How to Get Lean and Cut – The Definitive Guide.
I guarantee it is very easy to achieve the perfect body if you follow the advice in this article you will find out How to get Lean and Cut and get shredded insane abdominal muscles.
Let me guess, you’ve explored every workout routine, tried every diet, and purchased every fat-burning supplement you can get your hands on – and still, you do not have a six-pack…
11 Reasons why you can’t get lean and cut
The reason why you have not succeeded in getting a visible 6-pack is that the internet and fitness industry is laced with false information causing you to probably make some or all of the below mistakes:
- Not Watching Caloric Intake
- Wrong Diet
- Following FAD Diets
- Doing Cardio for Fat Loss
- Trying to “spot reduce” fat
- Not lifting enough weight
- Spending too much time in the gym
- Never changing your workout routines
- Doing the wrong exercises
- Doing too many reps and sets
- You don’t need to feel the burn
Not Watching Caloric Intake
There is a lot of bro-science when it comes to the question of how to get a six-pack. The rule is very simple; a six-pack is made in the kitchen. There I’ve said it… the absolute number #1 6-pack secret is not some crazy workout, or mysterious supplement, instead, the golden rule is you must watch your caloric intake and be in a correct deficit.
To boil it down to the core fundamentals, the human body is a survival machine. When you eat food, your body converts this fuel into chemical energy which is released into your bloodstream.
This energy is then used to power your bodily functions and movement (including workouts). At the end of the day, there will either be an excess of calories unburned, or a deficit of calories (i.e. you burned more calories than you consumed in the day).
As mentioned above, your body is a survival machine. Over hundreds of thousands of years, the human body has adapted and evolved to survive long periods without food. The solution is to store surplus chemical energy in the form of fat If there is an excess of calories.
On the other hand, if you manage to eat a deficit for the day your body will be forced to consume your fat stores to make up for the missing energy, resulting in fat loss and getting ripped!
Getting ripped is easier than it seems. You do however need to be dedicated and have a solid plan. There is only one way to get the six-pack you want, and that is with the correct diet plan.
If you are eating more calories than you burn in a typical day you will gain fat. It doesn’t matter how hard you work in the gym; you will never melt away the fat which is completely hiding those abdominal muscles.
The first thing you need to do is figure out what your realistic timescale goal is. This will be dictated by two things; your original body fat percentage, and how aggressive your calorie deficit will be.
Are you simply aiming for a beach body transformation, or to get lean and stay this way long-term? Once you know your starting point and goal, it will be easier for you to find the right diet for six-pack abs.
The best diet to get six-pack abs is a combination of two things, mainly eating healthy and secondary working out.
The diet should include foods that have a high protein content and low sugar content. It should also include foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to reduce inflammation in the body.
A diet for six-pack abs should be low in saturated fats, trans fats, and processed sugars. It should also be high in fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and protein.
Following FAD Diets
If you are asking the question “How to get lean and cut” FAD diets are not sustainable and they will never work when it comes to sculpting a six-pack and getting lean.
Fad diets are not sustainable because they do not provide the necessary amount of nutrients that the body needs to function properly. They also do not take into account the individual’s lifestyle or food preferences.
To get a bulging ripped 6 Pack you need to have muscle mass and a low body fat percentage at the same time. FAD diets starve your body, causing it to consume muscle mass and plateau and stall any potential progress.
Fad diets fail because they are too restrictive and unrealistic. People who have never tried a fad diet before will find it hard to stick to it for long periods of time, which is why most people end up giving up on these diets quickly.
With regards to Six Pack FAD diets, my advice is to ignore them and instead set up your diet properly.
Doing Cardio for Fat Loss
Cardio is not the best way to lose weight. It’s a myth that cardio is the best way to get a six-pack. Cardio burns calories, but it also burns muscle with minimal fat loss.
In order to get a six-pack, you need to burn more calories than you eat. The best way to achieve this is by doing weight training and strength training exercises in the correct set/rep ranges with the right intensity of weight.
To get a six-pack, you need to be in a calorie deficit while retaining muscle mass and not allow your body to turn catabolic. Resistance training allows all of these requirements to be fulfilled.
The other advantage to performing weight-based resistance training is when you go to sleep at night, your body will still be burning calories while repairing damaged muscle tears as a result of your workout session. The bottom line is, DON’T rely on Cardio, focus mainly on weight training.
Trying to “Spot Reduce” fat
order which is coded into your individual genes.
Every person is different. Some people lose body fat from their stomachs first, which means they can have a relatively high body fat % and still have visible abs.
For most people, especially for a man, the abdominal region is the last to part with stored fat. Therefore, you will typically need a body fat percentage of ~10% to see your six-pack.
