4 tips to help you get ripped, get shredded, and swole

Get shredded

No more screwing around – get ripped, get swole, get shredded – guaranteed.

With the amount of information floating around the internet on “getting shredded” or “getting ripped”, it’s nearly impossible to narrow down the information that actually will help you. Plus, it’s just as difficult to figure out who actually knows what they’re talking about since, apparently, anyone with a YouTube channel and an HD camera is.

Let’s get down to brass tacks, the video below shows Body Spartan Brand Ambassador, John Foster, and Founder, Gabe Tuft, striated and pumped beyond what the normal human being thinks is capable. If you want a physique like either one of these guys (and you know you do), then listen up because Gabe Tuft is about to drop a major bomb of insider bodybuilding advice on how to get shredded.

Get shredded tip #1: Eat…a lot…all the time

You can spend all your time in the gym and work harder than anyone else, do every workout from every pro but you aren’t going to grow if you don’t feed your body consistent nutrition. Most people say they “eat healthy” but if you want to build solid, lean muscle and grow, wheat grass and alfalfa shakes and a side of tofu ain’t gonna cut it – and neither is fast food, soda, and crap snacks.

Eat to grow

Protein, carbs, and green vegetables -eat them, and eat them frequently. We can’t tell you the exact amount to eat since everyone’s body is different. However, we can tell you that eating 5 or 6 times a day with real food (not shakes), will point you in the right direction. If you want to go beyond the norm though, you have to eat more frequently than that. Personally, I’m downing 9-10 meals a day right now and eating every hour and half. Each meal has 50 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates in it. I try to get green vegetables in every other meal, simply because I care about my health AND it makes you poop. Seriously, there’s no other way to put it. Slamming down 500 grams of protein and 500 grams of carbs a day – not counting shakes and snacks (more like 600 and 600 if we did) – means moving that food through your body. You don’t want to have that stuff hanging around in your gut, so eat your vegetables [insert poop emoji here].

Now a ton of you reading this are going to say, “Ah no way, that’s just too much no one needs that” or, “At that point you’re just protein wasting”. Well, speaking of poop, that’s what both those statements are. If you want to look above and beyond what you normal, everyday, average people look like, you need to take extraordinary measures. This includes eating more than 5 or 6 times a day and turning your body into a machine that delivers nutrients at an amazingly fast rate to your muscle cells. Also, keep in mind that this change won’t happen overnight. You can’t expect to go from eating 4, 5, or even 6 times a day to 10 times a day in 24 hours. It takes weeks to ramp up to this. You have to slowly add in a meal every couple of weeks in conjunction with the other 3 tips we have included here.

Shakes don’t count

Shakes don’t count as meals. Plain and simple. I’ll be blatantly honest and say that the majority of what I’ve learned over my 23 years in bodybuilding has been experimenting with my icons’ programs and advice. I’ve tried it all and done just about every program out there. What I’ve found to be a consistent factor is that the pros and the freaks of nature eat real food. Sure they drink shakes but they don’t count that as one of their meals – and here’s why.

Rich Piana, bodybuilding icon, mentioned something that caused the proverbial light bulb to not only turn on in my head, but explode. He said that it wasn’t until Joe Weider stuck Arnold’s face on a bottle of whey protein that the supplement became a staple of every aspiring fitness enthusiast. Why? It’s because of awesome marketing, not because the supplement worked. Let’s face it, whey protein is a supplement that isn’t regulated by the FDA. No one knows exactly what’s in a bottle of whey protein or if the company producing it puts EXACTLY what they say is in the ingredients in the bottle. Call me a conspiracy theorist but since I’ve ditched the protein powder, I’ve gained an incredible amount of muscle mass. Do I still use whey protein? Yes. However, it’s only after a workout when I’m out of egg whites, or if I’m on the road and don’t have as much food as I need. Better to take a chance than not eat at all.

So yes, some of you will say this is ridiculous, but the proof is in the video on this page and the other pictures.

Get shredded for fitness

Get shredded tip #2: Get your Z’s

The simple science in what we, as bodybuilders, do is tear down our muscle fibers, expend a ton of energy and calories, and use the nutrients we ingest to repair the damage done during our workouts. To do this, our bodies need rest. One of the first things we’ll ask a new recruit that isn’t gaining muscle at the rate they had hoped is, “are you eating enough AND are you sleeping enough?”

