The Rules To Ripped

Welcome to the “The Rules To Ripped”.

This comprehensive article will reveal a step-by-step approach to whipping you into the best possible shape in the shortest time-frame.

Whenever I work with clients in the gym, this is the way I structure their nutrition plan for optimal results.

For those of you who follow the workout plans inside my app, you know I referenced this article as a “starting point” in my detailed breakdown of how to structure a fat loss diet from start to finish. This post puts the framework into place, and the second post implements everything into a handy program you can follow from beginning your journey, to ultimately being as lean as you wanna be.

There are only 10 rules.

If you enjoy the read, and plan to implement the steps, share it.

Let’s get stuck in.

the rules to ripped

1. Calories Are King

We live in an age of silly people.

Silly people who are famous for doing very little.

Silly people who use words like “Bae”.

And silly people who believe that there are “tricks” which can overrule the law of thermodynamics. Like putting butter in their coffee. Or drinking detox tea.

Make no mistake, calories are king.

You cannot gain weight if you aren’t eating enough calories, and you cannot lose weight if you’re eating too much. (1)

So the first thing I like to have someone do at the start of a new training program is to use a free app like My Fitness Pal to record their current food intake.

Don’t worry if your present diet sucks hard.

It contains useful information which will help you move forward, and this week is about finding that information.

Specifically; how many calories are you eating in an average day?

It’s so easy to work out, simply add up your numbers for your seven recorded days and divide the total by 7.

Now you know.

how much protein do you need to eat every day to get ripped

2. Protein Is Your Best Friend


There are a crazy number of men and women hammering away at their muscles in gyms but failing to provide their body with adequate protein to reap the benefits.

Don’t do that.

It’s like working your butt off to get a really cool car, only to put mushy peas in the gas tank.

Protein will help your body to recover from workouts, to build new lean muscle, and also retain the muscle you already own.

It’s broken down into amino acids, and without these little bad boys, no muscle tissue can be built. Period.

It’s that important.

So how much do we need?

Well, there’s lots of bulls**t information out there on this topic. I’ll cut through it today. On one hand, we have government guidelines which say people should eat 0.35 grams of protein per lb of body weight.

That equates to just 64g for a 185 person, which is nowhere near enough to spike maximum muscle growth. (2, 3)

Of course, these figures are based on sedentary individuals, so I don’t suggest you follow them.

And on the other hand, we have supplement gurus and fitness industry “experts” (who usually own supplement companies) saying we need to eat as much as 2 grams of protein per lb of body weight.

This equates to a massive 370g for a 185lb person, and is way too much.

Research shows us that the “sweet spot” for muscle growth tops out at 1.2 grams per lb of body weight. (4, 5, 6, 7, 8)

Going higher may have an impact on appetite suppression, but won’t result in more muscle growth. (9)

Set your protein intake to 1.2 grams per lb of body weight.

best diet for building muscle fast

3. Fats Are Important For Muscle Growth

Yes, in the 1980’s we were all told that fat was the enemy.

Well, we were also told that shoulder pads were cool, and that Sylvester Stallone was “too old” to make any more Rocky movies… and we all know how that turned out.

Dietary fat is important for a number of reasons, but for the topic of this article we need to focus on just one: it helps regulate key hormones in the muscle building process, like testosterone.

Without such a key player, it’s like leaving results on the table.

The three forms of fat we can eat are polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fat.

Now we could get caught up in minutia by trying to strike an optimal balance of all three, but that approach doesn’t really fit everyday life.

I’ve got three kids. Yesterday, one of them ate a battery.

So don’t run yourself into the ground trying to do silly things like 33%/33%/33% with your fat intake. Instead, just try to get a good balance of them as you go. Trust me, you’ll be fine.

The only source of fat we should try to avoid altogether is trans fat.

Ironically, this man-made fat was developed back in the 1980’s as an alternative to saturated fat, which they believed was the root cause of all evil.

