Shredded? It’s All In The Mind


What’s The Problem With Wanting To Be Really Lean?

If I put it short and sweet, it’s simply that it’s just not maintainable over the long-term. Plus, it can ruin all the hard work and progress you have made in the gym. Not to mention, it can play havoc on your overall physical and mental health.

Ok,; it can be really tempting to want to get a physique like those fitness models we see on social media. Let’s be honest, it’s all crossed our minds at some point. I mean that is why we do weightlifting in the first place right? To trim fat, improve body composition and, gain muscle and strength. All the essential ingredients you need to achieve a great body.

The problem today is that our perceptions of what is considered normal and achievable are skewed. Really, they have been blown completely blown out of proportion. It’s pretty insane what some people think is totally achievable as a natural recreational weightlifter. If you ask me, you can blame the dark side of social media for this! (and the experts behind Photoshop) Today, we are put into constant contact with all these people with perfect physiques: solid abs, vascular, no fat, lots of muscle and well, looking like the pinnacle of ultimate health and vitality. Sadly, a picture doesn’t tell the whole story. It only shows us what we want to see. The reality however is always different. The problem is, once people start seeing something on a continuous basis, the idea starts flooding into your head that it might just actually be possible.

Shredded Is Not A Long-Term Solution

Ok, everyone has different goals. People do want to get lean. Lean is fine! Lean is healthy! But in my experience particularly amongst those newcomers to the weightlifting world, they want extremes. Going from lean to shredded is one of them. Why am I so against people having this type of goal? This is simply because being shredded will destroy you (inside and out!). It’s extreme, but it’s absolutely true. There is no hiding from this fact. I have seen people loose all their hard work and go absolutely nuts in the head because they strive for those rock solid, chiseled abs. Being shredded has negative side effects, and a lot of them. It can make it difficult for you to make any progress in the gym, your health takes a beating, your life starts revolving around rigid and unsustainable training and nutrition habits, your social life is destroyed and, how you deal with other people is turned upside down. When you look at all this, it’s really easy to see why you don’t hear about this from shredded fitness models that constantly pop up on your social media feed. I mean, who would want to hear all this right? Talk about a killer of motivation!

A Good Coach Is An Honest Coach: Shredded Should Not Be On The Menu

Being shredded is not the answer. But many fitness coaches will still go ahead and tell you that’s its possible anyways. Sadly, many newcomers to the world of fitness still fall for it. There are many coaches out there that present themselves all oiled up, smiling, with ripped abs, chiseled to the bone and will tell you: I have never felt better, you can achieve this too and feel the best that you have ever felt! Sign up now! The funny thing is, these coaches themselves are probably trying so hard not to topple over from the side effects of being that ripped. The point I am making is that, a coach is there to guide you to improvement. Aiming for extremes is just going to do the exact opposite. Any coaches that consider themselves good will always tell you that. The truth is, being shredded will get you nowhere. So don’t get sucked into whole being shredded universe.

Stop Trying To Achieve Something That’s Unachievable

I am sure you have all heard of the expression; don’t let anyone tell you, you cannot achieve something? Well, this is absolutely true and I agree with this. But, being shredded is a completely different thing. Why? Being shredded brings nothing but misery in all aspects of your life. Why would you strive for that? You wouldn’t. Yes, you might see lots of happy fitness models on the Internet, but most of that is forced. In the background, they are hungry, unhappy, tired, have no energy to workout and probably spend most of the day knocked out on the couch. Unfortunately, that is the reality of being shredded! Doesn’t sound great.

With being raised in a bodybuilding family, I have seen first hand what it takes to get shredded. Trust me, it’s not a great picture. Your whole life changes for the worse: no energy to workout (say goodbye to all size and strength gains), your mental health changes, you lose all motivation and you always want to sleep. Honestly, there is just no room for flexibility in any aspect of your life. I have seen many newcomers to the weightlifting world try so hard to achieve this shredded look and there is never a good result reached. It doesn’t matter what you do, how you approach your training or nutrition, you will always destroy yourself trying to get shredded. Blunt I know, but it’s just the hard truth. There is a good reason why your body fights tremendously hard to stop anyone getting too lean. Listen to it. There is a good reason for it! Yes, some of you might have achieved ripped status at one point, but let me guess: you regretted it after right? A common term I hear often amongst people who tried to get to ripped status: never again! It just isn’t worth it.

Keep To The Long-Term Path

As a weightlifting coach, I will never recommend anyone goes down the shredded path. Lean, fantastic! But shredded, absolutely not! Yes, I am aware not everyone has the desire to get shredded. But there are still too many people out there that believe it’s perfectly possible, natural and healthy to do so (just check the instagram craze!). The fact is, being shredded It’s just never going to allow you to optimize your size and strength gains over the long-term. Yes, you can still achieve a fantastic body, build great strength and pack on solid lean mass but, it’s just never going to happen if you have this whole: I want to be shredded idea in your head. When it comes to making the best gains possible, in a sustainable, healthy and optimal manner, you will always need to think long-term. Anything that is short-term (including being shredded) will always have a negative impact.


If you have any questions about the article or would like to discuss further some of the topics mentioned, then please feel free to leave comments down below!


3 thoughts on “Shredded? It’s All In The Mind

  1. Thanks for writing this. I have a few questions (as usual haha). What is considered “shredded”? I’m not a fitness model nor compete in that discipline (although I’ve been told I should). I am just a simple 30-something woman training to stay in shape for my season (team sport). I am not sure how I got there but I had a body fat test done and I’m at 11%. I’m not huge, and people falsely think I am strong because my muscles are very visible. They are just visible, not huge! I’ve maintained this for about 3 months now. I don’t count macros or calories and have no idea how many I should consume. Am I doomed sometime in the near future or can I maintain this (more or less) permanently? I am vegan and snack on popcorn, chocolate and chips like everyone else…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi sliceoflife11, always good to hear from you!

      Shredded basically is a combination of ultra low body fat, highly defined visible abs, almost no excessive fat and thin skin. With regards to your situation,I wouldn’t worry about it. If your naturally like that then thats not a problem for you body. It’s perfectly normal. The problem usually arises when people want to deviate from their ‘natural state’ too much (this can be unsustainable and unhealthy). But for some people like yourself, it might just be a natural state for you.


      1. I don’t think this is my natural state. I’m not sure how I got “here” so easily but it started when I stopped eating out in restaurants in september 2016. I slowly dropped from about 120 (september) pounds to 105 (now) and feel like I have more and more veins popping out of my skin (started with upper body, then abs now legs…). Of course I work out hard but I feel like it shouldn’t be so “easy”? Maybe I am paranoid but I wonder if I have some medical condition that is partly responsible for the weight/fat loss? It’s obviously hard to get a doctor to take you seriously when you have no real health issue…


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