5-6 hours a night of sleep ain’t gonna cut it if you’re trying to grow. Your body needs 7-8 hours of good, solid rest. On top of that, as your program progresses and you start exerting more energy for cardio and weight lifting sessions, you’re going to need the occasional nap. The haters will instantly say that they have “real” jobs, commute, and don’t have the time to take naps. That’s bull. Before I got signed to the WWE, I commuted at LEAST an hour every day from San Clemente, CA to Encinitas, CA. I worked 9-10 hours minimum and still stuck to my program. On my lunch breaks I’d drive down to Moonlight Beach, park where I could see the surf, cram my lunch down my throat, and catch 20-30 minutes of sleep in the car. It can be done – you just have to quit making excuses about why you can’t and start finding reasons why you can.

Get shredded tip #3: Do cardio. The end.

I see shirts all the time that say things like, “Cardio sucks” and “I don’t do cardio”. They’re usually worn by people in the gym that don’t have the willpower to put the whole program together. They’d rather wear a shirt that says why they aren’t shredded but can still do hours of just deadlifts/squats/bench and post pics on Instagram of their FroYo with hashtags like #ItFitsMyMacros or #WhatAreMacros.

Knuckle up, grow a pair, and do your cardio. The pros do it, we do it, and so should you. Not because it’s the trendy thing to do but because there’s a damn good reason to.

Cardio turns your body into a nutrient delivering machine. All that food we talked about eating in Get Shredded Tip #1 – yeah, if you don’t do your cardio you’re going to get fat. Plain and simple. You’re ingesting a massive amount of calories that includes both complex and simple carbs and even some fats. As you turn up the cardio on a daily basis, you will rev up your metabolism to not only burn off the excess calories that you’re body doesn’t use but also to increase nutrient delivery.

how to get shredded


More cardio = more nutrient delivery

When you’re eating more than 5 or 6 times a day, you need to be able to effectively shuttle nutrients to the muscle cells you’re delivering. Specifically, you want protein and glycogen in there. Protein is the building block for lean muscle and glycogen (coming from the carbs) will keep you strong and loaded with energy. It will also keep your muscles looking full.

Think about this, if you’re metabolism was a car and you stuck a bunch of additives in the gas tank, you should see some serious performance increases. If you’re not up to operating temperature though, or if you’re just cruising along at 35 mph on a side street, all those additives are just going to waste. Now, if you jump on the freeway when the car is warmed up and get up to a consistent 70-80mph like we all drive, the octane you added to your tank is going to be blown through the fuel injectors and into the cylinders at a much faster rate. You’re going to get better gas mileage, have a cleaner burning engine, and when you put your foot down that car is gonna move. Take that analogy and apply it to doing your cardio.

How much cardio?

Start with 15 minutes of low intensity cardio. If you’re trying to bulk up and stay lean, we don’t want to burn muscle, just fat. Keep the heart rate around 140 (depending on your age, of course) and jump on a bike or fast walk on a treadmill WITHOUT holding onto the handles.

Kick up the cardio every week by 5 minutes until you reach a solid hour or more of steady state cardio. At 5 minutes a week, that will take you 9 weeks. If you’re committed to a 12-15 week program like you should be, then you’ll be right on track.

Do your cardio first thing in the morning when you wake up. If you want to eat a meal, go for it. However, we’re fans of fasted cardio for the best results. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of BCAA’s to with you to keep from going catabolic and muscle wasting.

Get Shredded Tip #4: Chase the pump and mix it up

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Bodybuilding is not about lifting heavy weight, it’s about forcing as much blood into the muscle cells as possible and getting a massive pump. In the video below, I discuss why you need to check your ego at the door and drop the weight. If you want to power lift, go power lift. We have nothing against that and in fact, think it’s pretty frickin’ awesome and amazing. BUT – we’re doing what we do to look shredded, massive, and ripped. So drop the weight, do a ton of reps, and watch your muscles grow!

