When people see advertisements for products that claim to help you lose weight or gain muscle in a very short amount of time, people tend to respond with skepticism — and understandably so — because many of these products don't actually work and their claims tend to be nearly laughable.
With health, as with most areas of life, the old adage of "If it seems too good to be true, it probably is" stands firm. There are no "magic pills", no "revolutionary new workouts" — essentially, there is no easy way out of pure hard work and dedication.
The Truth About Time
The truth is that building muscle takes work, and any sort of work takes time. Losing weight is no different. Unless you're opting for a surgical procedure in which the fat is sucked from your body, in order to lose weight you will need to have a consistent daily calorie deficit until you lose the pounds. It's science and mathematics. Your goals for weight loss can be calculated and quantified into an actionable plan, which you can then follow through on over time to lose your desired weight. Or not. But either way, there are no shortcuts.
However, there are ways that you can appear to have lost weight or gained some muscle in a very short period of time. This is because looking ripped is not just a result of having a decent amount of muscle and low body fat. Getting ripped is the result of a combination of factors, some of which have nothing to do with muscle or fat.
Below we outline some simple guidelines that you can follow to appear more ripped, and following them can have a huge impact on how you look in about a week. Yes, you read that right. You can look more ripped and cut in as little as a week. Read on to find out how to get ripped fast.
How to Get Ripped Fast - Strategies to Look More Cut in a Week
This should be great news to those who have been dieting and exercising hard but have not seen the kind of results they are looking for, as well as those who "forgot" to workout all winter and suddenly realized that spring break is right around the corner.
Even if your flight is in a week, you still have time to get a rockin' beach body — or, in the very least, you still have time to give your body all the right advantages, i.e. to increase the probability of looking your best when it comes time to squeeze into your swimsuit. Start by implementing these strategies.
Note: Understand that this is not a long-term plan or program. Rather, they are simply guidelines that you should implement about a week before your "event" (whatever you want to look more ripped for).
1. Regulate Your Water Intake
Water encompasses over 60% of a person's body composition and is required for the body to function regularly. Mismanaging your intake of water during crunch time can end up making you look swollen and "puffy", as over a quarter of the water you drink goes to your skin (covering your muscles), and as a result you will not look as ripped as you otherwise could.
To combat the inevitable puffiness that comes with water intake, a week before you want to look your best you should begin to regulate how much you drink.
For the first two days of the week, you should drink at least a gallon of water each day. Then, every day following the first two days, gradually reduce your total water intake until you are barely drinking any on the seventh day.
We recommend on the last day that you drink only about 500 mL, which is the daily amount of water required by the body for normal processes (such as filtering out all the toxins). Do not drop lower than this amount or maintain such a low intake of water for any extended period of time.
If you follow this schedule of water regulation, you will avoid the puffy look and you'll see a major difference in your muscle definition at the end of the week, helping you appear more ripped.
2. Manipulate Your Consumption of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are one of the body's main sources of energy. Consume too little and after a while certain body functions (such as immune system function) will suffer. Consume too much and your body will store the excess calories as fat. While each individual's body type will respond slightly differently, the strategy outlined here should benefit most people.
On the first day, make sure you include carbohydrates in every meal. With each passing day, you must gradually reduce the amount of carbohydrates consumed later in the day. (i.e. On the second day, eliminate any carbohydrates from your post-dinner snack; on the third, eliminate carbs from dinner, etc.)
As you near the end of the week, only eat carbohydrates with breakfast and before/after strenuous workouts. On your big day (the day you hit the beach or model underwear, etc.), you should have only a simple carbohydrate snack right before you're trying to look your best.
Tip: Every day except the day of your event, you should aim to limit the carbohydrates you consume to complex carbs. (So, whole grains, oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.)
Following this carb schedule in addition to regulating your water intake will have you looking more ripped by week's end.
3. Moderate Your Sodium Intake
An important element to your diet, because of its relationship with water, is sodium (salt). Consuming more sodium increases the amount of water your body retains. Because of this, it's important to taper your sodium intake over the course of the week.
At the beginning of the week, consume a normal to slightly-above normal amount of sodium (around 1800-2100 mg), and then gradually reduce your intake until on the last day you are consuming a very small amount.
(It's important to note that an extended period of sodium depletion poses significant health risks. So don't keep your sodium intake too low after the final day of the week.)
4. Increase Your Intake of Potassium
Similar to sodium, potassium is an essential nutrient in the regulation of intracellular fluid. However, unlike the tapering you do with sodium, you want to increase the amount of potassium you consume. By the end of the week you should have gradually increased your intake of potassium to around 6000 mg per day.
5. Pump Your Muscles
You may have already come to learn about this tip — i.e. about a muscle pump. It's perhaps one of the most effective strategies for immediately looking more muscular and ripped.
Right before you are about to hit the beach (or whatever you're trying to look your best for), pumping your muscles will help make them bulge more than normal. A "pump" is the tight feeling in your muscles after you work out, and it's the reason most people look the most jacked immediately following a workout. It's due to increased blood flow (vascularity) in the muscles.
You can pump your muscles any way you want, as long as it significantly increases blood flow to your muscles. Some good options are rapid push-ups, pull-ups, planks, dips, etc. You can enhance the effects further by occasionally holding a static position during the exercise (i.e. maintaining position halfway down during a push-up).
Another extremely beneficial tip: Consider taking a pre-workout supplement beforehand, which will help increase vascularity and therefore make your muscles look larger. (We highly recommend the pre-workout made by Optimum Nutrition or the pre-workout by Cellucor. Both are incredibly reputable brands with great quality products.)
This muscle pump immediately before your event will be the cherry on top of your other efforts, so to speak. It will supplement all the work you put in during the week of regulating water and nutrients, and it is almost guaranteed to make you look more ripped.
6. Get a Tan
This last guideline is optional, and it may seem silly to some. However, the truth to the matter is that having tanned skin does make a person look more ripped. Having a tan increases muscle definition by making the striations of the individual muscle groups really pop — resulting in that ripped look.
Note: It's important to keep in mind, of course, that tanning without proper UV protection can significantly increase your chance of getting various types of skin cancer. With that in mind, if you'd like to reduce this risk but still get the aesthetic benefits of having a tan, we recommend trying a sunless tanner. (We prefer the self-tanner by Fake Bake.)
There you have it! The guidelines on how to get ripped fast. While it may not be possible to lose weight or gain muscle in only a week, it is possible to make your current body look its best. If you follow the above guidelines carefully, you will look more ripped just in time for the beach.
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