Research shows us that we must consume a minimum of 0.3g per lb of body weight. I like to aim a little higher than this baseline in order to maximize the muscle building benefits fat offers. at 0.5g per lb of body weight. (10)

how to get ripped

4. Eat Protein Frequently

You’ve likely heard that you must eat small meals every few hours to speed up the metabolism.

That’s not why I’m telling you to do this.

In fact, it’s a total myth!

Research shows us that meal frequency plays no role in metabolism, so if you prefer to eat three big meals, do that. (11, 12, 13)

However, I do recommend consuming protein every few hours, as opposed to cramming it all into one block, purely because eating tons of protein in one go can be tough.

Also, protein has satiating effects, so over the years I’ve found that spreading my intake across the day helps to control total calorie consumption.

Make sense?


diet for building muscle

5. Tweak Your Carbohydrates As Required

Unlike protein and fat, there are no “essential” carbohydrates.

They are the preferred energy source of our body, but we can survive perfectly fine without them.

That being said, I’m a fan of carbs.

I believe that when someone is sufficiently fueled they will perform better in the gym.

The “trick” comes in tweaking your carbohydrate intake to match your physique goals.

Too many people overdo the carbs, under-eat protein, and don’t even think about fat.

You no longer will.

Because we know how much protein we should eat, and we know how much fat we should eat. We also know what our calorie intake is.

That makes calculating your carb requirements very simple!

(Total calories – calories from protein – calories from fat = calories left to “spend” on carbohydrates.)

Most of my online workout plans recommend starting somewhere between 1 and 1.5 grams of carbs per lb of body weight, then adjusting either up or down every few weeks as you progress.

Over the years, this is a system which has worked incredibly well for too many people to count, as evidenced by the results on the website.

Just remember; carbs are the macronutrient we can “play with” as we progress.

While our protein and fat have baseline targets we must prioritize in order to achieve maximum results from our training, carbs can be used to create either a calorie surplus (to gain size) or a calorie deficit (to lose weight) each time a plateau is reached.

best whey protein to use to get ripped

6. Use A Whey Protein Blend

Remember earlier, when I spoke about people who over-complicate things instead of focusing on the basics?

Welcome to the world of supplements.

This place is built upon confusion, and supplement companies will have you scurrying to buy the latest, greatest whey protein products with silly promises of results.

But here’s the thing…

There’s barely any difference between the top brands.

Honestly, there are only two things I encourage clients to look for when buying a new whey protein supplement!

First, make sure it has a protein-per-serving ratio of at least 75%.

Example; if you have a 50 gram serving size which only provides 20 grams of protein, that’s a ratio of 40% and means that 60% of your scoop isn’t even protein.

Chances are you’re buying a protein shake because you want to get more protein into your diet, so get one which does that.

Second, use a protein blend.

Supplement companies love to preach about the so-called benefits of using a micro-filtered, hydrolized, whey protein isolate. And they’ll charge you the Earth for it, too.

But research shows us that protein formulas which use blends are actually superior.

(Even though they cost less!)

It’s a classic case of shiny object syndrome.

A 2009 study from researchers at the University of Texas showed that consuming 20 grams of a blend consisting of whey protein, soy protein and egg protein was superior to consuming 20 grams of whey protein alone. (14)

So keep it simple. Here’s my recommendation.

7. Post-Workout Haribo

If you’re a long-time follower of mine, you’ll already be familiar with this one.

I did an entire article on it a while ago.

Yes, my clients love to tuck into a handful of Haribo Gold Bears (Gummy Bears in the USA) immediately after a workout.

But when this technique started catching on in other gyms, I noticed that people were citing different reasons for why we do it and, as usual, getting it completely f**king wrong.

So I’ll clear it up here.

It’s a reward.

A “treat” for training hard.

Trust me, the longer you’ve been working hard to carve your physique, the more you’ll come to value these little golden bundles of happiness.

All 17 of them.

Back in the day, though, it was believed that we needed to use fast-digesting carbohydrates to spike our insulin levels after a workout in order to create a greater anabolic response to training.

More up-to-date science shows us this is not the case, though, and that the insulin spike from consuming our whey protein shake after training will be enough. (15, 16, 17)

So forget that.

