A six-month workout program gives you plenty of time to set and reach muscle building goals and major exercise milestones. With hard work and discipline, you can make significant muscle gains while getting ripped.
A dedicated workout plan and strategic diet can get you ripped in six months. Set weekly goals, track your progress and adjust your approach to exercise and clean eating accordingly.
Set Specific Goals
Although getting ripped and building muscle is the desired outcome, specific goals will help to reach that ultimate milestone. Goals are a means of predetermining outcomes and they help set a path for consistency and motivation. Setting weekly and monthly targets will lead you in the right direction.
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Set goals related to the frequency of attendance, amount of weight lifted and repetitions for important exercises as well as for your diet and cardio benchmarks. Cardio is not a top priority for building muscle, but it will help you reduce body fat and improve your overall fitness.
The American Council on Exercise recommends setting realistic and attainable goals to stay on track. For example, setting a goal to bench press 250 pounds for five reps when you have not yet benched 200 pounds is unreasonable. If you benched 180 pounds last week, shoot for 185 pounds the following week. That is attainable, realistic and relative to your current strength level.
In six months, you may hit that 250-pound mark, but only because you gradually worked up the ladder while building strength on a realistic timeline. Use this process for setting specific weight lifting and cardio goals. Remember, consistency is the key.
6-Month Workout Plan
Walking into the gym blind makes it difficult to focus and stay on course. A strict training program, however, utilizes pre-defined workouts with the number of reps, weight goals and all of the specific exercises laid out in advance. Carry your daily training sheet and follow the instructions to complete the workout.
The exact methodology and training program will depend on your personal preferences. Getting ripped and building muscle is possible through a bodybuilding approach, a well-rounded athletic approach or a program like CrossFit. Each program is very different, but all have a similar result on the aesthetic side of things.
A bodybuilding approach typically focuses on muscle size, strength and fat loss. The athletic and CrossFit approaches are more about building explosive strength, speed and endurance. Getting ripped is a natural side effect of these training methods, and CrossFit provides daily workouts on its official website for free. Print them off and jump right into the program for the next 6 months.
Choose a methodology that feels right and find a trainer, gym or workout schedule that fits your lifestyle and fitness goals. Once you choose a program, sticking to the workouts and dedicating yourself to the six-month workout program is imperative. A beginner will start with small steps and improve gradually over time, while a conditioned and strong individual will build a program to make gains while maintaining existing mass and fitness.
Essential Dietary Requirements
The overarching dietary process is designed to feed the muscles with nutrients while burning off fat. Several diets are available, but a few simple realities will put you on course with the goal of becoming ripped. You will burn calories naturally through workouts, and managing the diet will help restore your energy while keeping your body healthy and strong.
The first general rule of an effective diet involves the elimination of processed sugars. Cut off the soda, cookies and foods that have added sugar on the ingredients list. Also, limit processed foods from your menu, like potato chips or snacks that come in bags with several years of shelf life.
Focus on fresh, wholesome foods like vegetables and fruits. Lean proteins like tuna and chicken are also excellent choices for muscle growth. Skip the deep-fried foods and cook in olive oil.
The protein and carbohydrate debate is ongoing and realistically, you can eat both. Reduce the amount of carbs during weight loss cycles. Many bodybuilders will cut out a large majority of carbohydrates to kick the body into a state of ketosis. This is a fat-burning state that can make the muscles pop and improve definition.
According to a March 2019 study in Military Medicine, working out in a state of ketosis has a fat-burning effect. The study split 29 participants into two groups, with one continuing a normal mixed diet and the other engaging in a low-carb diet without caloric restrictions implemented. The low-carbohydrate group entered ketosis and experienced significant fat loss and improvements in insulin sensitivity, while the control group experienced no changes.
While the sample group was relatively small, the use of military personnel engaged in a consistent exercise and lifestyle routine across all participants makes the findings valuable. It also shows that a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can help you get ripped.
Read More: Curious About Keto? Start with these 10 Recipes
Hydrate and Eat Frequently
Hydration is important not just for muscle growth — it also contributes to a healthy body. A state of dehydration means your body will actually store fluid and your muscles may lose aesthetic definition. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and perform at your peak.
