10 Habits All Super Ripped Men: The good news is, adopting certain habits can help you become one of the ripped guys you envy. Take notes: Here are 10 habits the world’s most shredded men swear by.
1. They Find A Big Motivator
You’ve heard that in order to make a big change, motivation must come from within. And it’s true. You need to find your “why” — a real purpose and motivation for losing fat and getting in shape.
Maybe you want to be the best version of yourself for your spouse and children and getting in shape will help. Maybe you have confidence issues related to your weight. Perhaps your weight is causing sleep apnea and you’re tired and lethargic throughout the day, which is affecting your work and quality of life.
But sometimes you also need a big motivator to push you into action. Some people join a challenge with the potential to win cash, others hire a trainer to stay accountable. “Training with people is a good habit to have. I strongly believe that if you want to progress your fitness levels, having a coach or training buddy is ideal,” says Benjamin St-Amant, fitness coach and director of group fitness at LIFT Session, an online training platform.
Take-home message: Find your big motivation for wanting to get ripped.
2. They Put Nutrition First
When most people think about losing weight or getting in shape, they think about exercise. They join a gym, do twice-a-day CrossFit workouts and start jogging religiously. Unfortunately, nutrition often takes a back seat.
Ripped guys know exercise is only one part of the equation. When it comes to dropping fat, focusing on diet and nutrition should be the first priority. “[Ripped guys] will definitely work with a plan,” says St-Amant. “If you want to get ripped, you have to make sure what you’re eating is generally [on point].
St-Amant, who boasts an enviable physique, doesn’t believe in following strict diets. Instead, he recommends using a simple portion-control hack: Eat the equivalent of one open hand of veggies and one closed hand of meat for each meal. Fill the rest of your plate with a moderate amount of good carbs.
Take-home message: Yes, you should exercise. But you must put nutrition first.
3. They Don’t Avoid ‘Boring’ Cardio
Do you drive around the gym’s parking lot looking for a spot closer to the doors? Stop doing that. Studies show the NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) concept has a big impact on weight loss.
In a study published in The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that sitting up but staying stationary caused an average 6% increase in energy expenditure, whereas sitting up and fidgeting resulted in a much larger increase of 29%. Standing motionless led to an 8% increase while standing and fidgeting drove a huge 38% increase.
This is no joke. Walking isn’t always sexy, but going out of your way to get more steps and low-grade activity in adds up.Take the stairs. Walk as often as possible. Go for a bike ride. Move more. Watch what your ripped friends do. Are they active in an effortless way? Do they always walk, play sports and chase after the kids? You’ll likely find some similarities among them.
Take-home message: The lower your calorie intake, the more likely your body will down-regulate activity. You’ll need to schedule in activity to keep that calorie burn going, even when the couch and Netflix beckon.
4. They Embrace The Struggle
Ripped guys have responsibilities too: They have dogs, kids and careers. Life isn’t going to pause for you to get in shape. There’s no perfect time. Grappling with time constraints is part of being human, so understand this concept and make time to pursue your health despite your busy schedule.
14 years ago this month, I said goodbye to the excuses. I was tired of wearing those sweater-vests to cover my moobs. I was tired of slouching over. And I was sick and tired of not living up to my potential, and I knew getting in shape would put me on the right path. I went all in on the idea of what I could become instead of focusing on the current state of things.
It wasn’t easy. I remember nights sitting at my computer with my head in my hands, wondering if I was ever going to see progress. I remember nearly guillotine-chopping my neck off with a barbell after loading it with way too much weight for my own good. I remember squatting in dress pants and ripping them wide open in the back. I could’ve quit countless times. But I also remember the way I felt when I made changes — physically and mentally.
Sometimes, it takes a little effort. Other times, a lot. It also takes a touch of reckless abandon, and a willingness to go the extra mile. But ripped guys understand there is no end game or deadline. If you’re going to go for it, go all in and expect to be doing this the rest of your life. Fitness is not to be treated as an illness: “Take this exercise program for 30 days and you’re cured for life.” You need to make it a part of your life, so you better find a plan that fits into your reality and embrace the struggle — it’s worth it.
And let’s face it: The pounds didn’t pack on overnight, so you can’t expect them to fly off once you change some habits.
Take-home message: Everyone has struggles and setbacks. Embrace them and you will eventually see big results.
5. They Own Their Day
According to Chris and Eric Martinez of Dynamic Duo Training, starting your day off on the right foot is key to achieving ripped status.