If your carbohydrate target is high enough to warrant post-workout Haribo, think of it as a reward.

Why 17?

Well, if science does ever go back on itself (happens occasionally) and show that we do in fact need carbs to spike our insulin levels after training, 30 grams will be enough to provide the same spike as 90 grams. (18)

In Haribo currency (not that I’m obsessed with ’em), that’s 17 Gold Bears.

list of best supplements to take to get ripped

8. Perfect Your Pre & Post-Workout Supplements

While there are hundreds of different supplements out there which claim to work, only a handful have actually been proven.

Keep your supplement list to these select few items.

We will start with three things which aren’t related to training, but offer so many benefits, we’d be foolish to leave them out. Then we’ll discuss the stuff we should be using around training.

First, pick up a good multivitamin. Here’s my recommendation. A good multivitamin will fill in the bases you might miss with your diet. It’s that simple.

Next, grab a vitamin D3. Here you go. A fully dosed vitamin D3 supplement is a worthy substitute for those of us who don’t get enough sunshine each day.

Finally, grab some Omega-3 capsules. Try these on for size. Most people don’t eat fatty fish regularly enough to reap the rewards from the healthy Omega-3 fatty acids it offers. A fully dosed Omega-3 supplement ticks that box.

Now lets’ take a look at the things we should use before and after our workouts to maximize our performance during training.

You could pick up a strong pre-workout formula that combines all of these, for convenience, I’ll show you at the end.

Caffeine is seen as the most important pre workout ingredient by many people. It will boost energy output and focus, and we should be consuming 200-400mg around 20 minutes prior to exercise. (19, 20, 21)

Citrulline malate is really the most important ingredient, though. Correctly dosed (6-8 grams) this will lead to more energy, greater bloodflow to working muscles, and faster recovery between sets. (22)

Beta-alanine is another key player, both before and after training. With continued supplementation of this substance for more than four weeks, we can expect to see fantastic improvements in muscular endurance. A 3.2 gram dose (or 1.6g before training and 1.6g after) yields maximum impact. (23)

Creatine is probably the most important substance any weightlifter can use to enhance results. It will improve strength, reps to failure, and even create a fuller, harder appearance to your muscles. We need a 5 gram serving, preferably taken after training. (24)

Betaine has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years thanks to interesting research showing how effective it can be for improving athletic performance in sprinters. A dose of 2.5 grams will yield maximum effects here, and you’ll see some great jumps in explosive strength with it. (25)

Of course, I don’t expect you to consume all of these ingredients individually.

My first option would be to pick up the stack of AML Pre Workout and AML Post Workout. Job done, you’ve hit all your targets.

If you live in the UK, where AML is a bit of a b**ch to get hold of right now, you can tick most of these boxes by opting for a pre workout like RedCon1 Total War, then picking up creatine on its own.

The information above literally gives you the perfect supplement stack.

Everything is proven to work. Nothing is left unconfirmed.

best diet to lose weight

9. Find Your System

Here’s a super important step which nobody ever talks about…

People like to diet in different ways.

For me, I like to track my food each day with My Fitness Pal. Most of my clients like to do it this way too, or they use the built-in nutrition tracker inside my workout app.

If you track your numbers, you know when you’re hitting them. Bosh.

Also, it enables you to be more flexible with your food choices. You can work just about anything into your daily numbers, so if you’re the type of person who likes variety, I suggest you track your diet this way.

However, it doesn’t work for everyone.

Some people, particularly in the early stages of a new diet, prefer to follow a set system of pre-written meals.

While it lacks the variety of the previous option, one thing it does offer is safety.

Like an ex-convict out of prison after serving a 30 year sentence for a crime they didn’t commit, sometimes we cannot handle the “freedom” of choice, and we crave the system in order to stay on track.

Do whatever works for you.

They key is to do something.

Don’t just wing it and hope for the best. Results aren’t achieved like that.

My job is to get you in the 5% of people at the gym who are actually happy with their body; this requires to to make a decision to go for it.

walk 10000 steps per day

10. Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day

What’s that? You wanna gain size?

