How To Get Ripped Naturally: How I Got Jacked As A Hardgainer In 2022

Every guy out there would love to be ripped… the ones who don’t are likely lying to themselves.

Not everyone knows how to get ripped naturally though. Many would claim that it’s impossible without steroids.

Many people are wrong, I’ve done it and so can you.

I started out as the skinniest ectomorph out of anyone I knew. Like 100lbs in HIGHSCHOOL skinny.

Using the techniques and tips in this article I will show you how I got ripped naturally and how you can too in half the time.

So if that sounds appealing and inspiring to you, then let’s get started!

How To Get Ripped Naturally

Workout Transformation: Skinny to Ripped

Getting ripped naturally is actually incredibly easy once you adopt a few mindsets and habits.

Many people make it out to be a lot more complicated than it really is. They see it as a huge challenge to accomplish every day with maximum effort.

The truth is, getting jacked comes down to a few simple habits a day, like as simple as brushing your teeth in the morning.

Once you start to understand just how easy it is to get jacked over time, then the motivation is unreal.

You might see your progress one day and think “Damn. If I did this much and got these results, then what would happen if I pushed it EVEN FURTHER?”

This then makes it extremely easy to integrate the gym into your life on a daily basis. Because remember, this journey is a marathon, not a sprint, but there are rewards along the way that make the journey worth it.

And once you do, the benefits will make you forget about the work that you need to put in and you might actually start to enjoy improving your body.

The confidence, self esteem, and admiration from everyone around you tend to has that effect.

The 5-Step Process To Get Ripped Naturally

Ultimate, there’s TONS of different things you could do to try to get ripped naturally.

You could try the most recent fad diet, follow a strenght building routine, try calisthenics, follow Tim ferris’ 4 Hour Body routine (Spoiler: Don’t), etc.

But everything ultimately comes down to 5 things, that you could start today to get jacked quickly.

The 5-step process to getting ripped is as follows:

  1. Find The Best Workout Program
  2. Optimize Your Diet (Most Important)
  3. Prioritize Rest & Recovery
  4. Use Supplements
  5. Adopt The Proper Mindset

Using these 5 steps, I’ve put on over 40 pounds of muscle since I started and I want to show you how you can get jacked too as simply as possible.

Starting off at about 100 pounds and nearly a decade of lifting, I am now weighing in at about 170 since this morning.

It’s obviously not ALL muscle, but it’s there to show you that If I can do it so can you with decent effort and consitency followed by a good strategy.

My goal for the longest time is to prove that you can have physiques very similar to that of Jeff Seid, Connor Murphy, etc. naturally.

Maybe you won’t be as big as them, but you don’t NEED TO BE.

You need to learn how to get ripped, and balance your proportions properly.

This article will how you how to do that, so for your own sake pay attention and take action!

How To Get Ripped Naturally

Like I said, many gurus will try to overcomplicate the process, but these 5 steps are all you need to get ripped naturally… period.

(I’ll go more in depth later but basically this article is based off the rule of thirds.)

The rule of thirds theory states that a third of your results will come from having the best workout program.

A third will come from developing an “anabolic” diet to reach your goals.

And a third will come from how well you are able to optimize your rest and recovery phases.

But of course, we won’t stop there and will be taking a look at the supplements and the mindsets needed to achieve your bodybuilding goals.

Trust me, if this seems overwhelming, try it for at least a week or two and you’ll see just how quickly you build up momentum.

It takes a lot to get the ball rolling, but once it is, it’s smooth sailing from there.

So with that in mind, here are the 5 steps to get ripped fast.

Step 1. Find The Best Workout Program

Workout routine to get jacked

(How my workouts have changed over the years.)

Although this may seem painfully obvious, people never really look out for the BEST workout routine out there.

The best routine to get ripped fast will be one that allows you to put on tons of muscle while losing a ton of fat as well.

The routine will change depending on whether you want to prioritize gaining muscle or losing fat however, so keep that in mind.

