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How To Get Ripped Year-Round


To be ripped year-round, you need to cut out all alcohol and sweets, do fasted cardio every day, and take some shady supplements… right?


Sure, you can follow the “Jeff approach,” and avoid booze and cheat meals, but is that necessary? Not at all. It works for me, but it’s certainly not required.

There are so many guys out there that are incredibly lean year-round, and they are having more than a few cheat meals and beers.

There are so many guys out there that are incredibly lean year-round, and they are having more than a few cheat meals and beers.

And you can become one of them.

Today, I’m going to tell you exactly what you need to do to get AND stay ripped year-round.  There are 5 key things you need to pay attention to if you want to achieve this.

Let’s break them down one by one!


If you want to burn more body fat, the first thing I want you to do is forget about following a diet.

If you want to walk around year-round with a lean and ripped body, you can’t diet… but you must follow a lean lifestyle.

You need to eat and fuel your body with great nutritious food. This isn’t a weight loss diet – it’s a lifestyle.

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How To Get Ripped Year-Round

I’ve said this so many times, and I want to say it again because it needs to become part of your mantra.


A diet is based on a temporary status of deprivation. This is the opposite of what you need to do to get lean and stay lean for many years to come.

Dieting cannot be part of it.

Think about this:

Let’s say that you have achieved a certain level of leanness through dieting. The catch is that the same technique that got you there that is most likely going to be the one you’re going to have to stick to in order to stay there.

A diet is based on a temporary status of deprivation. This is the opposite of what you need to do to get lean and stay lean for many years to come.

If it was difficult to get there because it was based on deprivation, you’re not going to be able to stay there.

Make it easier for yourself by ditching the diet and start living the lifestyle of dedicated good nutrition and proper portions. Focus on high quality proteins, complex carbohydrates (simple carbs are great post-workout), and healthy fats for every meal.

A quick note a on protein: It’s an incredibly important macronutrient, especially when the goal is to build muscle and get super lean.

Protein literally contains the building blocks of muscle tissue, amino acids.

It can be hard to get all of the protein you need in your daily meals. A protein shake is an excellent way to ensure you’re within your recommended protein intake, and this will help to promote muscle mass growth.

And I know low-carb or no-carb diets are pretty popular right now, but adequate carb intake is pretty damn important for muscle building. Carbs play a very important role in muscle glycogen as well as your overall energy intake throughout the day.

how to eat to get ripped

Eat things that you actually enjoy and not foods that you have to force yourself to eat. That’s going to make all the difference in your daily calorie intake.

As far as your daily intake, you might be surprised to find that a calorie deficit isn’t an automatic requirement. You more than likely wouldn’t need a caloric surplus, but a caloric deficit probably won’t be needed either.

Why is that?

As I’ll talk more about below, you will be training. You’re going to be very active as you build the body you want. And that’s going to take the proper fuel via caloric intake.

The one thing you absolutely should NOT do to get lean is drastic calorie cutting. You might lose weight but that will be both fat loss and lean muscle loss. Not good.

Look, depending on where you are right now and what your current weight is, you might even see some weight gain by focusing on healthy choices and not obsessing over calorie numbers. But I promise that if you’re following everything I’m laying out for you, that weight gain will be muscle, not fat.

To wrap this up, I wouldn’t worry so much about calorie control (not yet anyway) as much as you should the rest of the things on this list.

Enjoying the real foods you have to eat, regardless of your total calorie count, will motivate you to eat within your optimal calorie range.

healthy foods for getting ripped



The second things I want you to do is drink lots of water.

I know this sounds cliché and standard. You’ve probably heard this a lot, but there are reasons for this.

You wake up dehydrated every morning unless you’re someone who wakes up in the middle of the night to drink water. But most of us don’t do this.

When you drink water throughout the day, you become more aware of the difference between thirst and hunger. And when you really need to fuel your body, you do so with smart choices, as opposed to poor choices.

If you stay hydrated throughout the day, you also get the secondary benefits of having more energy.

We all know that your energy level can drop if you skip hydrating yourself.

You start to become dehydrated and your physical and mental performance decreases, and this can have a huge impact.

So, make it a point to start your day with 24 ounces of water and keep drinking water with electrolytes as you go about your day, especially during and after exercise.

drink water upon waking


Everyone in the fitness industry that’s ripped will prioritize high intensity, high effort weight training any day over cardio.

This one might shock some of you. You might even think “No, Jeff, I’ve got to get my cardio in.” No, you don’t. There are better ways to supercharge your activity level and metabolic rate.

The most important thing you can do is prioritize your weight training for optimal body composition. Why is that? Well, there are a few reasons for this.

The more lean body mass you build, the more likely you’re going to be able to stay lean.

And this isn’t a temporary solution to losing weight and getting ripped. This is how you can get shredded AND stay shredded.

Muscle tissue is more active, it ensures a higher calorie burn while at rest. And what’s the best way to add more lean muscle to your frame? Weight training!

You won’t be able to build the same amount or size of muscle mass with just conditioning and cardio.

