How To Get Shredded

11 Simple Steps to Six Pack Abs

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: October 2, 2023

If you’re aiming for a lean and toned physique, relying on advice from fitness magazines or buying fat-burning supplements won’t cut it. To achieve single-digit body fat levels, you must follow a practical plan like experienced fitness athletes like myself.

The great news is that anyone can achieve ripped six-pack abs, regardless of their experience level. In this article, I will provide 11 actionable tips to help you burn fat, preserve lean muscle, and attain the shredded look you want.

how to get shredded

What Does It Mean to “Get Shredded”?

Getting a shredded physique requires reaching an exceptional level of leanness. For men, this means having a body fat of about 8% or less, while for women, it’s around 15% or less.

Although you might not have significant difficulties losing weight, getting shredded requires eliminating those last stubborn areas of fat in the abdomen, love handles, and lower back.

Once achieved, you will have noticeable six-pack abs and sharp striations in your obliques. Additionally, there will be minimal or no jiggle remaining in your love handles or lower back.

To give you an idea, this fat loss timelapse shows my 5-month transformation from swole to shredded. At the start, I had approximately 18% body fat. But using the methods I’m about to share, I got down to 7% body fat according to InBody and skin fold measurements.

I should also point out that I achieved this shredded physique without the use of steroids or dangerous fat-burning substances. Regardless of what many naysayers or internet trolls want you to think, getting shredded doesn’t require performance-enhancing drugs!

Getting Shredded Fact vs. Fiction

In today’s information age, it can be tough to distinguish truth from falsehoods online. Misinformation is rampant, and it’s challenging to determine what’s genuine and what’s not. So, it’s essential to establish a shared understanding of reality.

First and most importantly, there are no shortcuts to losing fat. Despite the promises of weight loss advertisers, no quick fix, life hack, or superfood can help you achieve your desired results without putting in the work.

Myths About Getting Shredded

  • There is no “simple trick”

  • No “sensational superfood”

  • There is no “magic pill”

  • And no fancy “new supplement”

I mean, if all it took was popping a pill, everyone would look like a cover model, right? The real secret is there is no secret.

Before you go scrambling for the back button, hear me out! Just because getting shredded doesn’t happen with a single magic bullet doesn’t mean it’s unattainable.

In reality, getting shredded is a matter of doing several simple things with diet, exercise, and lifestyle. When you compound those little steps repeatedly, you will get shredded.

Facts About Getting Shredded

  • You get shredded by doing several simple things consistently

Now I realize that sounds a little ambiguous, and it’s not as sexy as “one simple trick to lose 20 lbs of belly fat.” But the truth often isn’t as flashy as clickbait headlines.

So what exactly are the simple little things you need to do to get shredded? Let’s have a look.

How To Get Shredded

See more of my body transformations on Instagram (@jeremyfoxfitness).

How to Get Shredded: 11-Step Guide

If your goal is to achieve a shredded physique, it may seem overwhelming, but this step-by-step guide will provide you with all the necessary tools to get you there.

You may already be familiar with some of the items on this list, while others may introduce more advanced concepts that you haven’t heard of before.

However, I will explain everything in practical terms so that you can effortlessly incorporate it into your routine and reach your desired results.

1. Know How Many Calories You Burn

There’s an old saying that I learned during my engineering career:

“If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” – Peter Drucker

While this phrase usually applies to business, it’s also valid for energy balance. When you don’t know how much energy you burn, there’s no way you can consistently eat right to get shredded.

For example, you wouldn’t expect to get rich without knowing how much money you spend each monthSo why would you expect to get shredded without knowing how many calories you burn?!

Fortunately, figuring out how many calories you burn doesn’t have to be as complicated as balancing a budget. With fitness trackers like Fitbit, Garmin, Apple Watch, and the Oura Ring, you can get a good idea of your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE).

How To Get Shredded TDEE

But if you don’t want to spend that much on fancy gadgets, you can also calculate your energy expenditure. First, you need to know how many calories you burn at rest, also called your Base Metabolic Rate (BMR) or Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR).

Next, determine how many calories you burn through daily activities like walking around. Then, add any additional calories burned through exercise, which can be approximated based on the exercise intensity and duration.

Once you know this, it’s much easier to strike the right energy balance to burn fat and get shredded.

2. Be In a Calorie Deficit (but don’t starve yourself)

A calorie deficit is simply an energy shortage caused by eating fewer calories than you burn.

