Photos in bodybuilding magazines and testosterone blogs make it look easy to get ripped muscles. Glossing over the fact that it requires hours upon hours at the gym each week, and a hyper-disciplined diet regimen. While we won’t promise a fast, easy way to get ripped arms, abs, and legs is humanly possible, there are smart rules to follow that can help you achieve your fitness goals easier and more effectively so you can spend less time in the gym and more time enjoying life.
Strategy #1: Eat More Fat+
This is NOT smart advice for someone who’s sedentary and trying to lose 100 pounds. But for someone adhering to a hardcore workout schedule, your body needs fat to stay full, make up for lost carbs, and keep hormones like testosterone functioning properly while you try to build muscle. The key here is more fat, but NOT more food overall. Stick to healthy fats that help keep your cholesterol levels in check, like avocado, olive oil, cashews, and almonds.
Strategy #2: Carbs Are Your Friend+
Completely wiping carbs out of your diet is obviously a fast way to drop pounds. But in the process you’d also have your body cannabalizing on your hard-earned muscle in lieu of the carbs it actually needs to carry out essential body functions. Not to mention you need a sensible amount of carbs to regulate blood sugar and keep you from being tired and crabby. Make sure the carbs you do eat are whole grains and unprocessed, and NOT cinnamon rolls topped with poundcake.
Strategy #3: More Weights, Less Cardio+
Hours upon hours of cardio is great if you’re building up the stamina to compete in a triathlon. But to get ripped, the quicker route is to focus on weights and even circuit training. The secret is that muscle helps you burn more calories even when you’re not working out, so when you’re lifting weights you’re not only poised for muscle growth, but ensuring your metabolism is going hard even when you’re sitting on the couch. Try 4 days of weight lifting to 1 day of cardio.
Strategy #4: Veggies, Veggies, Veggies+
What the average non-fitness guru may not know is that not all produce is created equal. While many throw fruits and vegetables all in the same bucket of being healthy food choices, it’s just not true. Fruits ARE loaded with vitamins and powerful antioxidants. But they’re also loaded with sugar. Sugar means carbs. Exchange the fruit for a hearty helping of veggies and you get the same or greater nutritional impact, with less sugar, less carbs, and less overall calories intake. Plus, your body needs all the antioxidants in veggies to fight off the free radicals released during a hard workout.
Food for thought: 1 banana has around 100 calories, while an entire bell pepper has around 25 calories.
Strategy #5: Lay Off the Booze+
You know alcohol overkill doesn’t help your dream of a six-pack. But the damage alcohol causes go beyond a beer gut. Alcohol is a diuretic that can dehydrate you and suck the energy out of your body, until your liver catches up to get it out of your system. When you drink alcohol, your body screws up your digestion and starts storing your food as fat instead of allowing you to burn it as energy. And for the kicker that no man wants to hear: Alcohol can actually lower your testosterone levels (GULP). So take it easy on the weekends and make light, lo-impact drink choices.