The only way to get rid of the belly fat obscuring your sixpack is by burning away excess calories with exercise and correct dieting techniques and allowing your body to do the rest.
Not lifting enough weight
The process of creating a fantastic body can be difficult and over complicated. It requires a lot of dedication, discipline, time, and work. No matter what anyone says to you, it isn’t a walk in the park.
In all honesty, the majority of men enjoy training like wimps. They don’t want to exert too much effort. They do not want to work too hard. Naturally, their bodies don’t change much either. Every day, they are exact replicas of the day before with zero progress towards getting lean with a six-pack.
People eventually give up in desperation and frustration.
They are, in fact, caving into one of our most basic human urges. Humans naturally seek pleasure and ease in life and avoid pain and discomfort. But we’re doomed if we allow that tendency to influence our routines.
The correct workout routine for a six-pack can feel a little counter-intuitive to beginners. It’s awkward and intense. You might not always want to complete the last exercise.
You occasionally dread the upcoming set of squats. Pain in the muscles can be very annoying.
Tendons and joints can occasionally hurt.
However, if you persevere through them and make the decision that your body WILL achieve the goals you’ve set for it, you will make significant progress.
Spending too much time in the gym
The most common character in the gym is the guy who runs around like a maniac throwing weights around and still making zero progress. These people can be referred to as ego lifters who generally toss around weights with recklessness. In addition to feeling sorry for people, I also shudder in fear of potential injury.
It could appear to be yet another stunning generalization, yet it is accurate all the same.
The majority of guys have no idea how to perform exercises correctly. This ignorance hinders their progress, puts undue strain on their ligaments, tendons, and joints, and puts them at risk for crippling injuries (particularly as the weights increase on the shoulders, elbows, knees, and lower back).
Some of these guys simply don’t know any better, and some just care more about looking the part than they do about actually improving their situation.
You’re different, and you won’t let yourself get caught in this trap. Your workouts will be performed with precise form, and while the ego lifters may be carrying heavier weights, he’ll be asking inwardly why you appear to be so much better than him.
Never changing your workout routines
Although the concept of “muscle confusion” is absurd and baseless, it is true that after performing the same workouts for a while, your body will adapt and not be prepared to grow. So, switching up your regimen every few months is a smart idea, and will shock your muscles – resulting in fat loss.
Every eight to ten weeks, I prefer to switch up one or two exercises from each session. Then, after performing that new program for the following 8 to 10 weeks, I’ll take a week off, switch up the workouts, and continue the process.
But the most important thing to change is the weight! If you are not gradually lifting heavier weights your muscles clearly are not growing. This is difficult to achieve in a six-pack calorie deficit, but with persistence, a full body composition transformation is very possible.
Doing the wrong exercises
Most people new to gyms are not aware, the majority of the equipment and machines that your gym has to offer are absolutely useless and unessential to achieve a six-pack.
This is due to the fact that they just do not stimulate the muscles in the same way as free weights do. By the way, “free weights” are items that can be moved in three dimensions, such as dumbbells, barbells, adjustable pulleys, and lat pull-down apparatuses.
Gym machines force your body to only move in one direction, this makes it much easier to move heavier weights. But you are wasting your time when you could be burning more fat in the same amount of time by using free weights instead.
Free weights force the body to freely move weight against the force of gravity without any assistance. This has an extremely effective impact. No one ever developed a huge six-pack by simply hammering away on the ab curler and using ab rollers; instead, they employed free weights, crunches, sit-ups, and the plank.
Doing too many reps and sets
I do not know why, but I have heard this myth too many times over the years. Some people believe that to get lean with a nice six-pack you need to use lower weights and higher reps. This is completely wrong!
Doing high reps and lower weights will not achieve anything you desire. It is simply consuming your muscle glycogen stores, resulting in a build-up of lactic acid (AKA the burning sensation).
Your body does not recognize what exercises or reps you are performing. It simply responds to micro-tears caused by lifting heavy weights. This is called hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Instead, you should lift very heavy weights with low reps and medium sets. For example, when training your chest, you should perform 3 to 4 core “free weight” exercises such as a flat barbell. Inclined dumbbell press, flat flies using dumbbells, and close-grip bench press.
You should perform approximately 3 to 4 sets on each exercise, and train between 4 and 6 reps only! This means when you get to 4 reps you’re really beginning to struggle.
Therefore, it’s crucial that the weight is high enough to cause this level of fatigue.
The only way to change between a bulk and cut is not via changing your workout routine, it is achieved by simply adjusting the number of calories you consume. If you over-consume you’ll put on muscle and potentially fat. If you under-consume you will burn fat, lose weight and begin to get some abs if you stick with it.