Ultimately, there are 3 great options for trying to get ripped fast:

  1. Push/Pull/Legs Split
  2. Upper/Lower Body Split
  3. Full Body Split

Obviously, there’s lots more options than these three and when you’re starting out it can be overwhelming.

But these are arguably the best workouts for when you’re just getting started or even if you’re already at an advanced level.

 PPLUpper/LowerFull Body
ProsTrains Muslce Groups That Respond Well Together, Best For AestheticsMore Frequency Than PPL, Very Good For Strength TrainingAllows For More Frequency, Best Option For General Health
ConsMuch Less Frequency Than Other SplitsLess Specification For MusclesNot Ideal For Aesthetics

Hell, I use some of these splits myself from time to time like right now as I’m focusing more on building my blog.

Currently, I’m taking it easy on the gym a bit but I still want to make some progress, so I’m using the Push/Pull/Legs split myself.

We’ll compare the pros and cons of each. I recommend the Push/Pull/Legs split to get jacked fast, but you can choose whatever you want.

Option 1: Push/Pull/Legs Split (Best)

Push, Pull, Legs, or PPL, for short is when you train the muscles associated with “pushing” on one day, then “pulling” on another, then legs on the last day.

The reason why PPL splits are so effective is because it literally trains your body in the way that it was evolutionally designed to move.

Typically, on push day you’ll train chest, triceps, and shoulders.

On pull day you would train back and biceps, and maybe throw in special attention to your traps in there.

And on leg day you would attack your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

When you work all of these muscles together you can also allow yourself to lift MUCH heavier weights.

For example you’ll be able to lift much heavier on bench press, because you’re training ALL the muscles associated with pushing.

This is extremely beneficial because when you’re first starting out, you want to gain as much strength on all of your “major lifts” as quickly as possible.

High rep, heavy, compound lifts as these will yield the most bang for your buck when it comes to building muscle as a hardgainer.

In fact, numerous studies have been done, and it has been found that strength training can lead up to a 21% or more increase of testosterone, immediately post-workout. [R]

When it comes to rest days, there’s generally two options that will yield the best results when starting out.

You can choose to alternate your workout and rest days, which is what I’d recommend for beginners or even advanced lifters occasionally.

The other option is that you train Push, Pull, Legs 3 days in a row, then take 1 rest day and repeat ad infinitum.

Option 2: Upper/Lower Body Split

Popular option number 2, is an Upper/Lower Body split where you train your entire upper body one day, and then your lower body the next.

The pros of this are that you can train each muscle more often, as there’s less rest days in between each workout.

The cons however, are that each muscle will get less “special attention” where you really hone in on your weaknesses.

With PPL you can spend more time developing your biceps for example by throwing in some extra curls and such.

You can do this with upper and lower body split training too, but the problem then becomes you have to train ALL THE OTHER muscles that same day too.

This ends up being incredibly taxing and counterproductive if you’ve got too many exercises because you’re trying to hit all muscles hard.

If this happens, you can end up overworking yourself, which would actually severely hinder your progress rather than accelerating it.

In fact studies have shown that people who over-train are likely to experience both physical AND mental ailments until they get proper rest. [R]

Still workout hard, but don’t overdo it and make sure you take your rest and recovery seriously.

This is why I usually recommend PPL but Upper/Lower Body training is still a great option if you want to pack on tons of size but are willing to sacrifice proportions, aesthetics, and muscle definition.

Option 3: Full Body Split

Lastly we have a full body split. I’ll be honest I rarely EVER use this, but many people still recommended it.

This is a great option for if you’re trying to be healthier as a whole, because it allows you to incorporate full body circuit training.

If you’re trying to get jacked however, this isn’t really the best option because you’ll be lightly hitting all of your muscles everyday.

This is opposed to hitting individual ones hard with adequate rest like a PPL split.

So overall, if you’re trying to get ripped naturally I’d highly recommend a Push/Pull/Legs split.

