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Dropping fat vs getting ripped…

The two pictures you see here are both me in differing stages of a fat loss phase. The competition picture is me at the DFAC world natural bodybuilding finals. The other picture is me at around 3 months out from a show. This is what I would call lean Vs ripped.

The point of this article is that there is so much confusion in the fitness industry with regards best fat loss advice. You can read countless different opinions on what is best from doctors, to bodybuilders, to athletes, to trainers. You name it, almost everyone will tell you something different.

The thing I want to focus on today is the difference between the everyday fat loss goal vs getting ripped. In my opinion they are hugely different processes. This is due to the fact that when your body gets very low in fat there are significant physiological changes that happen that mean that normal fat loss processes simply don’t work. Conversely, trying to drop fat like a pro bodybuilder will not work for the average person as you’re simply not in the same position.

Firstly, you need to know who you are and what you’re trying to achieve. If you’re sub 10% body fat and you’re trying to get lower, you’re in a different league to the average 20-35% body fat population. An already lean individual looking to get ripped would want to tightly manage their input, All macros accounted for to the gram, you should be eating as much as humanly possible without gaining weight.

Carbs would be high and fats and proteins at maintenance levels. You should be looking to stack food around training and timings are essential. Fasted CV could be used and, depending on personal preference, HIIT or LISS should be incorporated to keep fat mobilized. Bcaa’s are a must have to defend against muscle loss and a detailed understanding on the glycemic effect of carb choices and fat timings are essential. Depending on how depleted you feel you may want to consider re-feeds or a weekly cheat meal to recover hormone levels.

This level of detail is talked about all the time by fitness professionals and it is where the majority of the confusion sets in. When an average person reads this stuff it literally means nothing and seems extremely complicated. I have been competing in natural bodybuilding a long time, I know many different approaches to getting very lean, they can contradict each other but can have similar effects. I’m also still learning. The truth is unless you’re that guy forget all the complicated stuff as it simply will not work for you. If however, you are interested in getting super lean, contact me for one on one guidance.

So, you’ve realised you’re the other guy. Then let’s look at the process you do need to undertake to get you into decent shape. Firstly, if you have no muscle, get some. Spend 6 months training weights and increase your muscle mass. Forget fat loss that can come later. A solid weight training regimen complimented by a slight calorie surplus (around 250 kcals over your daily needs) will increase your muscle pretty quickly. If you’re unsure follow this link to work out your calories

You’re now more muscular and a bit less fat. You’re eating regularly and no longer gaining weight. Great. Next step, cut alcohol and limit the extras you have over your daily food. See what happens. Next, try to increase your exercise over a maintenance level of weight training. If you’ve been doing 2-3 sessions a week try doing 4-5. See what happens. In your rest days try adding some CV work or choose more physical activities like a family walk at the weekend or bike riding. See what happens. This may be enough to get a load of fat down. Now try a slight reduction in total calories from all meals. Don’t miss a meal or cut any one macro nutrient, just a total reduction. Start with 250 kcals per day.

If your food is good and you stay consistent with training, this basic strategy could take you down 10-15% body fat, which is more than acceptable for most people. I don’t believe it needs to be anymore complicated. Give it a try.

If you need any help contact me via my website

Keep on liftin’

Ali ‘Fat Al’ Stewart

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