You don’t need to feel the burn
Ever heard the term, “No Pain, No Gain” or seen guys in the gym shouting for their training partner to push out another 3 or 4 reps to “Make it burn”? This is probably the worst advice ever to circulate in the fitness industry and is far from the truth.
As you repeatedly tense your muscles, lactic acid accumulates in the muscle, which is what causes the burning sensation you experience.
Although lactic acid does initiate the “anabolic cascade,” a mix of hormones that promotes development, studies have shown that when lactic acid levels are excessive, they actually inhibit growth and lead to tissue breakdown.
Your muscles only have a certain level of energy per training session, and you must use this muscle energy to get the most out of your workout. Doing drop sets, and feeling the burn you are wasting this energy on low-volume movements, which will not achieve optimum muscle growth and fat loss.
To get a six-pack and be very lean, you need to simultaneously be in a calorie deficit and perform muscle overload, NOT the burn. Muscle overload is essentially using your muscles to lift very heavy weights almost to failure, which results in growth and fat loss.
The 4 Golden Rules on How to Get Lean and Cut
To achieve a six-pack, you need to be muscular and lean with a low body fat percentage. Ignore all of the myths and false information discussed above and only focus on the 4 golden rules. Anybody can achieve these results if you follow the Golden Rules:
- Consume fewer calories than you burn = Fat Loss
- Consume smaller portions of food frequently throughout the day
- Follow the six-pack weight training program
- Use cardio to assist your goals
Consume fewer calories than you burn = Fat Loss
You must consume fewer calories each day than you burn off in order to lose weight. Although it seems easy, many individuals have trouble understanding this idea.
Finding out how many calories your body requires each day is the first step. The simplest method is to use a calorie counter. There are various internet tools that can calculate how many calories your body requires each day to maintain your weight while taking into consideration factors like age, sex, height, and weight.
Once you have the number of calories per day required to maintain your weight, take 500 off of it to get the number of calories required to lose one pound each week.
Similar to how building muscle is a science of numbers, fat reduction is also. Whatever anybody tells you, becoming ripped is just a question of managing a straightforward mathematical equation: energy consumed minus energy exerted.
As you might anticipate, several investigations have established this beyond a reasonable question, including the conclusive research carried out by hundreds of study groups over the years.
Unless your metabolism is really rapid, in which case you may not store fat but won’t lose it either, your body accumulates fat when you provide it with more calories (potential energy) than it can burn off.
Your body must utilize its own energy reserves (body fat) to make up for any calorie shortage it experiences during the day, resulting in the ultimate objective of fat reduction. You will lose weight regardless of what you eat if your calorie intake is within reason.
This is crazy! Believe it or not, you can actually eat ANYTHING, so long as the total daily calories you consume are within your calculated number – you will still lose weight!
Before you get carried away, I said “lose weight” not “lose fat”. The weight you lose will be a combination of muscle, body fat, and excess water. If we want to look shredded and lean with a six-pack we need to ensure we are not losing muscle but primarily fat.
The only way to instruct your body where you want to lose weight from is through a properly constructed workout program. Specifically, free weights, in the high volume, low rep ranges. This is almost a powerlifting regime and stimulates the body to burn fat & maintain muscle mass as long as you feed and nourish your body with an external source of protein.
It is worth mentioning, that if you simply cut your calories too low too early in your diet. Your body will respond by going into “survival mode”.
This is the worst-case scenario and your progress will completely plateau. When you go into starvation mode, your hormones all plummet – resulting in fatigue, slower metabolism, low moods, fat gain, and muscle loss to make up for the lack of feeding.
To avoid this, you need to eat approximately 500 calories less than you need to maintain your current weight.
Consume smaller portions of food frequently throughout the day
The traditional three meals a day with snacks in between is not the best way to eat. A better way to lose weight and keep it off is to eat 5-6 small meals a day. The human body has a natural tendency to store fat, so by eating more frequently, you are able to burn fat more efficiently.
A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who eat six times per day lose more weight than those who only eat three times per day.
The study showed that people who ate six small meals a day had an average daily calorie intake of 1,400 calories, while those who only ate three meals a day had an average daily calorie intake of 2,000 calories.
This clearly concludes that by eating more frequently, you consequently consume fewer calories on an average day. How can this be?
The answer is very simple if you eat 3 large portions of food in a day – you will have very large periods in between feeds where you will feel hungry with a tendency to snack on unessential calories.
If you eat multiple, smaller portions of food throughout the day – you will be eating pre-calculated meals with small periods of time between feeds. Therefore, you will feel full all the time and not need to venture into the biscuit jar for snacks.
To conclude why it’s important to eat smaller meals more frequently, I’ve found that eating 4 to 6 smaller meals per day is far easier to maintain and stick to your diet as opposed to eating 2 to 3 large meals per day.
