The Guide to Getting Lean and Ripped for Girls

To get cut after bulking up, you should get rid of the excess body fatTo get cut after bulking up, you should get rid of the excess body fat

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The Key to Success

If you want to improve your muscle definition and look ripped, you need to work out and eat properly. Aerobic activity and athletic training should be considered to the detail and accurately fulfilled.

Besides, during the "cutting" phase you should seriously consider the number of calories consumed. The slightest shortage of the essential nutrients can slow down the process. Also, it can negatively affect your health and body shape.

It is believed that in the “ripping” stage women should exercise and eat like men. That's not entirely true. The women’s workout plan should contain less aerobic exercise than men’s.

The female workout routine during such period should not differ greatly from the male training. However, diets for girls do differ slightly from diets for men.

This picture can help you identify visually your body fat percentage:

Nutrition Strategies

A lot of women who wish to make their muscle more sculpted use fat burners and cut their daily calorie intake. Such methods do make the body ripped, but at the same time they make the muscle slightly decrease in size. That’s because the body deprived of the needed dose of nutrients starts to feed on muscular tissue.

To maintain the muscle mass and improve muscle definition, you don’t have to consume any special supplements for fat burning, or cut your daily diet. Optimize your meal plan by adjusting carbohydrate, protein and fat consumption.

It is believed that carbohydrates are the main source of obesity. Simple carbs (in particular, sweets and pastries) really promote obesity. But complex carbohydrates (such as pasta, brown bread, and groats) are safe if not overconsumed. Nevertheless, the amount of protein consumed by a woman during the cutting phase should prevail over the number of complex and simple carbohydrates in her diet.

Calorage and Nutrient Ratios

The recommended daily protein intake for girls of average weight (50 – 55 kg) is at least 100 g. For women engaged in sports the protein needs increase due to the constant process of destruction of muscle tissue.

Fatty foods in small amounts do not do any harm. The acceptable fat intake for the girl working out to get lean is maximum 10%. Protein should make up 60% of the general calorage. Carbohydrates should make much less than protein – 25–30%.

In general, a girl trying to get cut should consume 35–40 kilocalories per kilogram of her body weight daily. The intervals between meals have to be short, the number of portions per day should be 5 or 6, and the portions should be relatively small. At every meal consume no more than 40 grams of protein. Long intervals are highly inefficient – they slow down metabolism and promote obesity.

You can eat even before bed. The main thing is to consume moderate portions and quality food. Before bedtime you should better drink a protein shake, or eat some cottage cheese. Such easily digestible food maintains the proper metabolic rate and saturates the body with useful substances.

Reduce your carbohydrate intake gradually. Within the first week of the "ripping" stage consume 40% of calories from carbohydrates per day. Next week reduce your carbohydrate dose to 35%. And only then you can start consuming the recommended amount.

After such diet it is important to return to regular food gradually. Otherwise your body and digestive tract would suffer.

Some Nutrition Tips

Nowadays more and more girls who wish to get lean fast avoid working out and prefer diets to active methods of fat burning. But during the cutting phase it is necessary to perform exercises that recruit multiple muscle groups.

The muscle mass should be maintained in this way, otherwise the body would destroy it prior to the fatty tissue taking it for a source of energy.

Let’s get back to the diet. You should start with the smooth transition from carbohydrate to protein-rich food without any strict or specific restrictions. Girls should include these foods to their menu:

Group Description
High-protein foods Such products can be eaten at any time: the boiled egg white, the boiled/ grilled/ steamed chicken breast (fat-free), the boiled squid fillet, the grilled or boiled white fish (fat-free)
Carbohydrate sources Their content in food can be figured out by means of special tables and recipe conversion calculators: oatmeal and buckwheat porridge, rye (diabetic) pasta, cucumbers, greens and cabbage – all big vegetables but root crops
Additional Pure water and ginger tea without sugar

You have to cut out sugar, therefore it is not provided in other menus, but it goes without saying – only drinks and foods without (!) sugar are allowed. Besides, you should exclude completely:

  • fat dairy products;
  • fast-digesting carbohydrates (pastries, sweets, etc.);
  • fat – no fried foods!

Control Your Weight Loss

Fast weight loss can lead to fatigue, therefore, the fat burning process should be gradualFast weight loss can lead to fatigue, therefore, the fat burning process should be gradual

The maximum rate of fat loss is 200 grams per day. It is possible to lose even a few pounds a day. However, it will be the ballast weight – water and waste products. The loss of more than 200 g of body weight per day results in certain functional disorders and health problems.

At any diet a girl should lose no more than 1.5 kilograms per week, irrespective of her body type and weight. Otherwise, the muscle can lose its shape and quality.

