Q: How do I go from slim to ripped – and should I even try?
When most people think of being “shredded” or “torn up” they envision a body that resembles a superhero in a comic book. They also think, “How does someone look and be healthy? And is that really healthy?”
Ex-pro bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman, who won the Mr. Olympia competition eight years in a row (1998-2005), mentioned in Joe Rogan’s podcast a few months ago that he was on the Olympic stage with 0.33 percent body fat. That is probably an exaggeration; It’s doubtful that anyone could still be alive at 0.33. The male body needs 2-5 percent body fat to perform some very basic survival functions. The range is higher for women.
The body cannot go to zero percent body fat because some fat that is considered essential fat is stored in the bone marrow, organs and muscles. You cannot do without this fat as it regulates body temperature, insulates your organs and tissues, absorbs vitamins and provides energy. For women, essential fat also supports reproductive functions, which is one reason they need more body fat than men.
I define “torn”
The next lower group in terms of body fat are highly conditioned competitive athletes. To go from this range (6-13 percent for men, 14-20 percent for women) to the competitive bodybuilder or fitness athlete realm, the body must go into an extremely catabolic state. This most likely includes following an extremely low-calorie diet while doing more than an hour of cardio per day. How stingy on calories? Pretty stingy. Depending on how much a person weighs, 1,500 to 1,600 calories per day for men and 1,200 to 1,400 calories for women.
The goal is to put the body in extreme calorie deficit in order to burn off the last traces of body fat. During this process, some muscle mass is inevitably lost, i.e. muscle. How can someone possibly maintain muscle mass while using fewer calories than necessary to maintain body weight?
Put simply, the process of chopping up is too extreme to be worth it for most people in most situations. Sometimes my job is to be torn to the bone. It’s probably not part of you.
Here are just a few of the negative effects of such low body fat:
- Little energy
- Lower testosterone, which leads to low sperm count
- Constant hunger for too little food
- The showers all the time; Fat helps keep the body insulated and warm
- Severe mood swings; If you don’t have enough fatty acids you can get irritable
Being shredded may look amazing, but I can tell you from personal experience that you won’t feel amazing inside. In fact, you will likely feel like trash most of the time.
Strive for a balance between fitness and health – and that healthy balance is definitely not in the shredded zone. Looking sporty and fit with a healthy body fat percentage is more of an achievable and realistic goal.
Transform your body online with Obi Obadikes Perfect Anatomy online coaching / training program.