But again, you’re free to choose whatever works best for your particular needs, schedule, etc.

What About Bro Splits?

One more thing to talk about for how to structure your workouts are bro splits.

An example of a common bro split is training arms one day, then chest, then back, then shoulders, then legs.

This option is great if you already have tons of muscle so you can focus on building up each one individually and defining them.

This is also the most common option for guys on steroids because they can then absolutely obliterate each muscle on a day but then recover fast enough that they build more muscle than they tear down.

So to recap, bro splits are great for when you already have tons of muscle but are usually terrible options for beginners out there looking to get jacked.

Unfortunately, misinformed guys follow these bro splits all of the time because they’re so popular and their progress ends up slowing as a result.

Do not let this be you.

Should You Do Cardio To Get Ripped?

Cardio has been a debate for a long time.

Many bodybuilders swear to NEVER do any cardio because it burns calories that could be turned into muscle.

On the flip side, you have guys that absolutely swear by cardio and its benefits, so which do you choose?

The answer really depends on you and your goals. In general I’d recommend you do cardio at least to get a good sweat for the health benefits.

Keep in mind though, if you are already very lean, you may want to skip intense or long distance cardio, as your body does not have much fat to burn and will instead burn muscle. [R]

This is why many bodybuilders never do cardio because they’re terrified to burn off muscle.

The key is not to over do it. Don’t go running for 5-10 miles everyday.

The best and healthiest form of cardio is called HIIT cardio which I’d recommend you do at least every other day.

HIIT cardio has been linked to a ton of mental and physical health benefits.

These include better mental acuity, HGH production and has even been shown to boost testosterone by 17% immediately post workout. [R]

In short, cardio (especially HIIT cardio) will definitely help you to get ripped fast.

V-Cut Ab Routine

Know what the best part of your body is when you’re ripped?

…your abs, duh. When you’re ripped and have strong v-cut abs.

When you have these two elements, expect pool parties to become your natural habitat.

Expect tons of stares from girls, and expect guys coming up to you asking if you want to get a lift in at the end of the day.

These are just some of the benefits when you have ripped abs.

I have a whole program dedicated to getting ripped abs, but ultimately you want to focus on creating a strong “v” look that looks like an arrow pointing towards your junk.

This can be easily accomplished using these exercises:

  • Hanging Leg Raises
  • Crunches
  • Russian Twists
  • Scissor Kicks
  • Side Planks

When I was first starting out, these were the exercises that I used to get my abs, which at the time were my best feature (along with my chest and back) and you can use them too.

You can throw an ab workout at the end of your regular workout days.

You can also choose to throw them in on your rest days if you’re doing the workout, rest, workout, rest, format.

If you workout more than this then I wouldn’t recommend it because then you’d be working out nearly everyday intensely, and won’t get enough rest to build muscle.

Step 2. Optimize Your Diet To Get Ripped

Diet to get shredded

Optimizing your diet is the best way to get shredded… period.

The reason why is because the quantity and quality of food will determine how fast (or slow) you see results, and the quality of those results as well.

You are what you eat, and if you eat nothing but junk, then you will look like junk too.

You’ll be overweight, have terrible acne, will feel dull in life, etc.

Dieting properly is the secret to getting ripped naturally as one change could affect your entire appearance.

You’ll want to make sure you’re getting foods that boost testosterone as well as enough protein to build muscle.

Your diet will need to be specifically tailored to your specific needs, and I’ll show you how to do this later.

If you’re really skinny, you’re going to need to eat A LOT.

Eat until you puke is a common saying because if you’re serious about putting on weight then you’ll literally be eating until you feel the need to puke.

This is to put on muscle however as you need to eat more than you currently do to get bigger obviously.

When you do have a good foundation of muscle, you can start to lean out by cutting back the amount of calories you eat so that you can get ripped fast.

“How Many Calories Do I Need To Eat?”

This is the only part of getting jacked that can get complicated… so listen up!

Your body has a set number of calories that it burns each day, even if you don’t workout at all.