Don’t care.

You’ll be eating enough protein to build enough muscle with the other rules laid out above. So forget the old adage that “Cardio will kill your gains, bro”.

The only people who say bulls**t like this are guys at the gym who get out of breath just re-racking their weights.

The only time cardio will cause muscle loss is if you suddenly attempt the cardio program of a marathon runner!

The concept of walking at least 10,000 steps per day is something I encourage all of my clients of do, because walking is good for you. Your heart is a muscle, and must be trained like any other.

Take the kids to the park.

Download Pokemon Go.

Whatever your thing is, just get to work.

the rules to getting ripped

The Rules To Ripped

Well, there you go.

The comprehensive checklist I like to call “The Rules To Ripped”.

Apply each of these steps alongside some hard training in the gym, and you will see optimal results in the mirror.

I hope you enjoyed the read, it took me f**king ages to write this.

For more training tips, jump on my email list at the very bottom of the article.

Until next time…

Outwork Everyone,


  1. Howell, S., et al. “Calories in, calories out” and macronutrient intake: the hope, hype, and science of calories. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. (2017)
  2. 10 Protein and Amino Acids. Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids. Institute of Medicine. (2005)
  3. Bray G. A., et al. Effect of dietary protein content on weight gain, energy expenditure, and body composition during overeating: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. (2012)
  4. Morton R. W., et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med. (2018)
  5. Thomas D. T., et al. American College of Sports Medicine Joint Position Statement. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2016)
  6. Jäger R., et al. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2017)
  7. Morton R. W., et al. A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med. (2018)
  8. Witard O. C., et al. Effect of increased dietary protein on tolerance to intensified training. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (2011)
  9. Leaf A., et al. The Effects of Overfeeding on Body Composition: The Role of Macronutrient Composition – A Narrative Review. Int J Exerc Sci. (2017)
  10. Helms E. R., et al. Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2014)
  11. Perrigue M. M., et al. Higher Eating Frequency Does Not Decrease Appetite in Healthy Adults. J Nutr. (2016)
  12. Raynor H. A., et al. Eating Frequency, Food Intake, and Weight: A Systematic Review of Human and Animal Experimental Studies. Front Nutr. (2015)
  13. Ohkawara K., et al. Effects of increased meal frequency on fat oxidation and perceived hunger. Obesity (Silver Spring). (2013)
  14. Paul G. L., et al. The rationale for consuming protein blends in sports nutrition. J Am Coll Nutr. (2009)
  15. Nilsson M., et al. Metabolic effects of amino acid mixtures and whey protein in healthy subjects: studies using glucose-equivalent drinks. Am J Clin Nutr. (2007)
  16. Wojcik J. R., et al. Comparison of carbohydrate and milk-based beverages on muscle damage and glycogen following exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2001)
  17. Parkin J. A., et al. Muscle glycogen storage following prolonged exercise: effect of timing of ingestion of high glycemic index food. Med Sci Sports Exerc. (1997)
  18. Glynn E. L., et al. Muscle protein breakdown has a minor role in the protein anabolic response to essential amino acid and carbohydrate intake following resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. (2010)
  19. Duncan M. J., et al. The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res. (2011)
  20. Childs E., et al. Subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of acute caffeine in light, nondependent caffeine users. Psychopharmacology (Berl). (2006)
  21. Kim T. W., et al. Caffeine increases sweating sensitivity via changes in sudomotor activity during physical loading. J Med Food. (2011)
  22. Alvares T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. (2012)
  23. Hoffman, J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. (2008)
  24. Rawson E.S., et al. Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance. J Strength Cond Res. (2003)
  25. Pryor, J. L., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. (2012)

2 responses to “The Rules To Ripped”

  1. Wow!! Stumbled across your site in my pre-workout research and am still here. LOL Love how much effort you have put into the blog – seeing references cited is refreshing. I am learning lots. I have worked out my whole life ( everything from swimming to martial arts to spin classes to home videos to now Crossfit) and I finally feel like being very serious about it. Its great to having access to a site like this.

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