Although 3 larger meals can work, only a small number of individuals have found it to be effective for fat reduction and muscle gain.
Follow the six-pack weight training program
Muscle growth will be minimal
If an exercise results in too few microtears in the fibers since the body assumes it won’t need to build more muscle to handle another stimulus of this low-level volume.
Muscle growth will be halted
The body won’t be able to adequately mend the muscles if an exercise results in too many micro-tears, which can hinder muscular growth. Muscle development cannot take place if an exercise result in significant microtears or the body is not properly nourished or given enough time to recuperate.
Muscle growth will be optimal Lifting must be done in a method that maximizes microtears, and you must then give your body the nutrients it needs to grow and the right amount of rest to develop.
5-Day Split – The best workout plan for how to get lean and cut
DAY 1: Back and Calves
DAY 2: Chest and Abs
DAY 3: Legs
DAY 4: Shoulders
DAY 5: Arms and Abs
DAY 1: Back (9 sets) and Calves (6 sets)
DAY 2: Chest (9 sets) and Abs (6 sets)
DAY 3: Legs (9 sets)
DAY 4: Shoulders (9 sets)
DAY 5: Arms (9 sets) and Abs (6 sets)
Reps for each set should be 4 to 6 maximum. This means if you keep hitting 6 reps, or can lift more times – the weight is too low and you need to add more weight to the exercise.
Don’t worry if you cannot commit to 5 workout sessions per week, you can still achieve amazing results with only 3 or 4 sessions per week – although the results will not be as optimum. Example below:
3-Day Split – Workout plan to get lean in only 3 workouts per week
DAY 1: Chest (9 sets) and Arms (6 sets) and Abs (6 sets)
DAY 2: Back (9 sets) and Shoulders (9 sets)
DAY 3: Legs (9 sets) and Abs (6 sets)
As above, reps for each set should be 4 to 6 maximum. This means if you keep hitting 6 reps, or can lift more times – the weight is too low and you need to add more weight to the exercise.
With regards to the best exercises to target each body part, as long as you stick to free weights (i.e. not machines in the gym) you will get amazing results.
Use cardio to assist your goals
Cardio doesn’t necessarily result in burning fat, as I’ve said several times. Instead, cardio actually burns calories and accelerates your metabolism, it can hasten fat loss, but whether you really shed fat or not depends on how many calories you consume and use each day.
Having said that, most men believe that cardio is important in order to achieve an “ultra-slim look” (10 % body fat or less), however, there is a limit to how much caloric restriction you can implement without beginning to lose strength and muscle mass.
Some people, however, don’t even need to try; they just control their caloric intake and slim down to their desired weight. It truly simply comes down to genetics and personal physiology.
Performing cardio will free up calories, meaning you can eat more and still be in a deficit. Alternatively, if you overconsume due to eating out, you can do some cardio to bring your calories for the day down and still be in an overall calorie deficit.
How to Calculate Your Calories & Macros
For the average man and woman use the below calculations to generate your daily calories and also your macro-nutrient values. For your information, your macros are the ratio of Protein, Carbohydrate & Fat in your diet.
1g of Protein = 4 Calories
1g of Carbohydrates = 4 Calories
1g of Fat = 9 Calories
To calculate your daily calories & Macros, weigh yourself in (lbs) pounds.
Eat 1.2 Grams of Protein per Pound of your Bodyweight per day.
Eat 1 Gram of Carbohydrates per Pound of your Bodyweight per day.
Eat 1 Gram of Fat per 5 Pounds of your Bodyweight per day.
An example would be as follows for a 200 Lbs male wanting to achieve a ripped physique.
Protein = (1.2 x 200) = 240g per day
Carbs = (1 x 200) = 200g per day
Fats = (200 / 5) = 40g per day
To work out the daily calories this equates to is very simple:
Protein: 240g per day | Calories = (240 x 4) = 960 calories
Carbs: 200g per day | Calories = (200 x 4) = 800 Calories
Fats: 40g per day | Calories = (40 x 9) = 360 Calories
= 960 + 800 + 360
= 2,120 Calories per day to lose 1 to 2 lbs of fat per week.
An easy way to manage your diet is by using an app on your phone to track it on a daily basis. Personally, I prefer to use “My Fitness Pal”. All you need to do is download the free app, plug in your calculated daily calories using the above method, and away you go!
The benefit of using a calorie-tracking smartphone app is that you will always know what you can or can’t eat, and any hidden calories are accounted for.
It is important that you track everything, even the cream or milk you have in your coffee because this could make up 80 to 100 calories you otherwise would not have considered.
When losing fat, every calorie counts, and if you are eating just 2 tablespoons of mayo extra per day above your daily limit – this would add up to 1,400 calories in a week! Which is 150g of fat you will put ON.