Aerobic activity and strength training should be well-considered and never violated. The body spends equal amount of energy for both types of training.

Women with a low body fat percentage should better minimize aerobic training. In this case the workouts should be "pumping". It means high-volume, moderate-intensity training.

Sports Nutrition

Nowadays there exists a variety of sports supplements. All of them are effective for making muscle more sculpted and for the whole body in general. The amino acids and vitamins as a part of sports nutrition stimulate the kidneys, the liver, and the digestive tract.

However, in order to take maximum advantage of all those gainers, powders, and pills, you should take them properly.

Girls who are 8–10 kg over their "perfect" weight (the proper indicator of the body weight is the residual: the body height in centimeters minus 110) mainly due to the muscle mass, do not need to consume creatine. But protein and amino acids are certainly helpful for them. Protein powder supplements and BCAA (irreplaceable amino acids) are beneficial to curvy women as well.

Protein powder should be the main supplement for the girl. Meat, fish, and eggs are good sources of protein, but a lot of energy is needed for their absorption. Protein shake and amino acids take less energy to digest.

Overtraining and improper use of sports supplements would not produce the desired results. If treated properly, sports nutrition can help you get into shape fast.

The Best Time to Take Supplements

Before and after each workout you should take 5 grams of BCAA. In an hour after training you can drink a protein shake. An hour and a half or two hours pre-exercise it would be useful to have a serving of high-protein foods with a small portion of carbohydrates. Also, 5 grams of BCAA can be taken in the morning. Before bed you can eat skim cheese, or have a serving of casein protein.

What About fat Burners?

Fat burners are not always beneficial to women. A lot of companies produce safe supplements for girls, however, according to professionals, they only help maintain the muscle tone and, to a lesser extent, split fats. So, what supplements are the most effective?

L-carnitine: promotes the movement of fat cells to the splitting zones. The considerable lack of calories is essential for the effective action. Calorie deficit activates the fat-burning process, especially during training. The standard dose of the supplement is 1–3 mg per day. It is used before interval training or cardio workouts.

Pseudoephedrine supplements with willow extract. These strong supplements have thermogenic effect. They work even at rather high calorie intake. However, they negatively influence the nervous system, causing sleep disorders, hand and foot cramps, reaction and coordination slowdown.

Caffeine and yohimbine fat burners. They act on the nervous system providing an opportunity to work out harder and longer despite dietary restriction.

It must be understood that all the supplements are effective when used in conjunction with a well-balanced diet and regular exercise. Fat-burners are not a panacea and would not help until you change your lifestyle. We strongly recommend you to consult a doctor prior to buying and taking any supplements for cutting.

First of all, you should consult doctors, coaches, experts in this area, or people who have experienced these products themselves.

Tips to Build Your Own Workout Routine

Cardio workouts and a proper diet can help you lose belly fat and get a flat stomachCardio workouts and a proper diet can help you lose belly fat and get a flat stomach

To get ripped, women should do aerobics more than athletics. At the same time, there is no need to train to failure. A lot of women who want to build lean muscle often overtrain. It can lead to uneven development of the body or excessive weight loss.

That’s because the female body naturally has more fat than pure muscle mass. Strength training in the proper mode with the corresponding rest and diet promotes muscle growth. Aerobics does not contribute to the muscular development, but supports the processes responsible for fat-splitting.

The large volume of strength training promotes fat burning, but at the same time the muscle remain the same. With aerobics the situation is exactly the opposite. Excessive aerobic loads are harmful for the body and, respectively, for muscle. They slow down anabolism and suppress the functions responsible for splitting of the fat cells. The result is chronic fatigue and obesity.

The proper workout plan for girls during the cutting phase is a set of exercises for the whole body plus aerobic activity. The number of sets for each exercise is 5–6; the number of reps is 15–20 for the lower body, and 12–15 for the upper body.

In each exercise it is important to use the weight which is heavy enough for you to perform 2 reps more. But you should train to failure only on the last set. The interval between the sets should be 1–1.5 minutes. Such method enables to involve the muscle fibers to the maximum extent and activates anabolism (the process of muscle growth).

The women trying to get rid of excess body fat will greatly benefit from modifying the complex. For this, each exercise should be performed without intervals. The complex should be done by performing the exercises one after another for one set without breaks. The number of such “circles” is 4–5 per workout. After such training there is no need in aerobics at all. It should be put off for the next day.

The “pumping” training coupled with aerobics would be enough for women to get ripped. It is essential to proceed to aerobics only after 10-minute rest from strength training.