And don’t forget that weight training increases insulin sensitivity. This means that you will have a different response to the food that you put in your body because you’ve added lean muscle tissue. The focus won’t be on putting fuel in the tank as much as it will be focused on muscle glycogen replenishment and growth.

Muscle tissue is more active, it ensures a higher calorie burn while at rest. And what’s the best way to add more lean muscle to your frame? Weight training!

All of these things will arm you to become much better equipped to handle the lifelong pursuit of being lean.

Compare that to the percentage of the few extra calories you would burn in a conditioning workout or cardio workout. The cardio solution is temporary and consolidated to that one effort, and it doesn’t help you in the long-term.

Maybe you have cardio as a part of your current workouts. I’m not saying to completely scrap all your workout routines, BUT if you’re running short on time, for example, and you have to choose to sacrifice, I’d get rid of cardio every time.

But ONLY if you’re goal is to get muscular and lean, and stay that way for a long time. Everyone that’s lean and ripped will tell you that’s what they do every, single time.

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How To Get Ripped Year-Round

Guys, admittedly, I would say that I don’t do enough conditioning workouts. What I do is prioritize my nutrition, my strength training, and my weight training. I highly recommend that you make sure you’re doing the same thing.



I want you to ask yourself: During your weight training sessions, are you lifting the weight that you should be lifting, or are you lifting the weight that you can lift?

There are a few things here.

Guys, when I talk about lifting the weight that you can lift, I’m talking more about pure strength training.

The thing about pursuing pure strength training is that little bit of extra heavy weight is something that will work to your advantage.

It could create additional leverage, allow you to move more pounds. That’s a good thing if that’s what your pursuit is.

However, if your goal is muscle gain, if you want to be as lean and ripped as possible then you want to make sure that you’re commanding the weights that you’re lifting.

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How To Get Ripped Year-Round

Now, I’m not saying, “No more heavy lifting.” For muscle building, you want to lift as heavy as you possibly can, BUT not at the pursuit of only strength only and definitely not at the expense of bad form.

If you’re obsessed with only the numbers, injury is more likely to occur. So, you want to make sure you’re lifting the weight that you should be lifting, rather than always trying to pursue the weight that you might be able to lift.

In other words, go a little lighter but have flawless form and focus on every single repetition.


If you want a low body fat percentage, consistency is the key to all of this.

It’s so important that if you don’t take it seriously, you could be costing yourself progress and results. Consistency is going to be the thing that unlocks whatever trouble you’re having right now with getting lean.

I know what you’re saying. “Jeff, I know. But consistency is the problem.” No, it’s not the problem.

It’s usually the choices you’re making right now that already lend themselves to NOT being consistent choices.

Let’s go back to the diet example. If you’re dieting, you can’t be consistent with that. I’m telling you right now, guys, that it’s impossible. The two don’t go hand in hand. Diet is short-term based. By its very nature, it’s something that is going to expire.

There’s an expiration on that diet. Again, you cannot remain consistent with that.

Imagine how much easier it would be if you learned how to eat well, if you get to choose foods that work for you and that you like.  Now we’re talking about consistency.

Put simply:  If you find a style of training that you enjoy, if you start to see results from that training; you’re going to stay consistent with it.

Getting lean and maintaining a low body-fat percentage for many years is totally possible, and it doesn’t revolve around short-term diets, fads, low-dose Tren or TRT.

I promise you that if you commit yourself to the five things I discussed above, you’re going to find success.

If you’re looking for a training program to help you get ripped from head to toe, check out our ATHLEAN-X programs to see which one best fits your goals.


  1. Getting ripped and staying ripped forever is not as complicated as some people make it out to be. In fact, it can be boiled down to just five things.
  2. First, ditch the diet. When you eat healthy and enjoy the foods you eat, you can stick to that style of eating forever.
  3. Second, you must drink a lot of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated will help you to stave off hunger and the confusion of thirst for hunger. At the same time, it’ll help you maintain energy to perform at your best when you train.
  4. Third, if given the choice between a cardio exercise routine or weight training, the guy that stays ripped forever will always choose the weight training session.
  5. Fourth, when you lift weights, it is important to learn how to lift the weights you should rather than always pursuing the weights you can. When the obsession is with lifting heavier numbers then you forget to focus on the quality of the tension delivered to the working muscle.
  6. Finally, above all else consistency is required. You must learn how to become consistent with your approach if you want lifetime leanness.

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Jeff Cavaliere Headshot

Jeff Cavaliere M.S.P.T, CSCS

Jeff Cavaliere is a Physical Therapist, Strength Coach and creator of the ATHLEAN-X Training Programs and ATHLEAN-Rx Supplements. He has a Masters in Physical Therapy (MSPT) and has worked as Head Physical Therapist for the New York Mets, as well as training many elite professional athletes in Major League Baseball, NFL, MMA and professional wrestling. His programs produce “next level” achievements in muscle size, strength and performance for professional athletes and anyone looking to build a muscular athletic physique.

Read more about Jeff Cavaliere by clicking here

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