Contrary to what social media would like you to believe, being ripped is not what you should aim for when going to the gym – health comes first.
That being said, regardless of your “body type,” the time it takes you to get ripped will depend on how much fat you have. For some, it can take a few weeks and for others, it can take months or over a year.
To see what I’m on about, and how to get there ASAP, follow me into the weight room…
What is a Mesomorph?
A mesomorph is one of the somatotypes, which was developed in the 1940s by the American psychologist William Herbert Sheldon. He based the idea of body types (wrongfully) not just on how people looked, but on psychology.
While this seems like some weird ‘body astrology’ situation, the idea got disproved shortly after it came to fruition. That being said, in recent years, it has grown in popularity again. There are three main somatotypes:
- Ectomorph: These individuals are described as skinny, small, and petite, and struggle to gain size or muscle mass. They will struggle to train and eat consistently, and while they may struggle to gain muscle, they appear to have abs year-round
- Mesomorph: Described as ‘the perfect combination of big and aesthetic. Imagine Thor or any other superhero. These people can both build muscle and lose fat rather easily. These are the genetically blessed amongst us and should be able to pursue strength or aesthetics with ease
- Endomorph: The big lovable people. They will have both broad shoulders and hips and actually make remarkably good strength athletes. That being said, they struggle to lose fat. They do have the added benefit of building muscle quite easily, and they have incredibly strong cores
As you might have picked up earlier, I used the term ‘’wrongfully’’. This is because the idea of somatotypes is completely false!!
You cannot categorize the entire human race into three groups based on how much fat they carry at a certain point.
YOU HAVE THE CAPABILITY TO LOSE FAT
So, you have the ability to ‘move’ from one somatotype to another – suck it, Sheldon! Okay, so maybe you would have to work pretty hard to ‘move’ from one to the other, but that’s why we’re here to help you!
How Long Does It Take to Get Ripped?
Before we give you the wrong information here, it really depends on how much you have to lose, and how hard you can work.
Imagine you were driving from point A to point B.
If you drove a truck, and the distance was 500 miles, it would take a while. If it was only 200 miles, and you were behind the wheel of a Ferrari, it’d be a lot quicker… See what I mean?
To make things a bit easier, here is a generalized table to show you how long it could* take for you to get ripped:
|Male Body Fat %
|Female Body Fat %
|Time to “Ripped-ness”
|20 – 25
|30 – 35
|25 – 30 Weeks
|17 – 20
|25 – 30
|14 – 17
|20 – 25
|8 – 10 Weeks
* This is a non-scientific table, as it would be impossible to account for the hundreds of variables that are in play when trying to get ripped. Also, these times are under the conditions you train and diet perfectly
Getting ripped also means more than just having little body fat, you should also have a pretty decent amount of lean muscle mass. But how exactly do you go about getting ripped?
You Gotta Diet!
If you thought you might get there without making some dietary sacrifices, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that ain’t gonna happen. See, the biggest driver behind fat loss is a calorie deficit.
A calorie deficit can be described as eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current body weight.
This difference will then result in your body using calories stored in the body as fat and muscle for energy. Ideally, we would want all of that energy to come from body fat, and so we need to follow certain dietary rules:
- Rule number 1 – You have to be in a calorie deficit: Regardless of the type of diet you follow (Keto, Low Fat, Vegan, etc) you need to eat less in order to burn fat. These are the laws of Thermodynamics
- Rule number 2 – Eat high protein: Protein is the building block of muscle tissue and will be essential if you want to become ripped. Without protein, your body will simply burn both fat and muscle tissue. Studies show fat loss diets are more successful with more protein
- Rule number 3 – A higher carb diet could be better: Since we aim to keep protein high, we need to drop fats or carbs. Dropping fats could result in better fat loss results and retention of more muscle tissue
So now that we have established the rules, we can start looking at helping you design your own diet. In reality, it is actually pretty simple, and you can follow the following guidelines:
|How much to Eat
|Use the benedict equation to calculate this
|1 – 1.3g per pound of bodyweight
|0.3 – 0.6g per pound of bodyweight
|The remainder of your calories*
* Minus the calories from protein and fats from your overall calories to calculate this
Regarding food options, you should choose healthy foods you can enjoy whilst remaining in your deficit. Some options are:
|Whole Grain Pasta
|Seeds and Nuts
|Macadamia Nut Oil
Following these guidelines will certainly get you to make progress. One more thing: to actually get in a deficit, remove 5 – 10% of your maintenance calories, and only decrease by another 5 – 10% when fat loss stops.