Aerobic activity has to be moderate, but not too easy. Choose the comfortable mode on the elliptical trainer (cross-trainer, or X-trainer) so that you can exercise for 15 minutes. But train for 10 minutes. 3 sets for 10 minutes on the elliptical exercise machine after strength training – that’s all you need. 

Such workout – the full-body complex in combination with using an elliptical trainer (or treadmill, or stationary bicycle) – should be performed 3 times a week. On the rest days do not starve or walk too much. Such extremes are harmful as well as excessive aerobic loads.

Any girl can gain 15 kilograms of weight due to the quality muscle mass and at the same time maintain the perfect female body shape. It is almost impossible for a woman to become even stronger and build more muscle without using special supplements. A lot of women, irrespective of their potentials and body types, have succeeded in bodybuilding just following the guidelines mentioned above.

Contraindications to “Ripping”

It is forbidden to get ripped if you have the following problems or a tendency to get them:

  • kidney failure;
  • gastrointestinal diseases;
  • liver and pancreatic disorders;
  • diabetes mellitus.

The contraindications also include pregnancy and breast-feeding.

Conclusion

When trying to get ripped and build lean muscle, you should avoid the actions that can do irreversible harm to your health. The following tips are designed to help you avoid undesirable consequences:

  1. Throughout the entire process, keep your blood sugar levels steady without creating sharp peaks and drops. Proper diet and split meals (5–7 times a day) can serve you in this matter.
  2. The amount of the consumed clear water for the normal body functioning is equal to the body weight × 0.03. Keep in mind that when you drink cold water it requires more energy to digest it.
  3. Control your calorie intake. Note that reducing calorie intake by means of cutting of carbohydrates would result in decrease of the stored glycogen and provoke muscle burning. To maintain the adequate amount of glycogen, once a week you should increase your usual consumption of carbohydrates to 100–200 grams;
  4. The optimum cutting phase should last from 8 to 12 weeks.
  5. The workouts during this period mean intensive physical activity (large number of sets, superset workouts, strength training).
  6. Increase the daily intake of plant-based protein to 2–3 grams to prevent muscle loss.
  7. Reduce your calorie intake gradually. Sharp reduction would considerably slow down your metabolism: thus your body would conserve energy. Cut 100–200 kcal per week. In this case the body would burn fat without lowering your metabolism.
  8. Thermogenic fat-burners act on the nervous system, facilitate the production of noradrenaline, prevent the metabolic slowdown, and help the fat cells release and burn fat.
  9. At calorie reduction, glutamine stops burning the branched-chain amino acids. At the same time it boosts metabolism. Consume 5 grams of BCAA at breakfast and before bed, and also pre- and post-workout.
  10. At the stage of “ripping”, there comes the moment when you feel that your metabolism has slowed down too much. There is no reason to panic! Treat yourself with carbohydrates and fatty foods for a couple of days. It would have a positive impact on the thyroid hormones, and the process of burning subcutaneous fat would resume.
  11. Carbohydrates determine the insulin level. An increase in insulin causes the considerable growth of fat cells and slows down the fat burning process. Therefore, refrain from non-fibrous fast carbohydrates (such as white rice and bread). The consumption of slow-digesting carbohydrates (such as brown rice, oatmeal, yams or sweet potatoes), on the contrary, would help you lose fat.
  12. Periodically, every 10–12 days, have force majeure “carbohydrate” days. The amount of carbohydrates should be reduced to 50–80 g. Such abrupt change in the diet activates the process of fat burning due to decrease in glycogen.
  13. The proper pre-workout snack should consist of slow-digesting carbohydrates (such as oatmeal, whole grain bread) and fast-absorbing protein (whey protein).
  14. Eating fish and fish products every day helps activate the fat-splitting process.
  15. The priority goal of “ripping” is not only to preserve muscle while losing body fat, but also to stimulate the production of growth hormone (GH). It preserves muscle mass and intensifies the splitting of subcutaneous fat. The peak levels of growth hormone are released during the first 90 minutes of sleep. The production of growth hormone is strongly influenced by the general blood glucose (sugar) level. Low glucose promotes the peak release of these hormones, therefore, it is recommended to refrain from consuming carbohydrates a few hours before bed.
Shesternenko Alexander
Fitness trainer, group instructor, dietitian
  • Counsels and educates on proper nutrition principles, body weight correction, and adjustment of individual diets and diets during pregnancy;
  • Develops meal plans that meet nutrition goals and dietary needs for obese and underweight people;
  • Specializes in modern functional testing techniques in sports, athletic recovery, sports supplementation, pharmacological support, and actual women's problems in sports;
  • On the website, provides analysis of different dietary schemes, reviews modern training techniques and effective exercises.

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