Sometimes low body fat just isn’t enough. Sure, being “cut” is great, but sometimes you want that really jagged, sinewy, highly defined look. If this sounds good to you, then what you need to know is not how to get cut, but how to get shredded. This article will give you a few tips to help you out.
Realize it’s Only Going to be Temporary
Before you can try to learn how to get shredded, you have to go in realizing that it’s not going to last. While you can have very low body fat and even walk around looking cut, taking it up a notch is something different. If you want that magazine cover look for a photo shoot, party, or event, then it’s something you’ll have to plan and prepare for.
You Need to be Lean First
This should go without saying, but figuring out how to get shredded won’t do you any good if you’re not already pretty lean. If you’re anything over maybe 6-7% body fat as it is, you’re better off spending a little more time dieting first. Once your body fat is down low enough, you can try some “get shredded prep”.
Cycle Your Carbs and Water Intake
You’ll want to start your actual prep roughly 5-6 days out from the day of your event, party, or whatever it is you want to get shredded for. For the first 4-5 days (all but the day before your event), radically decrease your carb intake while keeping your water intake high. You’ll want to only take in roughly .25g of carbs per pound of bodyweight while drinking at least 2-3 gallons of water per day.
Increasing your water intake this much will cause your body to go into a sort of “flushing” mode, ridding itself of excess toxins and water. Lowering your carbohydrate intake at the same time will not only allow more water to pass through your system (since carbs retain water), but by not actively replenishing carbs, you stimulate insulin sensitivity.
The day before your event, reverse this by radically increasing your carbs and significantly decreasing your water intake. Take in 50-75g of carbs at a time, 5-6x throughout the day while consuming as little water as possible. This will cause your muscles to appear nice and full while eliminating as much subcutaneous water retention as possible. When you do this, the skin will get ultra-thin, letting every muscle striation be more visible.
Use Supplementation to Your Advantage
No discussion on how to get shredded would be complete without a supplementation regime. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be that complicated. The two most important supplements that can maximize muscle definition are sodium and some sort of diuretic.
Continue to salt your food as you normally would during the first few days of your plan. This will cause your body to retain enough water to stay hydrated even though you’re trying to actively “flush” it at the same time. By giving your body an easy way to do this, it won’t automatically kick into a sort of “panic mode” to retain water, which could throw your overall preparation plan out of whack. However, cut the salt the last day so as to help eliminate as much subcutaneous water as you can.
A diuretic will help you shed even more water during this process. There are several different types you could take, but the more extreme options can also be risky to your health. A good cross between effectiveness and safety would be an herbal blend that could contain some of the following:
- horsetail extract
- dandelion root
- uva ursi leaf extract
Get Your Pump On
The last part of the “how to get shredded” puzzle is your workout. Spend your first few days doing high volume, pumping style workouts to work with your other efforts to deplete glycogen from your system. Dedicate your last workout to the body parts you’ll want to show off the most – usually the chest, shoulders, biceps, and/or triceps. Be sure to take your last day or two prior to your event off from training completely, then do a last-minute “pump” workout immediately before your event.
An example setup could look like:
5 Days Out – Legs:
- leg presses – 4-5 x 12-15
- split squats – 4-5 x 10-12
- leg extensions + leg curls superset – 4-5 x 15-20
- calves raises – 4-5 x 15-20
4 Days Out – Shoulders & Back:
- overhead presses – 4-5 x 12-15
- pulldowns – 4-5 x 12-15
- lateral raises + rear delts superset – 4-5 x 15-20
- low pulley rows – 4-5 x 12-15
- shrugs – 4-5 x 12-15
3 Days Out – Chest & Arms:
- incline bench presses – 4-5 x 10-12
- flies – 4-5 x 12-15
- dips – 4-5 x max reps
- dumbbell French presses – 4-5 x 10-12
- pushdowns – 4-5 x 15-20
- barbell curls – 4-5 x 10-12
- cable curls – 4-5 x 12-15
- preacher curls – 4-5 x 12-15
2 Days Out – off
1 Day Out – off
- pushups – 5 x max (vary hand placements & feet elevation)
- lateral raises + rear delts superset – 3 x 15-20
- dumbbell curls – 3 x 15-20
- pushdowns – 3 x 15-20
While a plan for how to get shredded is slightly different than just how to get cut, it doesn’t have to be that difficult. It takes a little more planning and more precise timing, but you can really maximize your definition. Cycle your carbs and water, get your supplements right, and do a proper workout, and you’ll look the most striated you ever have.