On top of that, this number has been scientifically proven to exist and be different for everybody depending on your genes, lifestyle, etc. [R]

If you eat less than this number, you will lose fat over time, especially when combined with a good cardio routine. (More on that later)

If you eat more than this number and you are exercising as well to break down your muscles, then you’ll get jacked… plain and simple.

Obviously this is a huge simplification but here’s how you can get started:

  1. Go To This Website And Enter In Your Stats
  2. Download A Calorie Counter App (I Use MyFitnessPal)
  3. Adjust The Amount Of Calories You Eat Daily To Help Meet Your Goals

I used to live in Japan during the summers, and during this time I tried to put on a ton of weight, but the only problem is that I have a ridiculously fast metabolism.

So to counteract this, I would eat roughly 6,000 calories a day for about 2 and a half months straight.

You do NOT need this many calories but if you’re trying to put on muscle then you will need to eat A LOT more than you do now.

Bulking vs. Cutting

When it comes to dieting there’s usually to methods that people use. Bulking and cutting.

When you “bulk” you eat as much as possible and go super heavy on your lifts to put on as much muscle as possible.

When you “cut” you eat less food and increase the reps and decrease the weight which is extremely beneficial when you’re trying to learn how to condition your muscles.

The funny thing is, you don’t need to do either of these to get ripped naturally.

You can build muscle even if you’re eating less than the amount of calories your body burns each day.

Scientists have documented this phenomena where you burn fat and build muscle at the same time and have dubbed it body recomposition. [R]

That being said, bulking and cutting is a hell of a lot more fun to do because you can watch your body transform very quickly.

If you’d like to bulk and cut, that’s totally fine and I get it. Just know this…

The guys who stay shredded year round, and continue to get bigger over time, don’t bulk and cut.

They choose to stay shredded, and they may put on less muscle over time, but it makes it so that they are always ready for like a photoshoot or something if need be.

In the end, the choice is yours, and if you’re skinny then ignore this advice altogether and just start bulking.

Vice versa if you’re overweight as well, skip the advice and just start cutting until you get to a level that you’re satisfied with.

Step 3: Optimize Rest & Recovery

Sleep is essential to get jacked

Out of all the steps on this list I’d say this is the one that beginners mess up the most often.

If you get one thing from this section make it this…

Muscle is broken down in the gym, but it is BUILT while your resting.

The reason why rest is so important is because it’s literally the time when your body is repairing and building your muscles.

So obviously if you were to maximize any aspect of lifting to get ripped, make it this.

On top of this, while your sleeping is when your body churns out all of the hormones associated with building muscle.

While you’re sleeping your body produces testosterone and HGH, more so than any other time during the day.

In fact, scientists have found that men who only get 5 hours of sleep compared to people who get 8 hours or more, have 15% slower testosterone production and a DRASTICALLY increased cortisol (stress) hormone production. [R]

To fully take advantage of this phase, get enough sleep so that your body can boost your testosterone and HGH production through the roof rather than lowering it.

So with this in mind, if you can optimize your rest days and sleep, then you can shoot your testosterone levels through the roof and build muscle faster than 99% of other people who do not take this section seriously

Optimize Your Sleep

I know it’s tempting to adopt the “grind mentality” and lift all day and only get 4 hours of sleep and whatnot.

The truth is however, is that this is actually incredibly counterproductive, and if anything you should be sleeping WAY more to get the best results.

When you’re sleeping, your body churns out tons and tons of muscle building hormones.

Things like HGH (human growth hormone) and testosterone are produced in mass quantities while you sleep.

So if you’re looking to get ripped naturally, then you must absolutely make quality sleep a priority.

How can you do this? There’s a lot of things you can do but these will get you started:

  • Make Your Room Pitch Black
  • Stay Off Of Screens At Least 30 Minutes Before Bed
  • No Caffeine At Least 8 Hours Before Bed
  • Adopt A Good Night Routine To Help Wind Down
  • Supplement With Timed-Release Melatonin

These are the basics for getting a good nights’ sleep but there’s still tons of other things that you can do.