Calories In < Calories Out = Calorie Deficit

In our budget analogy, it’s the equivalent of spending more money than you make and using your savings account to pay the bills. Although that isn’t a good strategy for saving money, it’s the only way to burn body fat!

You want the calorie deficit to be noticeable but not so large that you can’t sustain it. An unsustainable calorie deficit occurs when you eat so little that your body adapts negatively.

Usually, excess calorie restriction results in loss of lean muscle, slowing of metabolism, and severe hormonal imbalances. Therefore, the best way to avoid crash diet consequences is by maintaining a slight calorie deficit where you eat less than your TDEE but more than your BMR.

Related: Calculate Your Calorie Deficit to Get Shredded

How To Get Shredded Calorie Deficit

3. Give Your Metabolism A Boost

Periodically increasing your calorie intake slightly above your expenditure can help counteract the adverse metabolic effects of a calorie deficit.

In the fitness industry, we call these refeed days. And there is evidence that refeeds increase hormones like leptin1, which stimulate your metabolism.

This “metabolic confusion” prevents your body from adapting to the calorie deficit. Typically, a refeed is one day per week. And you should target 200 to 300 calories above your energy expenditure.

Related: 5 Ways Metabolic Confusion Helps You Get Shredded

How To Get Shredded Metabolic Confusion

4. Use Carb Cycling Instead of Cutting Carbs

Carb cycling is simply alternating your daily carbohydrate intake. Usually, a “cycle” includes low, medium, and high-carb days.

Low-carb days promote fat burning, while medium-carb days give you the energy to train and recover. High-carb days generally coincide with a refeed day to boost your metabolism and refill your glycogen stores.

In addition, your body gets better at burning carbs and fat for fuel by continually alternating energy sources. Therefore, carb cycling promotes metabolic flexibility, making you an ultra-efficient machine no matter what you put in your tank.

Related: Simple Carb Cycling Calculator

How To Get Shredded Metabolic Confusion

5. Eat Plenty of Protein

High protein diets are popular among fitness athletes and for good reason. Studies show that higher protein results in more fat loss and less muscle loss compared to a lower protein diet2.

In addition, high protein meals reduce a hunger hormone called ghrelin more than meals high in carbs or fat3. So you feel fuller longer after eating, which makes it easier to stick to your diet.

Finally, eating high-protein meals can help you burn more calories through the thermic effect of food (TEF). One study found that people on a high-protein diet burned 100 more calories daily due to diet-induced thermogenesis4. That’s like free energy expenditure that adds up to fat loss.

Related: Protein Intake Calculator for Fat Loss

How To Get Shredded Protein Intake

6. Make Smart Food Choices

You may have heard the saying, “You can’t out-train a bad diet.”  In other words, you’re not gonna get shredded while scarfing junk food on a regular basis unless you’re Sam Sulek.

That should be common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t make it past this step. There’s a time and place for cheat meals or even cheat days.

But, to get peeled to the bone, you must eat clean consistently without constant cheating. Click here to get my free healthy grocery list.

how to get shredded grocery list

7. Lift Heavy Weights

People often want to use light weight and high reps to get shredded. But that’s the wrong approach because what’s the point of getting shredded if you lose all your muscle?

Instead, you need to continue training heavy so your body has a reason to hang on to that valuable muscle. Of course, you will lose some strength by being in a calorie deficit and eating fewer carbs than you would during a bulking phase.

But the idea is to keep pushing heavy weights in the gym to maintain lean mass. I recommend using a hypertrophy training program with shorter rest periods to maintain muscle size and strength while cutting.

how to get shredded workouts

8. Do Cardio Efficiently

Cardio is vital in a cutting plan because it increases calorie expenditure, accelerating fat loss. However, too much cardio can be detrimental to your goal of getting shredded.

Fortunately, you can burn more fat in less time with a combination of HIIT and LISS cardio. And fasted cardio allows you to burn more calories from fat with less effort.

Related: How Fasted Cardio Can Help You Burn Fat Faster

How to Get Shredded Cardio

9. Use Proven Fat Burning Supplements

As I stated in the introduction, no wonder pill or fancy new supplement will get you shredded. And you shouldn’t expect supplements to do the work for you!

That being said, some supplements are proven to accelerate fat loss when used with diet and exercise. Just ensure you know what you’re putting in your body and use a safe and effective dosage.

Here are my top recommendations for fat-burning supplements/ingredients:

In addition, you may also be tempted by more potent fat-burning stimulants like DMHA or ephedrine. While these drugs do work, they come with more serious risks to your health, so make sure you do your homework.

