Ask AbFitt: How Do I Get Ripped?

Question submitted by Bill Shefferd
Princeton NJ:
I run 10k every other day and I do an hour of BodyPump on the opposite days. I eat well around 85% of the time, sticking to foods like oatmeal, egg whites, chicken breasts, whole wheat bread with natural peanut butter, apples, oranges and almonds. I am lean & fit but NOT ripped and have very little muscle. I want to look good in my clothes and ripped when they come off!
What can I do to get ripped, really RIPPED? Naturally?

AbFitt- I've seen trouble like this before. I'm no detective, but this sounds like a case of "Skinny-Fat-itis" caused by excessive cardio and a lack of lifting! If you train religiously & eat good foods, but don't have a (ripped & muscular) body, you might need to pound the pavement less and move iron more. I know it's hard to hear, but there's no way you can maintain a lot of muscle running 10k every other day followed by an hour of BodyPump on opposite days.
Even though BodyPump classes utilize weights, BodyPump includes a significant cardiovascular component. Cardio is important for fat loss, but eventually you have to be careful that you don't do too much.
Listen: performing too much cardio can be counterproductive to your ripped goals!
With excessive cardio every day, you'll start burning muscle as opposed to losing fat, and the end result will be that skinny-fat, long-distance-runner look. It doesn't sound like this is the ripped, lean physique you want. I've seen many people train this way. Most of them get that stringy look and end up with considerable amounts of fat on their bodies.
So, what's the solution?
Less Cardio, More Iron
First, cut your cardio in half and incorporate more weight-training in your weekly routine. You should be weight-training at least 3 to 4 times per week, which will allow you to build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Weight-training is one of the most important components in getting ripped.
The extra muscle tissue you gain will burn fat. Why? Muscle tissue uses almost three times as many calories as fat, even while resting! If you add 2 to 5 pounds of muscle through weight-training, you can expect to burn up to 100 more calories per day. Muscle is the key to getting lean!This goes for the ladies as well. Don't think you can get the body you want without lifting some serious iron. News flash!!! You can't! No pill, no food, no cardio will do what one hr of some weight training will. Case closed!

Timing Is Everything

There are also different theories on when you should do cardio. For fat loss, should it be before you lift or after?

The answer lies in a study conducted at the University of Tsuken (Japan), published in Medicin & Science. The study used ten 23-year old male students. The students had to cycle for 60 minutes at 50 percent of their V02 max. They cycled before they weight-trained and after they weight-trained on two separate days.

The male subjects lost more fat doing cardio after they lifted instead of before! Researchers attributed the increased fat loss to heightened levels of adrenalin and noradrenalin after resistance training. You also have a higher GH (growth hormone) peak after you lift weights, which is another significant advantage to post-workout cardio. Growth hormone typically stimulates fat burning annd muscle recovery.


Although weight-training and the right amount of cardio is important to overall fat loss, you still have to eat the right fat-burning foods.

One of my favorite fat-burning foods that can also help you slowly build muscle is oatmeal. Oatmeal is a great fat-burner food, but watch out for heavy sugar in the single-serving packages.

Another fat-burning favorite is chicken breast. Make sure when purchasing a chicken breast that it is lean with minimal fat. I also like egg whites, which are great for dieting and losing weight. Last is asparaguss, a great fat-burning food. It has natural diuretic effects and contains a chemical called asparagine, an amino acidd that directly affects the cells and breaks down fat.

If you can incorporate all of these essentials - nutrition, resistance training and proper cardio timing - you can overcome Skinny-Fat-itis and turn yourself into a ticket stub: ripped, really ripped!

The Power Of Berries

Fit tips / supplements..

Here are two to add to your list.

GoJi berries

Why do people use goji berries?
Goji berries have been used for 6,000 years by herbalists in China, Tibet and India to:

* protect the liver
* help eyesight
* improve sexual function and fertility
* strengthen the legs
* boost immune function
* improve circulation
* promote longevity

Goji berries are rich in antioxidants, particularly carotenoids such as beta-carotene and zeaxanthin. One of zeaxanthin's key roles is to protect the retina of the eye by absorbing blue light and acting as an antioxidant. In fact, increased intake of foods containing zeathanthin may decrease the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD), the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people over the age of 65.

In recent years, goji juice has become popular as a health beverage. Companies marketing goji juice often mention the unsupported claim that a man named Li Qing Yuen consumed goji berries daily and lived to be 252 years old.