If you truly want the BEST sleep of your life with as little prep time as possible then try consuming a tablespoon of coconut oil, and a tablespoon of raw honey before bed.

The coconut oil and honey will supply your body with the nutrients it needs to keep your brain running smoothly and nourished during the night.

This means falling asleep faster, and waking up WAY less during the night plus waking up feeling amazing.

As someone who’s personally had troubles sleeping all my life, when I consume these ingredients before bed, I get some of the best sleep of my life.

I highly recommend this “sleep cocktail” to anyone looking to optimize their sleep as best as possible.

Optimize Your Rest Days

What you should do on your rest days has been a topic of debate for quite awhile.

Some people advocate that you should do some medium intensity cardio and/or work your abs and calves on rest days.

Meanwhile, some people advocate that you shouldn’t do ANYTHING on these days. So what should you do?

The answer lies somewhere in the middle, you want to make sure you’re moving enough to get blood into your muscles to help flush out the toxins and lactic acid.

At the same time you don’t want to be doing so much activity that you’re breaking down your muscles even more, without giving them enough time to properly rest.

This could mean going for a walk, a light hike, some yoga/stretching, etc.

Whatever you decide to do just make sure you start taking your results seriously and you will get ripped naturally in no time.

Step 4: Supplement Effectively To Help Get Ripped

Supplements help to get ripped naturally

Supplements are every lifters best friend. Especially for people looking to get ripped naturally.

Can you get jacked without supplements? Of course you can!

That being said, if you supplement effectively, you can quite literally TRIPLE your progress with some natural alternatives to steroids.

This then begs the question, “how do I pick the right supplements?”

I’ll keep this section relatively short, but if you’re starting out and trying to get ripped then you’ll need 3 things.

A good pre-workout to get the absolute MOST from your workouts.

Some natural supplements to boost testosterone, optimize hormones, etc.

And some supplements to skyrocket your recovery so you can hit the gym each day with intensity and put muscle on twice as fast.

Do you need all of these? Definitely not, and I get that sometimes supplements can be quite spendy.

That being said, if you’re trying to get jacked as soon as possible then these will definitely be worth the investment.

A Good Pre-Workout

A good pre-workout will allow you to hit the gym with more intensity, and lift heavier/longer than you would normally be able to without a pre-workout.

When you’re able to lift heavier and longer, you break your muscles down even more, and get faster progress guaranteed.

I’ve tried lots of different pre-workouts over the years, but I’m currently in love with GAT’s Nitraflex PUMP matrix.

I remember the first time I tired this, it was “pull” day and I downed two scoops and waited…

About ten minutes later it felt like a rush of “pure water” started flowing through my body “woah” I thought, initially shocked by the euphoria of the rush, and immediately felt the need to go do some pull-ups.

Half an hour later I started shredding my PR’s and at this point I was getting stared at by LITTERALY EVERYONE IN THE GYM.

I’m already a really lean guy, and so when I took GAT Nitraflex I had a SHIT TON of veins all over my biceps, shoulders, abs, etc. Girls stared and guys came up to compliment me, it was pretty great.

The best part about GAT’s PUMP formula is that it’s stim free meaning you won’t get all jittery, have heart palpitations, etc. when you’re on it, and you’ll be able to take it closer to bedtime and fall asleep since there’s no caffeine in it.

Overall, I’m in love with this formula and definitely recommend it to beginners and veterans alike because of its power and how much veins it gives you all over your body.

(Update May 2022: My Current Favorite Preworkout is HTLT’s Preworkout.)

Recovery Supplements

Testogen Boosts Testosterone

Next, we have recovery supplements. These will allow you to heal and build muscle faster and not feel as sore and drained after a workout.

To keep things simple, there’s really only a couple things you need.

To start, a good whey protein powder that will help to repair your muscles IMMEDIATELY after a workout and get the protein necessary to build your muscles.