Mix up the workouts

Team Body Spartan rarely does the same workout twice. Sure, we all have our favorite exercises and rep schemes but the human body is an amazing machine that adapts quickly to the stresses it encounters. Your body will respond to the workouts by increasing the amount of muscle mass you have. That will only happen for so long though. Once it has gained enough muscle mass to ensure your body can handle the stress of your workouts, you’re going to stop growing.

In order to continue to gain muscle mass and get shredded, you HAVE to change your workouts and you HAVE to change them all the time. This means:

  • Do different exercises
  • Use different machines
  • Do your exercises in a different order or even backwards
  • Don’t always do your compound movements first
  • Change the rep scheme by adding super sets, tri-sets, and giant sets
  • Change the rep scheme by bumping up the reps and pyramiding downward
    • Try starting with 20, 30, 0r even 40 reps and then pyramiding down.

Rarely will you see one of our Team Members doing anything less than 12-15 reps. That’s because it takes THAT MUCH VOLUME to get the kind of pump you need to grow.

Train insane and get shredded

Again, some people reading this are going to say that the amount of volume we’re suggesting is just dumb or too much. Screw that. People that say that are the ones that can’t handle the volume and don’t want to step out of their comfort zone. That’s fine. Let them live in their comfort zone while you try something completely new and different, shock your body, and force muscle growth – leaving them in the dust.

You have to constantly increase the stress and strain put on your muscles to make them grow. So more than just mixing up your workouts, you need to slowly increase the volume and training time. If you’re at 45 minutes in the gym right now, let’s work on getting you to an hour, then an hour and fifteen. Eventually getting you to a solid two hour weight training session where your maximum rest period between sets is two minutes and your reps are in the 10-40 rep range per set.

You’re obviously going to be asking yourself how to turn up the intensity and make a workout two hours. Try things like:

  • Adding more sets. So instead of doing 3 to 4 sets of leg extensions, try doing 7 or 8 sets with reps starting at 30 or 40 reps and working your way down to 12 reps.
  • Make sure you squeeze and contract the target muscle at the top of every rep.
  • Slow your tempo down and be sure to use strict form. Don’t bounce of bang out reps. Each rep should be controlled and you should be searching for the pain and the pump from rep number one.
  • Start by pre-exhausting your muscle group and doing the accessory work first – and lots of it. High reps, lots of sets.

Tips to get shredded

Bring BCAA’s and a shake

Now that you’re bumping up the intensity to get shredded, you’re going to need to continue to fuel your body. Bring BCAA’s with you every workout. We usually stick 10 grams of BCAA’s in about 20 oz of water and down the entire thing throughout the workout. We bring a separate water bottle and switch back and forth depending on how your stomach is feeling or if you get that dry taste in your mouth from too many BCAA’s.

Then, immediately after you finish your workout you need to down a shake. Again, we’re trying to use as much actual food as possible here. With that in mind, I’m a huge fan of Rich Piana’s recipe for a post workout shake:

  • 10 egg whites (pasteurized)
  • 1 cup of oatmeal (equivalent of 50 grams of carbs)
  • 1 banana
  • Stick it all in a blender

If you still are a fan of whey protein then now’s the time to suck down 50 grams of it with 50 grams of simple carbs. If I’m downing a PWS with whey protein, it’s got 100 grams of carbs from Maltodextin. It’s not the same as adding oatmeal but it’s sweet, tastes good and gets glycogen into my muscle cells right away.

Final thoughts – Rome wasn’t built in a day

Remember that bodybuilding takes time. If you use these four tips, you will see results within a matter of weeks. However, don’t expect to look like me or John overnight. I’ve got 23 years of bodybuilding under my belt. That’s 23 years of solid, consistent nutrition, never missing a workout, doing cardio, and getting my rest.

You heard me talk about 12-15 week programs earlier. That’s the minimum amount of time ANYONE should dedicate to a “get shredded” program – or ANY fitness program for that matter. It doesn’t have to be our program but whatever it is, make sure you’re dedicated for those 12-15 weeks. It’s not an eternity, it’s not a lifetime, it’s 12-15 weeks and you can see the finish line.

Ready to make a change and get shredded?

If you’re motivated to make a change in your life and you want to get shredded, it all starts with a single step. Make the commitment to change your physique, and your life today with our Genesis Program!

Body Spartan Genesis, Gabe Tuft, 2nd Edition

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