Looking dry and shredded is a goal for a lot of people, but getting there is very difficult. It is only possible for men who are sub 10% body fat.
So the aim of this article will be to first help regular people in their quest for that. Once we have got you to sub 10% we will look at how to finish off your physique just in time for the event/competition of your choice.
The Journey to Sub 10% Body Fat
Let’s assume that right now you are an average lifter, you are quite low in body fat, and that you have been training for at least 12 months.
You know what you’re doing in the gym, and your nutrition is decent most of the time. But what you really want to do is train for a photo shoot (to get those instagram likes) or to compete in your first amateur competition.
You sense that if you don’t manage to hit this target now, then you never will.
The first thing that you need to do is to start measuring everything. You need to know what you currently weigh, what your chest, waist, glutes, arms, and legs measurements are (using tailors tape), and you need to take some before pictures.
You also need to start measuring your current calorie intake, and your macros.
So signing up to a calorie tracking website such as myfitnesspal.com or similar is a great place to start. If you have been training properly then you will probably be doing enough exercise as it is, so no need to add any more in. But if you haven’t then look to be lifting weights 4-5 times per week.
Now that you are looking to lose weight, rather than build muscle you can start training concurrently.
This means adding cardio to the end of your weights workout. It will burn more calories, but isn’t advisable for muscle building.
You can do either high intensity or low intensity cardio, but HIIT would probably be quicker to complete so think about that.
The diet is going to be aiming at dropping body fat, so you’ll want to keep your protein levels very high as this can prevent muscle loss (or at least prevent MOST of the muscle loss). If this is the case then you can be fairly certain that every kg of bodyweight dropped is mostly body fat.
You need to work out your current amount of lean muscle, so weigh yourself and estimate your body fat percentage. If you weigh 100kg and feel that you are currently 20% body fat, then you have 80kg of fat free mass. This means that if you want to eventually hit sub 10% body fat you’ll have to aim for 90kg.
You don’t want to lose too much weight too fast, so you should aim for around 0.5kg weight loss per week. At this rate it would take you 20 weeks to hit your 90kg target.
Once you have found out the calorie target you would need to hit to do this, then it is just a matter of following that.
Remember that once you are sub 10% you will need more time to get that dry look. So factor the extra week into your calculations.
As you lose weight, you will have to lower the intensity of your workouts slightly as your body won’t be able to recover as effectively. Also increase your sleep time if possible, as this will prevent you from feeling too hungry while dieting.
Remember to re-calculate your calories as you lose weight, check your progress constantly (but wait 3-4 weeks before worrying about making any changes) if you find that you are losing too much weight then you will need to increase calories slightly.
If you aren’t seeing any changes then you might need to be a bit more aggressive in creating a calorie deficit (or you can just walk more).
When you are finally happy with your results you can start to concentrate on getting that dry and shredded look we talked about.
Tips for getting dry and shredded
Six to seven days before competition you want to start increasing your water intake, it sounds crazy but drinking MORE water can help you to lose more water.
The day before the competition you want to cut out as much water as you can (but don’t put yourself in danger). The day of the competition your body will be as dry as possible as you won’t be retaining any water. Immediately after the competition you want to look at slowly increasing your water consumption, isotonic drinks are a good shout.
When you are cutting out water you will also need to cut carbs down to as low as 20g per day, you do this for 5 days and then the day before the competition you would carb load hitting 200g of more (remember that you are still in a low calorie state, so 200g will be a high amount).
This will massively increase glycogen, which will leave your muscles feeling fuller, and looking much bigger than usual.
Three days before your event, you should be looking to cut salt/sodium as well, this will really help make you look as shredded as possible. But be careful because after 72 hours it can actually lead to water retention. So time this right.
So there you have it, a complete guide to getting sub 10% and then getting super shredded and dry just in time for your competition.