Salba seed-

Omega 3s, Fiber, Antioxidants, & Much More...

Salba is the richest whole food source of Omega 3 fatty acids and fiber found in nature. Gram for gram, Salba provides eight times more Omega 3s than salmon, four times more fiber than flax, six times more calcium than whole milk, 30 percent more antioxidants than blueberries, and much more. Salba is all-natural, has no trans-fats, very few carbohydrates, and is certified Non-GMO, Vegan, Kosher, and Gluten-Free for those who suffer from celiac disease.

So what are the key supplements to build your best body ever? How much do you need and when is the best time to take them?

Supplements are very effective for promoting muscle gains. The most critical would be:

Whey Protein- Since it is so fast-digesting it aids muscle growth around workouts.
Multivitamin- To help cover all your micronutrient bases.

Creatine- Which is fairly cheap and very effective.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids- They may help promote muscle growth.

Q: What is the proper intake of proteins per meal? Is it true that the body can absorb 30 grams per meal? Is there such a thing as too much protein? I see some people eating 80g of protein per meal.

A: You should shoot for about 30-40g of protein per meal. How much protein a body can absorb depends on the individual and what they have eaten prior to that meal.

Q: I've heard a lot about carb cycling - what is it? Why should I do it? What is an example of carb-cycling?

A: Carb cycling refers to alternating periods of low- and high-carb intake, maximizing both fat loss and muscle growth. For fat loss, your default diet would be somewhat under 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. You would cycle in a high-carb day (greater than 2g per pound) every five to seven days.

Since carb-restricted diets can lower your metabolic rate by decreasing leptin levels, the high-carb day helps to reset your leptin levels and keep your metabolic rate up.

To add size, your default diet would be 2-3g per pound. You can go lower, either to about 1g per pound on non-training days, or you can have two low-carb days after every three or four high-carb days to minimize fat gain.

Q: Do you have any tips for getting rid of that last inch around the belly? HIIT cardio and weightlifting have left me with just a little bit more to lose.

A: That last inch is the toughest. The only way to get rid of it is to burn even more calories than you consume. So to consume even fewer calories, consider dropping some extra carbs from your diet, such as at your pre-workout meal and/or lunch.

To burn more calories, consider turning up your high-intensity interval training by going for a few more intervals each time.

Q: I do cardio right after weights. Should I have my postworkout shake and carbs before cardio or after? If I wait until after cardio, will I miss my postworkout window to stimulate muscle growth?

You should wait until immediately after the cardio is over to consume your protein and fast carbs. This is especially true for the carbs, which would blunt fat burning during the cardio workout. Don't be worried about missing your post-workout window . . . as long as you prepared properly with a pre-workout protein shake.

The pre-workout protein shake provides energy during the workout and also serves as a post-workout protein source to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

Q: If I'm taking creatine, do I need to do the loading phase first? What is a typical loading phase?

A: You only need a loading phase if you want to see immediate results. A good loading phase should last five to seven days. Take 5g of creatine four or five times per day. Definitely take creatine with protein and carbs, and on workout days make one of those doses with your pre-workout shake and carbs, and another one immediately post-workout with your shake and carbs.

Q: I take 40-45g of protein and 5g of creatine in my post-workout shake. What is the best source of carbs to take at that time: a supplement powder I could combine with my shake or a food source?

A: Post-workout, it doesn't matter, as long as they are fast-digesting or high-glycemic carbs. For supplements, nothing beats Vitargo in my opinion, a powdered complex carb supplement that actually digests about twice as fast as most sugars.

Another option is simply dextrose powder. For foods, fat-free sugary candies are best. One company that stands out is Wonka. Many of their candies, such as Pixy Stix, Sweet Tarts and Bottle Caps are made with either dextrose or maltodextrin, which are both basically pure glucose and will spike insulin and drive amino acids, carbs and creatine into your muscles, and turn on muscle protein synthesis to stimulate growth.

Slow-digesting carbs, such as most fruit, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, etc., are not the best choice, as they keep insulin levels low and stead

Sonny Brown On His Road To The WBFF Calgary, Alberta – June 29th (Update)

(Follow Aussie Sonny Brown with his training diary leading up to the WBFF Calgary, Alberta June 29TH)

Good morning fellow fitness lovers!! Thought I would check in and let you know how it's all coming along. I'm off to America in 4 days which means I will start my "dialing in" process. 

