Getting ripped vs getting fit: the same thing?

Getting ripped and getting fit are not the same thing. Both are great achievements. Both require hard work and discipline. However, if you try to get fit it may be to the detriment of your efforts to get ripped and vice versa.

That’s counterintuitive, isn’t it? Most people think getting ripped and getting fit are the same thing, but they’re wrong.

Most ripped guys aren’t that fit. And most seriously fit guys aren’t that “ripped”.

Are there exceptions? Of course there are. But generally speaking, I always tell young guys that by picking one objective and focusing on it you are greatly increasingly your likelihood of success.

“The fox that chases 2 rabbits catches neither”.

Maybe you’ve heard this old quote before? The guys who understand this principle take advantage of it by determining what’s important to them and going “all in” on their goal. They decide they are either chasing athletic goals, or they are chasing aesthetic goals.

As a young male, you can achieve great things in a short space of time when you narrow your focus. Most guys try to do too many things: train for the triathlon, mixed mma twice a week, weightlifting 3x per week, yoga and surfing on weekends, plus they want to get massive, and of course they want a 6 pack too…

That’s fine if you’re trying to optimize your life for fun and you just enjoy mixing it up. Go for it! But if you’re serious about getting ripped then you must rethink the activities you’re doing and prioritize: what’s helping me get ripped and what’s preventing or slowing me down?

Pick one priority: fitness or aesthetics. And optimize your program for that objective.

Get Ripped

Most of those “fitness” youtubers you subscribe to, do not care how fast they can run a 5k or race an ironman. They want likes, follows, comments and they want to stand out. Most fitness models and influencers with great abs and muscles that pop off the page of the magazines and the screen on your smartphones, are not super fit. Because they are focused on looking a certain way. They have successfully prioritized for aesthetics.

If you can eliminate the excess activities and tighten up your diet, you will start getting ripped too! Getting ripped means manipulating your diet and exercise program so that you shed body fat and reveal the muscle that is hiding beneath. If you lose body fat and maintaining or increasing muscle mass, you will get shredded and look fit.

Notice I didn’t say anything about “if you train longer and harder” or “if you can run a marathon in under X hours”. Because that’s totally irrelevant.

Get Fit

If you’re serious about getting uber fit and achieving high performance then you must rethink your high protein, low carb and set aside your vanity.  You want to break 5 minutes for the mile? Then you must be prepared to stop lifting heavy weights and fuel yourself properly after intense sessions. And if you want to break 9 hours for an Ironman? Then you better be prepared to burn off some of those beach muscles throughout your endurance training. You’re going to look weaker and less masculine. But you will achieve greater performance.

So the most elite athletes don’t care what their abs look like or how much of a “V” they create with their “shoulder to waist” ratio. They want championships and gold medals. The fittest guys in the world like professional endurance athletes, swimmers, boxers and martial artists, are not all super ripped.

Getting fit is about progressive overload, tracking performance metrics and gradually improving upon them. By training consistently and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone in key sessions, you will reach higher levels of performance and be fit.

Notice how I didn’t say anything about maintaining muscle mass or losing body fat? Because again, it’s not the primary objective.


These two different goals require two different approaches and I always advise my friends and clients to pick one goal and focus on it. When you hit your goal, then you can shift focus and pick a new goal to chase.

By picking one goal at a time, you can get there faster. When you switch focus to a new goal, the variety in your routine and the new challenge will keep you motivated and more likely to always be enthusiastic about your fitness journey.

So what is your goal right now? Do you want to be ripped or do you want to be a super athlete? Set your goal, be ruthless with your prioritization of diet/exercises and stay focused until you reach your goal!

Gotta go train 🙂



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