You've been working out hard and you're strong and fit, but now you want to take it one step further and really define those muscles. You do not need to starve yourself to get ripped, but you do need to pay careful attention to what and how much you eat. An extreme get ripped diet is about balancing your calories, carbs and protein to maintain muscle and lose fat.
Get Enough Calories
To get ripped, you want to lose the fat but retain the muscle, so that means losing weight at a pace of about 1 pound a week, according to a 2014 review article published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Your daily calorie needs to lose weight slowly depend on your current intake and activity level. In general, decreasing your daily intake by 500 calories should produce a 1-pound weekly fat loss. If you're not losing weight or losing weight too quickly, you may need to add or subtract 100 to 200 calories a day.
Balancing Carbs, Protein and Fat
An extreme get ripped diet is high in protein and low in fat with moderate amounts of carbs. On a low-calorie diet, you must eat enough protein to preserve lean muscle mass, according to the authors of the JISSN article. You need 2.3 grams to 3.1 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 183 grams to 247 grams of protein for a 175-pound person. Fat is restricted to 15 percent to 30 percent of calories, with the rest of your intake coming from carbs. For example, if you need 1,800 calories a day, your calorie distribution may be 45 percent of calories from protein, 20 percent from fat and 35 percent from carbs.
Your plan should include three to six meals a day, with a high-protein meal consumed before strength training to maximize muscle growth, according to the JISSN article. When restricting calories, make the most nutritious food choices to ensure you're meeting vitamin and mineral needs. A healthy, get ripped diet should include lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, egg whites and tofu; fruits and vegetables; whole grains; and low-fat dairy.
Sample Meal Plan
Make protein the center of each meal to ensure adequate intake to retain muscle and lose fat. A healthy breakfast might include a six-egg-white omelet filled with 1/2 cup of spinach cooked in 1 teaspoon of oil and served with a container of nonfat yogurt. For lunch, 6 ounces of grilled tuna on top of 3 cups of mixed greens with balsamic vinegar and 2 teaspoons of olive oil with a small apple and 1 cup of brown rice makes a good option. A high-protein pre-workout meal might include 6 ounces of chicken breast with 1 cup of cherry tomatoes, peppers and mushrooms served kebab style and 1 cup of nonfat milk. Finish the day with a healthy dinner such as 6 ounces of roasted turkey breast with 2 cups of broccoli sauteed in 1 teaspoon of oil with 1 cup of a baked sweet potato. This meal contains 1,780 calories and 196 grams of protein.
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition: Evidence-Based Recommendations for Natural Bodybuilding Contest Preparation: Nutrition and Supplementation
- FamilyDoctor.org: What It Takes to Lose Weight
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Back to Basics for Healthy Weight Loss
- The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture: The Exchange List System for Diabetic Meal Planning