Sees a picture of a guy with a six-pack abs
The bio reads Fitness Influencer/Lifetime Natural
All ab shots
Closes Instagram and feels bad about self.
How often have you found yourself doing this?
See, going on a diet to get abs is not a bad thing at all. Losing fat generally is healthy for you and putting in the work to get lean is rewarding. But there is a difference between lean and shredded. Let me break it down for you:
. Lean and athletic - 8 to 14% body fat
. Shredded - Below 8% body fat
The problem is that there are these enhanced and drugged bodybuilders who keep posting pictures of themselves looking shredded with rock-hard abs all year round, making you feel bad about yourself, even when you are lean. You are in a constant battle against yourself to stay shredded all year round like them.
If you are building a physique without using any drugs for assistance (aka anabolic steroids), here are five reasons why trying to be shredded year round is plain stupid:
Dieting to a very low body fat percentage impacts your testosterone levels. Your hormones dip. It will impact your recovery, mood, and sexual health negatively.
The reason guys on anabolics do not face this problem is them taking the hormones externally. They inject testosterone in supra-physiological doses on a weekly basis. Natural testosterone levels do not mean shit to them.2. Constant Hunger
Low body-fat means your hunger and satiety hormones are at a whack. Your leptin or satiety hormone is at an all-time low and your ghrelin or hunger hormone is at an all-time high. You are in a constant bad mood and cranky all the time. People around you do not like this side of you as well.3. Too Restricted
You will have to micro-manage every single meal that goes into your body to stay shredded. You will have to count every macro, weigh every food item, completely cut out every delicious food from your diet to be shredded.
After a point, this becomes super stressful. You cannot focus on other things in life. You will be food obsessed.4. Cannot Make Gains
To gain muscle, you need to be in a calorie surplus and gain weight slow and steady. You will gain body fat.
To be shredded and maintain your abs, you will need to be in a constant caloric deficit or at best, at your maintenance calories. As you see, these are two sides of a coin. You cannot have both. It is one or the other. Again, enhanced guys get bigger taking steroids is the hormones injected externally.
A lot of well-known bodybuilders and fitness models have come out and spoken about this. Once you see your body look a certain way and you always desire to look that way, the obsession takes an ugly turn.
A lot of athletes have admitted to being in a state of depression due to this.
Attempting to stay shredded all year round is not just harmful to your physical health but also your mental health.
Pratik Thakkar is the co-founder and director of GetSetGo Fitness an online fitness company and the founder of Mars Nutrition a nutrition supplement company. Both his companies are geared towards providing you the right information and products without any false or fake claims. You can reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Instagram.