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I was in the gym last week with a client when a regular came up and asked me what kind of diet and training he needed to do to get ripped for his upcoming vacation. He had 4 weeks before his vacation.

This guy was about 5’8″ and weighed about 150 lbs but had a bit of a gut.. small.. not really noticeable in a T-shirt.. but when he pulled up the shirt you could see the little belly he wanted to get rid of. His words were “get ripped”. So I inquired a bit more as to what he meant by “get ripped”. His answer was so that he would have defined abdominal muscles and separation between his biceps, triceps, and shoulders and in the muscles of his upper back and legs. He said he wanted to get really lean.. so all his muscles would be visible. He also said he was willing to do whatever kind of training and diet it would take.

The answer I gave him was that it wasn’t going to happen. Not in 4 weeks. Not even in 4 months. I had to go back to my client, but not wanting to leave him totally dismayed.. I told him to check out my full answer to his question here on my blog.

So the full answer goes something like this:

We read the magazines and see these guys in before and after pics who were chubby and then got ripped in sometimes as little as 4-6 weeks. We think.. hell if they can do it why not me? In some cases, like the guy at the gym, he didn’t even have that much bodyfat to lose to get ripped.. maybe 8-10 lbs maximum. There would be about 4 pounds locally from his abs and love handles area and the other 4 lbs from the rest of his body.

So why can’t he do it.. but the guys in the magazine can? There’s a number of reasons.. but the main reason in this guy’s case is that at his height of 5’8″ and only weighing 150 lbs.. he doesn’t carry enough lean body mass to support a fast enough metabolism to “get ripped”. Sure he could starve himself and finally once he loses about 20 lbs of body “weight” .. he would look ripped.. but.. ripped as in.. no fat… and no muscle.. just bones!

Of course this is not what he was looking for.

Guys.. if you’re 5’8″ and less than 180 lbs don’t even think about trying to get ripped. Of course there’s always exceptions, but I’d seen this guy at the gym for a while and he wasn’t one of them. Add or subtract ten pounds for every inch taller or shorter and if you’re not around these numbers then first work on building muscle. Once you’ve put on some more lean body mass..then you can think about getting ripped.

I’m 6’2″ and when I start dieting for a photo shoot or some publicity work I’ll usually be around 195 lbs and to be honest.. I have to work extra hard and use lots of special dieting techniques to get ripped because even I don’t have enough muscle to really get ripped easily.

So if you aren’t in the right range.. work on building some muscle… and then come talk to me!
If not, any old diet where you burn off more calories than you consume will help you shed a few pounds.. but you’ll likely lose as much muscle as fat!

Here’s to building slabs of beef!