Related: How to Use the ECA Stack (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) for Fat Loss

How to Get Shredded Supplements

10. Get Enough Sleep

You might not associate sleeping with a shredded physique. But quality Z’s are among the most critical factors in reaching any fitness goal, and adequate rest will help you better results from your diet and workouts.

The reason is that your body won’t function at its highest levels if you’re sleep-deprived. And that includes vital functions like digesting nutrients and burning body fat.

The best way to optimize your results is by going to bed a little earlier to get 7-8 hours nightly. You can take actions to improve the efficiency and quality of your sleep, like turning off screens and letting your mind wind down.

11. Be Patient & Stay Motivated

Finally, the last step in how to get shredded is patience and motivation because it can take a long time to get superhero shredded. And you need to be dedicated to sustaining your diet and exercise plan.

Most people think of motivation from outside sources, like a coach making you do something or people giving you compliments, but that only gets you so far.

Instead, you must have motivation from within and a clear vision of your objective. Then, prioritize your goal to influence daily decisions.

Related: 5 Keys To Get Motivated To Workout & Win At Life

How to Get Shredded 2

How to Get Shredded FAQ

Now you know how to get shredded and execute each step of the process. But you may still have some questions about the process. So now I’ll answer some specific queries.

How long does it take to get shredded?

The time it takes to get shredded depends on how much fat you must lose and how fast you lose it. Generally, it’s best to aim to lose 0.5 to 1% of your body weight weekly to burn fat without losing muscle.

For example, if you weigh 200 lbs, that’s a maximum of 2 lbs of fat loss per week. In other words, it would take at least ten weeks to lose 20 lbs of fat.

Of course, everyone is different, so the exact duration to get shredded depends on your situation.

Related: How Long Does It Take to Get Abs? Calculate the Answer

How Long Does It Take to Get Shredded

How can I get shredded faster?

Remember, there are no shortcuts to getting shredded. And the best way to get shredded faster is by creating a more significant calorie deficit.

However, most people do this wrong by eating less – a bad idea. Because eating too few calories crashes your metabolism and burns muscle, not fat!

Instead, you should increase your activity, not simply decrease your calories. That way, you widen the gap between calories in and out, accelerating fat loss.

What should I eat for a shredded body?

Getting shredded requires eating plenty of good old-fashioned whole foods. That includes lean meats, leafy greens, colorful veggies, and healthy fats.

We’re after clean fuel for our bodies with plenty of micronutrients to nourish our health. But indulging occasionally is okay to make your diet more sustainable in the long run.

Related: How Strict Should You Be On Your Diet?

How To Get Shredded Diet

Why is getting shredded so hard?

Getting down to shredded single-digit body fat is a feat few people achieve these days. The main reason is that modern people are more sedentary while eating empty calories from junk food.

Another reason is that people are accustomed to instant gratification. So much of what used to take time is now immediately at our fingertips. And we often expect the same quick response from our bodies when dieting.

However, from an energy perspective, fat loss takes time. To illustrate, one pound of fat stores approximately 3,500 calories of energy. And that’s how many extra calories you need to burn to lose one pound of fat.

For example, let’s say you have an average deficit of around 500 calories per day. That means it would take seven days to burn one pound of body fat (3,500 cals ÷ 500 cals/day = 7 days).

Therefore, losing 20 pounds of body fat takes commitment for five months or more. So, most people lose interest, get distracted, or give up long before they get shredded.

An Easier Way to Get Shredded

In this article, I’ve laid out a step-by-step guide to getting shredded. But all the math involved in calculating calorie expenditure, calorie intake, macro percentages, and so on can get confusing.

As a result, you might fail to get shredded simply because you don’t know where to start! That’s why I created a customizable Shredding Meal Plan and Workout Routine.

This plan includes all of the concepts I covered in this article. All you do is take a few minutes to describe your body, lifestyle, and goals. Then, you get personalized calories, macros, recipes, and workouts to help you get shredded.

Personalized Shredding Meal Plan

Get a goal-specific meal plan to fit your body type and schedule.

bodybuilding meal plan
  • Personalized meals that fit your calories & macros
  • Mobile grocery list makes shopping easy
  • Built in refeed days to boost metabolism
  • Optional customized workout & cardio routines
  • Mindset & motivation to keep you on track

Now you know the “secrets” about how to get shredded. And I hope you’ll take action and apply at least a couple of these steps to your daily diet and workout routine.

Check out my other popular articles for more practical information on bodybuilding nutrition, supplements, and workouts.

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