting ripped and healthy: focusing on what you put into your body.
Growing up, my least favorite saying was, “you are what you eat,” because I always wanted an extra scoop of ice cream, and I couldn’t understand why my mom told me “no.”
As an adult, I’m beyond grateful for my mom allowing me to have sweets but doing it in moderation. She helped craft an understanding that sweets aren’t healthy for me in the long run, but it’s important to know when to celebrate.
Now, I reflect on that saying and realize its truth is immeasurable.
If you do nothing but consume unhealthy food, then you’ll be an unhealthy individual.
So, we’ll take it from the top.
Let’s Talk About Calories
The beginning of dialing in your nutrition is to calculate your TDEE – or Total Daily Energy Expenditure – which is measured in calories.
Yeah, calories – the media buzzword – is simply the unit of measurement for energy. A calorie is how much energy it takes to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.
That’s mostly irrelevant here, but it’s interesting.
To find your TDEE, you can get a solid estimate by using a TDEE calculator you can find online with a simple search. Or you can get a more accurate measurement by using a fitness tracking device in conjunction with a food tracking application like MyFitnessPal.
Once you have your TDEE calculated, even roughly, you can use that to gain or lose weight to fit your goal. Typically, if the goal is to build muscle, you’ll be in a caloric surplus, and if your goal is to lose weight, you’ll consume calories in a deficit.
It gets a bit more intense, though, when you take into consideration the fact that there are micro and macronutrients as well.
Micronutrients are primarily only necessary for bodybuilders and other fitness professionals. For that reason, I don’t like to focus on them. There are a lot more rocks to focus on that’ll provide a bigger impact for you.
That said, let’s take a look at the primary macronutrients that are used to calculate your TDEE:
- Protein: should make up between 25-35% of your caloric intake
- Fats: should make up between 20-40% of your caloric intake
- Carbohydrates: should account for the remaining 25-55% of your caloric intake
Of course, these percentages can be manipulated to fit your hunger and fitness goals. For example, some people operate better with more carbohydrates than others. Then there are those that are always hungry, so high fat and high protein is the way to go because it makes them feel full longer.
What works best for you will likely be different than any other person. So don’t be alarmed when you come across varying percentages.
As long as you follow this basic outline, you’ll likely be in good shape to start getting ripped with home workouts.
What Do I Need to Get Ripped at Home?
One of the worst things for me (personally) is limiting myself when it comes to gear. I’m a self-proclaimed gearhead, and I love having cool stuff with specific purposes.
When it comes to home workouts, you don’t really need a whole lot.
Unless you’re building a home gym or specifically just want to have dumbbells, it’s not absolutely necessary to have any weights at all, actually.
That’s because there are ways to get the exercises in without anything more than a table to use as an elevated surface for bodyweight rows and some chairs to use for dips or a unique hold for lat activation. (Perform this unique exercise by sitting on the ground with your elbows in the seat pan and pulling your elbows down to your back pockets, lifting yourself off the ground and holding for set times.)
You could even get ripped with a solid diet paired with an at-home boxing routine or other activities like swimming, yoga, or CrossFit.
Now, if you want to get the most bang for your buck, then there are a few pieces of gear that will make your workouts a lot easier to perform.
For starters, a pull-up bar is the most important thing you would need. Now, there are a few options for this. You can get the large pull-up bar station that’s usually combined with a leg raise pad for your back and dip handles as well. Or you can go the minimalist route and get a pull-up bar that utilizes your doorframe.
If you’re planning to go all out, then you can also get some parallel bars to perform dips and various other parallel-bar-based exercises.
Some people may even want to go a step further and get various gear for ab workouts. An ab wheel is a popular one. Additionally, you can opt for various yoga balls to practice balance and perform a few different ab workouts that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.
Can You Get Ripped with Just Home Workouts?
If there really is a 50% rate of Americans that don’t want to go to an actual gym for whatever their reason is, then home workouts need to be more accepted and popularized.
This is something I’m very passionate about because of my work in aviation. As a flight attendant, it was difficult to get consistency with my workouts because of hotel variations and my home set-up being completely different.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything, including gyms, it became even more important for people to find a way to get their workouts in. Physical fitness is important for humans, and it should be encouraged and accessible to as many people as possible.
With the incredible possibilities of workouts from home (both with and without equipment), it must be known more broadly that it’s entirely possible to get ripped with just home workouts.