The basis of the process is to bring the skin a little tighter and start to fill my muscles out a bit more. I'm on a flight for 14 hours which is going to be very interesting for the conditioning but I have some methods in place to get off the plane at 110%. I'm excited to share the next 2 weeks with you all as I shoot with the worlds best then finally step on stage at the WBFF. 

The videos seem to be going great. Lets do another one! I'm thinking analog on keeping conditioning on long flights, glycogen depletion workouts and my methods to reach America in the best shape of my life. Simply like and I'll get the process going for you guys. Happy Saturday to you. SB 

 Visit Sonny @

Get your post workout nutrition locked in.

During your workout, your body extracts glycogen (stored carbohydrates) from your muscle cells as one of its primary fuel sources for hoisting those dumbbells into the air. If you don't replace this muscle glycogen fast following your workout, your muscle cells won't be able to repair themselves at optimum levels and you may actually experience muscle loss, or at least "less than desired results" from your weight training program.

To quickly replace muscle glycogen and avoid further muscle breakdown, consume about 100 grams of high-glycemic carbs (GI rating over 70) within 1 hour after your workout.
Post-Workout Carb Selection with Glycemic Index Oatmeal, Instant, Sweetened 87
White Rice 81
White Bread 100
Banana, Ripe 90
Pineapple 94
Mashed Potatoes, White 104
Table Sugar 92
Donut 108

Throughout Your Day:

Other than immediately after your workout, you should try to avoid high-glycemic carbs as much as possible throughout your day.

By avoiding the associated "insulin rush" that comes from highly processed and sugary high GI foods, your body will draw more from your fat stores to help provide fuel rather than looking to the quickly digested carbs in your stomach.

Not only will you feel energized and alert all day long, but you'll also have ignited a long, slow fat burn that will help you finally get a peek at the washboard abs you're trying to uncover.

Before Bed:

When you sleep, your body's metabolism slows down considerably and makes it easier to store excess calories as fat. Although you should certainly avoid high GI carbs before you go to bed, you should also try to limit your consumption of "dry carbs" after 4:00 pm to avoid excess fat storage while you sleep. These would include things like pastas, breads, rice and potatoes.

Here is a short list of "approved" carb choices:

Pre-Bedtime Carb Selection

Glycemic Index Rating
Grapefruit 26
Peach 30
Apple 49
Milk, Skim 46
Yogurt, Plain 32
Custard 59
Tomato Soup 54

What you need to know to grow. Protein.....


* Egg – Grand Daddy of all foods. I like to have 1 whole egg for every 3 whites. So breakfast might include 6 egg whites and 2 whole eggs.
* Liquid Egg Whites – This is just pure egg whites. More convenient than cracking all the eggs and discarding the yolk but will cost you a little more.
* Skinless Chicken Breast or Cutlets – Lean, inexpensive, high quality protein; staple of every diet.
* Lean Ground Turkey – Lean high quality protein. Little more expensive than chicken breast.
* Top Round Steak – Lean cut of meat. Has more fat than chicken but great source of meat. Definitely something you want to have in the off-season and can be eaten while dieting in moderation.
* Filet Mignon – Tasty lean cut of meat. Expensive but worth it every once in a while.
* Buffalo – Lean red meat, very tasty but super expensive. Give it a try.
* Flounder – Inexpensive lean fish.
* Cod – Inexpensive lean fish.
* Pollock – Lean fish.
* Wild Salmon – Healthy fatty fish. I get my salmon wild because the quality is a lot better but that results in a higher cost.
* Canned Tuna – Lean inexpensive fish. If you worry about your sodium you might want to cut down on this. Make sure you get the one in water not oil.
* Turkey Bacon – Leaner than regular bacon, not something I have all the time but I am a bacon lover so adding this to my breakfast in the off-season is something I like.
* Lean Ground Beef – Make sure you get something that is at least 90% lean. This can be a great off-season source of protein.
* Cottage Cheese – Slow digesting form of protein. Great for having when you have to go a long time in-between meals and also excellent to have before bed.
* Pork Tenderloin – Inexpensive lean protein.
* Wild Sea Bass – Lean high quality protein. Expensive side.
* Wild Swordfish – Lean high quality protein. Expensive.