Eating regularly is crucial for similar reasons. Your metabolism will function optimally when the body is fed and the brain has no intention of entering a calorie-storing survival state. Keep it healthy by snacking throughout the day. This may also help stabilizes your blood sugar levels and curb the cravings that lead to binge eating.
Make a point to eat frequent small meals and hydrate every single day. Consistency in the diet is paramount. Big dietary changes, however, send stress signals and also require major adjustments from the brain and body. Plan your meals, carry a water bottle throughout the day and prioritize clean eating.
Read More: 10 Snacks that Can Actually Satisfy Your Thirst
Stay Extra Motivated
Six months is a long time, and motivation is a critical factor. Losing motivation during this period will lead to missed workouts and sub-par efforts. It can also change the course of progress and hinder your ability to reach the ultimate goal of becoming ripped with newly built muscles from your six-month workout program.
While the goal-setting process is useful for building motivation, your workouts and diet are essential too. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends evaluating your priorities and tracking your results to stay on course. It also suggests working out with a friend or gym buddy to motivate each other and create a system of accountability.
Another way of maintaining motivation is through cross-training. When your regular workout routine becomes a struggle, take a day or two off and use other activities to continue training while shifting perspective.
Play football or other team sports, head out hiking or do something else fun and active. You can do this as needed or make it a weekly event to break up the weight lifting sessions with something engaging.
Sleeping Habits Matter
You are working hard, putting in time at the gym and making strides towards being strong and ripped. While hard work is essential, rest is equally important. Your muscles require time to recover and grow after workouts. A good chunk of this happens during sleep.
Make sure you get at least seven to eight hours of rest per night in a comfortable environment where you hit the deep sleep cycles. Rotate your training sessions to avoid working the same muscle groups on consecutive days. Building muscle is a process that requires both lifting and recovery.
This means that an occasional rest day is vital and should be scheduled into your six-month workout program. Many workout plans include a full day of rest each week. Even ultra-intensive workouts like CrossFit incorporate rest days. Use these breaks to the fullest and allow your body to recover before jumping into a new week of training.
Maintain Muscle Mass
Results are possible after a single month, and that means you may reach the general goal of adding muscle mass and getting ripped ahead of the six-month timeline. Even if you maintain a routine right up to the six-month mark and reach that goal, maintenance is imperative to prevent losing your hard-earned muscles.
Maintain a diet rich in protein to continue feeding the muscles and stay on a dedicated workout plan. Harvard Health states that older individuals require more protein to maintain muscle. Consume at least 1 gram of this nutrient per kilogram of body weight daily as part of your maintenance plan.
You may see big gains early in the program, but at some point, your body will peak and the gains will diminish as you reach maximum capacity. New personal records will happen in increments of mere pounds rather than five or 10 pounds on lifts, and that's ultimately a good thing.
Go High Intensity
Static lifts like curls and deadlifts are important for building raw muscle and strength, but high- intensity sessions with intervals and burnouts can help you get ripped. High-intensity workouts apply to both the cardio and strength training sides of your program.
For cardio, training sessions that involve all-out sprints, running stairs and pushing hard in short bursts with short breaks between each burst will push the limits of your cardio while burning calories rapidly. The elevated heart rate and anaerobic type of training that come with high- intensity workouts help create muscle definition.
When it comes to weight training, high-intensity sessions are also valuable. Rather than aiming for the highest possible amount of weight on the bar, choose a mid-range amount and do repetitions to the point of burnout. Burnouts push the muscles in a different way than lifting solely for maximum weight gains, and they create great muscle definition.
Also, use resistance to press the limits. For example, do a bench press with a partner spotting the bar. Push towards burnout, then have the partner place pressure on the bar to create the ultimate burnout. These workouts are extremely challenging and make the difference between being strong and being completely ripped.
Read more: The Truth Behind 5 Common Myths About HIIT
- Harvard Health: "Preserve Your Muscle Mass"
- American Council on Exercise: "SMART Goal Setting Guide"
- ACSM: "Finding Your Motivation for Exercise"
- American Council on Exercise: "9 Ways to Look Shredded for Your Best Swimsuit Body"
- Military Medicine: "Extended Ketogenic Diet and Physical Training Intervention in Military Personnel"
- CrossFit: "Workout"