I am writing this article not to give you a few workouts or a diet plan to get you in the shape that you (think that you) want to be in, but to tell you that in order to get ripped, you need to understand that there are no shorcuts, that it takes a combination of patience and dedication over a long period of time, and that it often involves a lifestyle change. Being in excellent physical shape means not only having proper diet and exercise, but also embracing and enjoying the activities that go along with it. Instead of just wanting to have a particular body type, you need to enjoy the process of achieving a particular body type. It is the journey, and not the destination, because even when you get to that level of fitness that you want to be at, you will never actually be satisfied. There is always room for improvement, new techniques to learn, and more, more, more to do! So, back to your original question: how do I get ripped?
The first step is to make sure that are doing getting in shape for the right reasons. Your reasons should be things that you feel comfortable explaining to anybody, including your mother or father. Chances are that if you say something along the lines of, “I want to get ripped so I can fuck bitches”, then this is not going to work for you. One of the major reasons that I stay in the physical shape that I am in now is because I ENJOY doing all of the activities that I do, and I want to be able to continue to do them for as long as possible. While I really (really, really) enjoy the aesthetics that come with this lifestyle, they are largely a by product of my ultimate goals in life: to be happy and live for a while, because life is good, right?
Second, you have to start changing the way you approach fitness. It needs to be something that you LOVE doing, something that you enjoy talking about, and something that you look forward to doing. It should not be something that you dread doing when you think about it. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Better yet, find multiple forms of exercise that you enjoy, and do all of them. The more you do, the more your body is prepared for whatever life tends to throw at you. While living in the 21st century doesn’t exactly allow for the most unpredictable situations (for example, you probably will not have to fight off a bear on the way home from work), ultimately having good physical fitness is the ability to deal with situations where you need to use your physical abilities to survive, and the way your body looks generally reflects these abilities.
Next is diet. Everyone who knows anything about fitness will tell that you that diet is actually more important than the exercise that you do if you are seeking to optimize your level of physical fitness. That means eating your vegetables. It means skipping fast food. I could list a buzzfeed article-esque list of diet rules, but instead I am going to tell you that the two main things that you need to do are to to think about food in terms of what your body needs and to actually enjoy eating healthily. Consider that your body is a machine and that it needs proper fuel to function at full capacity. Consider how you feel after eating a value meal at McDonalds when compared to a plate of broccoli. Healthy food is healthy because it makes you feel good! Yes, the cookie tastes amazing as you are eating it. But how about afterwards? Do you feel like moving around? Do you feel like you are ready to work out? There is nothing wrong with having cheat days, but your general approach to food needs to see food as fuel for your body.
Building off of that, in order to reach the state of “ripped” you need to think long-term instead of short-term. You need to make a commitment to yourself (and maybe even to your friends and family, if you need some extrinsic motivation) that you are going to put in the effort to start changing the way you think about diet and fitness, and that you will not give up after a month or even three months if you haven’t reached the level that you had hoped to reach. It takes a months and sometimes years, but you only have ONE body, so you might as well keep trying! Eventually you will get to the point that all of the things that make you healthy, that make you look the way you want to, are the things that make you happy. The concept of living in the moment will apply to healthy dieting and regular exercise because you will actually like it. (I know, crazy, right?) Initially, living in the moment isn’t a great approach to thinking about diet or exercise, because it takes some time to realize that healthier eating habits and regular exercise contribute to overall happiness, but after you get accustomed to it, you can begin to constantly live in the moment because you actually realize and enjoy the benefits of eating your vegetables (just like your mom told you to do) and doing yoga for physical fitness.
To sum up, being “ripped” is more a state of mind than the combination of a few good workouts and a healthy diet. It is approaching your daily activities with the intent of making yourself as healthy as possible so that you can realize the ultimate goals of happiness and a fulfilling life. Thinking “ripped” will ultimately guide you to the ripped physique that you are looking for.
Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses along the way. The journey is much more important than the destination, because even when you get to the level of “ripped” that you envisioned for yourself, you will never truly be satisfied because there is always more to do. That being said, it will be really nice to compare your new self to the you from six months ago and realize just how far you have come. Always appreciate what you have accomplished, and use it as motivation to keep striving towards new goals. Your happiness with fitness will only grow as you reach new levels and encounter new challenges.