Protein That You Should Stay Away From:

* Skinned Chicken – The skin just adds extra fat that you don’t need.
* Breaded Chicken – The bread crumbs adds simple carbs that you don’t need.
* Deli Meat – Made with too many chemicals. Low quality of meat.
* Bacon – Too Fatty, but so tasty. I love this food but it is not the best for you.
* Farmed Fish – Have less omega-3s than wild fish, recent studies show that the farm raised fish’s fat is very unhealthy.
* Fatty Ground Beef – Any ground beef that is below 85% is too fatty for me. Yes, they make tasty burgers or meatballs but that amount of fat is just too high to have on a regular basis.
* Fatty Cuts of Red Meat – Just look at the steaks, if the outside of the steak has some fat on it but the body of the steak is all red then that is fine. All you have to do with those steaks is cut the fat off the edges. If the body of the steak is riddled with white fat you are getting a low quality highly fatty steak that might taste good but won’t be good for you.

Carbs, use these, stay away from that.

* Oatmeal – I like the slow cooked version but the quick one minute is fine. I have oatmeal with my first meal every day. It is a great slow digesting carb.

* Steel Cut Oats – Similar to oatmeal. Slow digesting carb.

* Fruit – All fruits are great but some are better than others for different reasons. Blueberries are at the top of the list for antioxidants and bananas are great for post-workout carbs. The majority of them digest faster than complex carbs so they are best used in the AM or pre and post workout.

* Vegetables – Like fruit you really can’t go wrong when you eat veggies. During the off-season all veggies are great to have but when you are looking to diet I stick with just the green ones as they have less calories and net carbs. Veggies are a great source of fiber. Try to have some in every meal.

* Sweet Potatoes/Yams – Tasty slow digesting carb. Add a little Splenda and you will be in heaven.

* Brown Rice – Staple of a slow digesting carb.

* White Rice – Faster digesting carb. Not a big fan as I think the brown rice is better overall option but white rice is good to have in the off season as it gives you the ability to bring in the carbs and calories need to grow.

* Whole Wheat Bread – I like to have Ezekiel bread as it is not processed and not made with white flour. Great slow digesting carb.

* Cream Of Wheat – Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.

* Cream of Rice – Substitute for white rice. Faster digesting carb.

Carbohydrates That You Should Stay Away From:

* Cereal – Most breakfast cereals today are loaded with sugar. Oatmeal is a better option. Add some blueberries and Splenda to it and I promise it will be as sweet as you need. On top of that you will be getting a much healthier carb source.

* Candy – Loaded with sugar.

* Chips – Loaded with simple carbs and bad fats.

* Ice Cream – Loaded with sugar.

* Soda – Diet version is fine but the regular stuff is just sugar water.

* Sugar Juice – I am not a big believer in any kind of juice even most fruit juices as they are mainly sugar water. I would rather eat the entire fruit which has all the nutrients and is better for yo

Sonny Brown On His Road To The WBFF Calgary, Alberta – June 29th

  An intimate look into Australia's rising fitness star as he prepares to take on North America and the worlds fittest physiques in the fitness industry at the WBFF Calgary, Alberta fitness show. Sonny has teamed up with ABFITT and in partnership with Sonny Brown fitness, to provide the readers of ABFITT an inside look into his personal journey with a daily diary.

Coming off  the male fitness people's choice award and placing 4th in muscle model division at the 2013 Asian Pacific. Check back daily for Sonny's updates.

Sonny Brown: June 11, 2013- Good morning guys! What a huge last week. I spent yesterday just how I would any other day. I was up at roughly 4.30 coffee in hand reading all your positive, supportive and kind comments. I was getting ready to go back to my favorite place: GYM. I slept for 3 hours and was up doing what I love in the dark by myself like any other day. TRAINING. The basis of me. Not for the glory, not to be cool but because I love lifting. Period!! Physical, mental stimulation without the worries of life. As my day went on I started to digest the competition and all it was. 

      I won the people's choice award. For me that is better than any other trophy on this planet. All I have ever wanted to do is spread the word of fitness and positivity. I guess matching that with my best conditioning/look to date puts me in a spot to help more people. To let you know that you can change anything you want in your life. 

     So again to anyone out there who voted for me who believed in me. Thank you. I don't forget this sort of stuff I'm a loyal guy I'm straight forward, I give respect we're its due. You have all put me in this place, you have all watched my journey. No magic powders, pills, or bullshit. Hard work, dedication and respect for others can take you anywhere you want! SB

Actions prove who someone is, words just prove who they want to be. Let's shred!

Eight  tips and tricks to get your cutting diet headed in the right direction. This article also includes bonus hot tips that are proven to work.