You might have also heard some people mention eating multiple meals, or fasting is going to be better for fat loss. The truth is, there is zero evidence of either. Both are effective methods to eat food, but neither has the capability to increase fat loss.
And before you ask about fat burners, most of them don’t really work. Overall, the supplements that are worth your money are:
- Whey Protein (or Protein Powders, in general)
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Otherwise, you’re better off spending your money on buying high-quality food.
Getting shredded is actually pretty simple. You need to identify your goal and make simple changes to your diet to get you there. The most important things are protein and calories.
Training like It’s a Job
Maybe that header is a bit of a clickbait, but you do have to take training incredibly seriously. Training will significantly amplify your dieting efforts, and failing to train effectively will lead to poor results.
Now, of course, there are two types of training we commonly discuss. Resistance training (weights, bands, or external resistance) and Cardiovascular training (low-intensity training or high-intensity training).
Resistance training is going to be exceptional for the retention of muscle mass, whilst cardio is important for *surprise* cardiovascular health, and can even be used to aid in lowering total calories for the day.
So, what should a program to get ripped look like? Well, ideally, you would be training a muscle group once or preferably twice per week. You can follow various training styles such as
- Full body training: Training all the muscles in the body 3 times per week
- Upper – Lower training: You train the upper body, and then the lower body, two times per week, each
- Push-Pull Leg training: You train the push muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps), then pull muscles (back and biceps), and then legs
- Bodybuilder style: You train one or two muscles per day
All of these are perfectly viable, and you would choose the one that suits you best. You should almost always aim to get stronger from week to week, but once you get to below 12% body fat levels, this will become almost impossible.
Making sure you get stronger from week to week will ensure that most of your muscle stays on the body, and does not get burnt as energy. If you are not getting stronger from week to week, you need to look at 5 things as to why not:
- Recovery – Are you sleeping enough? 7 – 8 hours minimum
- Stress – Are you too stressed due to work? Make sure you try to manage all your external stress as much as you can
- Hydration – If you are not drinking enough, you will not be able to contract muscle tissue effectively
- Diet – If you don’t eat the correct amount of food or even foods you don’t tolerate well, it will mess with your recovery
- Supplementation – If you use supplements, have you been using those effectively?
If you have found that none of these are maximized, then you might need to drop the amount of volume you are doing. When it comes to cardio, however, you should be taking things relatively easy.
You can do HIIT if you want to, however, you’re going to get the most benefit from low-intensity work. Why? Well, HIIT can limit recovery, and then you won’t be able to lift as much weight.
But, But, I’m a Mesomorph…
…and nobody cares.
The idea that these somatotypes exist has been disproved years ago – in fact, there is zero evidence they exist. When you’re looking to increase your fat loss capabilities, you’re gonna have to work like everyone else.
Sure, you could have genetics that grants you the ability to lose fat easier than others, or you might have amazing chest muscle bellies. You still need to work on your diet and training, or you simply won’t be getting anywhere.
Somatotypes do not exist. The only genetic components that could limit your fat loss capabilities are things like hypothyroidism, diabetes, or kidney damage. Other than real medical reasons, you have zero excuses.
Calculate your calorie intake, and formulate a diet that you can follow sustainably. If you cannot be sustainable in your approach, you won’t be getting anywhere in your fat loss endeavors.
So, How Long Does It Take to Get Ripped?
This is such a difficult question to answer. And, I’m actually going to answer it with a question – do you even want to be ripped?
Being ripped is a huge commitment, and doesn’t just fall into your lap. It will take quite a lot of effort.
Above that, being absolutely shredded isn’t all that healthy. Your hormones take a hit, and you run a much higher risk of injury. That being said, it does have benefits… for Instagram likes, I guess.
Overall, it is a personal decision and getting to the brass tax of the situation, and getting ripped is hard. That being said, it is quite simple. You only need to do three things:
- Diet by being in a calorie deficit
- Train with resistance and a bit of cardio in between
- Get enough sleep, and manage stress
By doing those three simple things, you will be ripped in [set] amount of time. The actual time it takes depends on you. Your genetics, your history with food, your history with training, your work schedule, and your determination to succeed.
If it took you 5 years to get out of shape, don’t expect to get in the best shape of your life in only 12 weeks. Trust the process, stay true to the course, and try your best every single day.
That’s the most anyone could ask of you.