How To Get Ripped And Not Lose Muscle: 5 Tips

By | August 6, 2014

ripped male body

There are a few tips on things you can do to get ripped without losing muscle. Find out in these tips.

The key to getting ripped is burning fat to reach a very low body fat level without burning out your valuable muscles. Maintaining all your muscles while your body reaches low levels of body fat becomes much more challenging than when you initially start losing fat or when you have a lot of fat to lose. But despite the higher risk of muscle loss when you are at a lower body fat percentage, if your aim is to get a ripped body, applying the right nutrition and training principles to your program will help you reach success. Here are some tips for getting ripped without losing muscle that will help you plan a good program.

1. Don’t Make Huge Calorie Cuts To Get Ripped

Aggressive calorie deficits tend to cause muscle loss more quickly than smaller deficits. Once your body is already at a low-fat percentage it will not be in your best interest to make drastic cuts to your calorie intake. Your body’s defense mechanisms will try to hold on to fat and burn muscle when it realizes that you are lean and getting leaner. You may see this as getting ripped but your body will respond to it as starvation and will naturally respond to the situation. So slow and steady fat loss with a small deficit of around 15-20 % or 250-300 calories below your calorie maintenance level is ideal when aiming to get ripped.

2. Don’t Forget To Get Sufficient Protein

Most people already know that getting enough protein is a crucial requirement for getting lean and muscular, but it’s possible that you may forget to pay attention to protein intake when trying to get ripped. A general rule for protein intake for both fat loss and muscle building for everyone is 1 gram per pound of your body weight. The amount of the other macronutrients (fat and carbohydrate) could be manipulated in accordance with the individual’s body type and eating preferences. But for protein intake stick to the guideline that’s used in most commonly in the fitness community –  1 gram x your bodyweight.

3. Implement Calorie Cycling To Help With Fat Loss Without Muscle Loss

Another smart nutrition method that you can use to help prevent muscle loss when trying to get ripped is alternating your calorie intake called calorie cycling. This means that your total calorie intake will be lower on some days and higher on other days. The technique is aimed at having lower calorie days for losing fat and higher calorie days for feeding the muscles so that they are well maintained. You may also gain some muscle on the high-calorie days if you are lifting weights.

Additional benefits of calorie cycling include helping to prevent fat loss plateaus and making your diet easier to stick to long term, as you will have some days where you eat around your calorie maintenance level to give you diet reliefs. However, proper nutrition planning is important if you want calorie cycling to produce positive results and not mess up your diet plan to cause diminishing returns.

ripped fitness model

4. Lift Heavy Weights When Losing Fat

Lifting heavy weights while in a calorie deficit creates the right signal to make your body hold on to muscles and burn fat. Do not use a lighter weight that would be too light. You must be lifting relatively heavy weights in order to enable your body to maintain your muscles when getting ripped. And you may also gain some muscle if you incorporate calorie cycling with your nutrition while progressing with strength gains. However, maintaining muscle should be the priority at this point not necessarily building muscle.

The idea is to include compound movements such as deadlifts and squats, 2-3 days a week with a full body or upper/lower body split in your program for the right results. Keep the training volume low to moderate. Don’t go for maximum reps and sets as you’ll do for a mass building workout. This will allow you to avoid overtraining your nutrition/energy supply at this time which can lead to negative consequences. I recommend downloading “5 Principles of Radical Fat Loss” to help you create a good weight training program for getting ripped without losing muscle. The report is free and you’ll get instant access.

5. Use A Cardio Method That Would Not Burn Muscle(If you must do cardio)

All cardio workouts don’t have equal effects on the body. You’ll get different results from cardio training depending on the way you perform it. Highly frequent or long durations of “moderate intensity steady state cardio” such as slow pace running for 2 hours will lose a lot of weight, but your muscles would be lost in the process. For the best cardio to burn fat, get ripped and preserve muscle, you could choose very slow cardio like walking or High Intensity Interval Training with sprint intervals.

ripped male model pose

The best high-intensity exercise is sprinting because it burns a whole lot more calories in a given period than walking. It’s proven that sprinting burns fat without muscle because most sprint athletes are lean and muscular, some of them very ripped. And it’s also proven that long duration moderately paced cardio burns muscle because most marathon runners are very skinny and lack muscle mass. Sprints are very high intensity so you don’t need to do it frequently or for long durations to get great benefits.

Here’s a sample HIIT workout you can do on a cardio machine such as an exercise bike or any area outdoors that allows you to sprint.

  • warmup 3-5 minutes
  • sprint 30 seconds
  • jog or walk 60 seconds
  • repeat for 15-20 minutes
  • cool down 3-5 minutes
  • do this workout 2 days a week

You can manipulate the variables in this workout such as the interval time to suit your fitness level. For example, 15 seconds sprints and 90 minutes walk/jog to reduce the intensity. If you are not able to do high-intensity cardio for whatever reason, try walking at around 65% your heart rate for 30 minutes, at least 3 days a week for your cardio workout for getting ripped without losing muscle.

I hope this article has helped you to learn some key points on how to get a ripped body while maintaining muscle.

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