Shredding Diet for Bodybuilding

Shredding diets for bodybuilding can be very complicated. While each body operates on the same basic metabolic rules, each one also differs in terms of biochemistry and metabolic rate. It is important to experiment with different macro-nutrient ratios, amounts of proteins, carbs and fats, as well as different foods.

Basics for Getting Shredded

Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman, authors of "Xteme Lean," recommend cutting your daily calories by 500 to 750 below your maintenance caloric intake 1. Slowly increase the frequency and duration of your cardio routine. For example, begin with three 20-minute sessions the first week and increase frequency by one or two sessions per week. Also increase the duration of your workouts by adding five to 10 minutes each week. Pay attention to your protein intake, advises Jeff Anderson, author of "Optimum Anabolics." Take in no less than 1.14 gm of protein per pound of body weight 2.


Eating too few carbs can be disastrous. As you cut carbohydrates, you must replace them with essential fatty acids to keep your calories high enough to prevent muscle loss and hormonal imbalance. You must take in at least 25 to 30 percent of your calories from fats to prevent muscle loss. Do not buy into the common misconception that a fat burner will get you shredded 5. While these products contain substances that can speed up your metabolism, without dietary changes and exercise they have no effect on your physique.

Eat According To Your Body Type

Body type, individual metabolism and personal goals dictate your diet. Ectomorphs, with faster metabolism, can take in more carbohydrates, but retain less muscle than other body types. Athletic-looking mesomorphs burn fat and build muscle easily. The slower metabolic function of endomorphs requires a cut in carbohydrates to get shredded 5. Discipline yourself on the shredding diet to reach peak condition and meet your goals.

Time Frame

The time frame depends on how much body fat you have to lose. The faster you lose body fat, the more likely you will also lose muscle. Traditional bodybuilding diets run 12 to 18 weeks. Dieting longer can put stress on your body. To determine how much time you need, start by getting your body fat percentage tested. Since your goal is to lose as much of your non-lean body weight as possible, you can then determine the time frame, assuming a one to five pound weight-loss per week.


Since carbs are your body's preferred source of fuel, cutting carbs forces your body to use body fat for energy. Low-carb works fast, but has the downside of muscle loss. Lawson and Holman recommend a moderate-carbohydrate diet instead 1. Splitting all daily carbs between pre- and post-workout meals, you can make sure carbs are not readily stored as fat. Depending on your metabolism you may take in 100 gm to 200 gm of carbs per day, rather than the 50 gm of a low-carb diet. The cyclic ketogenic -- high fat -- diet provides the best of both worlds. It calls for 50 gm to 100 gm of carbs per day for five days, followed by one or two days of higher-carbohydrates, such as 200 gm to 300 gm per day.