“Start your day off with a morning routine or ritual and be consistent with it. This can last anywhere from 30 to120 minutes,” they wrote in an e-mail. “In the book Miracle Morning, the author uses the acronym SAVSER, which stands for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Scribing, Exercise, and Reading. We recommend starting with doing one of these in week one, then adding another one in week two, and so on. Having a morning routine will really set the tone for the day, have you feel in complete control mentally, and you will win the day.”
Take-home message: Own your day and you’ll set yourself up for success.
6. They Get Their T Right
If you’re a little older and heavier (i.e. the typical North American) you may have undiagnosed metabolic syndrome (pre-diabetes), which is associated with lower levels of testosterone.
In Natural Versus Testosterone Therapy, author Lee Myer refers to a study that examined 64 obese men: Their average testosterone stood at a measly 340ng/dl (LabCorp’s healthy reference range is 348-1197 ng/dl). The same study noted that weight was associated with increased levels of the estradiol (estrogen) hormone. So basically, being overweight has a negative impact on your hormone levels.
If your hormone levels aren’t optimal, you’re fighting an uphill battle in the fat loss department. There are a number of ways to raise your testosterone naturally. The first one is weight loss. But focusing on getting adequate sleep, optimizing vitamin D and magnesium levels and minimizing alcohol consumption can help.
7. They Find Something To Lose
There needs to be something at stake, something to lose if you don’t follow through. 14 years ago, I told myself that if I didn’t get in shape, I’d quit playing video games for a year (a big deal to me at the time) and wrote a sticky note on my computer monitor.
This same strategy is outlined in The Blackmail Diet, an obscure book by John Bear. In the book, the author describes his battle with obesity and outlines the plan he came up with to drop pounds: He signed a contract with a lawyer and put $5,000 in escrow. The contract stated that if he didn’t lose 70 pounds in a year’s time, the lawyer had to give all the money to the American Nazi Party. A year later, Bear had lost 70 pounds.
Take-home message: The harder it is to quit, the easier it is to succeed. Raise the stakes to keep going when the going gets tough.
8. They Cope With Their Emotions
According to Jason Helmes of anymanfitness.com, ripped guys need to abolish emotional eating.
“When we eat, we eat for two reasons. The first reason is physiological: We eat because we require food and nutrients for optimal performance,” he says. “[But] perhaps the bigger reason behind why we eat is a reaction based on an emotional response. We feel something — stress, anxiety, nervousness, sadness, excitement.”
According to Helmes, developing healthy tools to cope with your emotions is key. “Stoicism is the ancient art of observing [situations] around you and not letting them affect your mental and physical state,“he says. “Remaining stoic in the face of obstacles can go a long way in developing the discipline required to get ripped. Understand the challenges you are against. Seek alternative methods of dealing with emotions. Reflect and meditate. And become unemotional and unfeeling when it comes to food.”
Take-home message: Stop using food as a tool to manage your emotions, and eat simply for performance.
9. They Put In The Work
Ripped guys put in the work. Dieting until you reach low levels of body fat requires more than basic strategies such as cutting carbs after 6 p.m. and doing two full body workouts per week. To get great results, you must take massive action. In other words, pump up the volume in the gym.
“Don’t be afraid of volume. In a world full of minimalist routines and super high-intensity, ultra-short workouts, guys are afraid to be in the gym for much longer than 45 minutes,” says fat loss coach Mike Samuels. “Sometimes, though, you’ve got to suck it up and put in more time. A higher-volume routine builds muscle and strength faster and maintains it better when you’re leaning out. Plus, if you’re averse to cutting your calories down too far, you’ll have to put in some time to burn extra calories in the gym. You don’t have to be in there five hours a day, but don’t be scared of doing 90-120 minute sessions.”
St-Amant agrees that it’s crucial to be progressive with your training: “It’s important to set goals — specific short-term goals like increasing weights or reps or completing a circuit in less time,” he says. “Always try to do better.”
Take-home message: If your current body was built with minimalist training methods, it’s probably time to up your workload.
10. They Plan For Obstacles
Once you know your triggers, set out a plan to deal with them slowly but surely. Setting up scenarios will help you blow past potential obstacles.
Setbacks are a part of the journey, though. Relax, dust yourself off and get back on the horse. It’s the big picture that matters. One day of bad eating doesn’t derail your whole progress. Remember that and you’ll be less likely to quit at the first sign of trouble.