Most of you who have spent time in the gym know how to eat to maximize the muscle building process:
Meals - Eat smaller meals every 2.5 to 3 hours.
Protein - Consume at least 30 grams of protein with each m
Fats - Don’t ignore your fat intake! Make sure 20 to 30% of your daily calories come from healthy fats.
Carbs - Focus on quality carbs sources including fruits, veggies, oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and other complex carb foods.
These rules are old news. You have tried them, and they work. But now you have new goals. It’s time to shed the fat, shred your body and reveal the six pack. Here are 8 tips to help you get crazy ripped.

         *Thanks to guest model*
 NPC Bikini Competitor Lori Lee Helman. Visit her fit site below.

 Tip 1 – Move Some Weight

Forget about training light. Switching to high rep sets and a lighter weight when trying to get shredded is a recipe for disaster. Heavy weight encourages your body to maintain its existing muscle mass. On the other hand, if you stop pushing yourself when trying to shed fat, you send a signal to your body that the extra muscle mass you’ve built isn’t needed any longer.
Hot Tip! Stick with your existing muscle building workout while cutting.

Tip 2 – There Is No Magic Diet

One of the most common questions is…which diet is best for cutting? The reality is this: you need to make adjustments based on your body’s unique feedback. There is no “best diet”, but there is a best diet for you. Start with a reasonable calorie intake and protein, carb and fat profile, and make adjustments as needed to fine tune your fat loss.
Hot Tip! When the going gets tough, try carb cycling between high, medium and low carb days.

Top 3 – Slow Down On The Cardio!

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Slow the cardio. It’s a fact that few realize, but diet is far more important than cardio when it comes to getting ripped. Dial in your diet first. When you have reached a consistent rate of fat loss, slowly add in cardio. Slowly. Remember that your body is under stress from being in a caloric deficit. Adding in endless hours of cardio right out of the gate could result in the loss of hard-earned muscle mass.
Hot Tip! Break away from the treadmill and try HIIT instead – high intensity interval training.

Tip 4 – Slow Your Fat Loss Rate                  

Yes, you read that correctly. The best way to get silly shredded is to lose fat at a rate of 1.5 to 2 pounds per week. While a more rapid weight loss pace can be good if you are carrying around a substantial amount of extra fat, it’s not the best approach when trying to dial down your bodyfat levels into the single digits. Rapid fat loss can also cause you to lose muscle.
Hot Tip! Week one weight loss is always higher than normal. Wait until the 2nd or 3rd week of a cut to make changes.

Tip 5 – Abs Come From Diet

It’s ok to chill on the volume of crunches and leg raises you are doing. Overusing direct ab work won’t help you strip away belly fat. Keep your direct ab work to 1-3 sessions per week with a moderate amount of volume. This approach will help you maintain your ab size while you get cut.
Hot Tip! Weighted sit ups and cable crunches are an excellent way to add resistance to your workouts, helping you to build thicker abs.

Top 6 – Become A Cheater!

Did you know that a strict diet involves cheating? Yes, involves cheating. Prolonger periods of dieting drop your body’s leptin levels. Leptin is a hormone that helps your metabolism fire as efficiently as possible. A cheat meal or window (or even day in some cases) once a week will surprise your body, and help it to raise stagnating leptin levels. This metabolic boost will help you to burn more fat.
Hot Tip! Keep it simple by allowing yourself a one hour cheat window. This window can be moved each week to fit your social schedule.

Tip 7 – Get Real About Body Fat Levels

Most individuals underestimate their bodyfat levels – by a lot. Having an unrealistic view of your body composition can lead to frustration as your cutting diet starts to drag on for months without end. The best natural bodybuilders and fitness models in the world have a lean body mass (weight – fat pounds) of no more than 170-180 pounds. It’s unrealistic to believe you are currently 240 pounds and 18% bodyfat. The more you “get real” with yourself, the better equipped you will be for the cutting process that lies ahead.
Hot Tip! Forget bodyfat scales and online calculators. Purchase a skin fold caliper, which will provide a more accurate bodyfat reading.

Tip 8 – Drink Your Water

This seems like an obvious tip, but for many it’s not. A good percentage of athletes, even hardcore lifters, don’t drink enough water. Some studies have indicated that proper water consumption alone could boost your metabolism by as much as 30% (this study involved drinking cold water). It goes without saying that under drinking water while trying to get shredded will slow the process. Stop guessing about how much water you are drinking!
Hot Tip! Use a shaker or empty milk jug to help you monitor daily water intake. GW-