Next, creatine is an absolute must if you’re trying to get ripped naturally.

Creatine has oftentimes been referred to as a “legal steroid” because of it’s effectiveness in putting on muscle and improving athletic performance.

In fact creatine alone has been proven to significantly increase strength and athletic performance when taken everyday at around 3-5 grams a day. [R]

Lastly, we have supplements that can boost testosterone or help you recover faster.

There’s tons of these supplements but here’s the best supplements to recover faster and boost testosterone:

The last one, is by far one of the best supplements to get ripped naturally. That along with creatine.

The reason why Testogen works is because it contains a ton of natural ingredients that have all been scientifically proven to boost testosterone production through the roof.

The first time I took Testogen I was shattering my PR’s within a week and had crazy levels of confidence (often a result of having high T levels).

So if you’re interested then you can get Testogen here and use code “SAVE20” to get 20% off your entire order.

Step 5. Adopt The Mindset

Michal Jordan Quote

Lastly, and arguably most important is getting your mindset right.

There’s a couple of things you need to internalize when starting your bodybuilding journey to get shredded.

Most guys who aren’t that serious about getting jacked end up quitting in like a month because they don’t look like Michael B. Jordan yet.

The truth is, is that unless you’re on massive amounts of steroids, getting ripped naturally takes a lot of time, dedication and consistency… at first

Eventually, you’ll start to gain momentum, and you’ll realize it’s actually incredibly easy to get ripped after you internalize the right habits and beliefs which is what we’re here to do right now.

How To Get Ripped Naturally

One thing to know is that getting huge does NOT mean you will get ripped abs and look good.

Getting ripped comes down to having good muscle definition and being lean enough to SEE that definition.

Not to be rude but a lot of the guys I know who go to the gym trying to get as huge as possible end up looking like shit, and they wonder why.

“I keep getting bigger but I just don’t know what I’m missing” what they’re missing is the right proportions and lean bodyfat.

To get your proportions right, go for nice broad, wide shoulders and lats to create that V-taper in your physique.

How to Put On Muscle Fast

When it comes to putting on muscle fast you need to be prepared to eat… a LOT.

People are often surprised when they find out I eat as much for breakfast as they do in an ENTIRE DAY.

But it’s just a fact, if you want to get jacked and put on muscle as fast as possible you need to eat way more than you already do.

To make this easy you can download a calorie calculator and simply just try to get at least 500 more calories than you do currently.

A really simple way to do this is just add a glass of milk to every one of your meals. A glass of milk will have roughly 200-250 calories in it and good protein and calcium content.

On top of this nuts and peanut butter are also great for getting more calories.

However you decide to do it, you need to eat a lot more if you want to BE a lot more.

Remember you are what you eat, so eat massive if you want to BE massive.

How To Get Shredded Quickly

Shredding comes down to your diet. End of story.

If you’re eating junk all the time, you will not get shredded.

If you’re eating a ton of lean protein, cutting back the unhealthy fats, and getting tons of greens with great macronutrient profiles though? Then you will get shredded.

Although getting shredded mainly comes down to your diet, the best non-diet related tip I know if is to do fasted cardio to absolutely shred fat.

When you do fasted cardio your body burns its own fat as a source of fuel to run off of. You do this for long enough and you will get shredded guaranteed.

Make sure to get at least a gallon of water a day too to help fight water retention or “water weight” which can often look like an extra layer of fat.

No Pain No Gain

It’s not just a fun saying. When it comes to bodybuilding, it’s a fact.

When you get to the end of your set, and your body wants to quit and you FORCE out a couple more reps? THAT’S when you grow.

Think about it, if you always stay inside your comfort zone, how will you ever grow? You won’t.

You gotta push yourself, and the times when your mind is telling you to quit is when you need to tell it to shut the fuck up, and do 5 more reps.

Consistency Over Intensity

Lastly, to end this article is the idea that consistency is better than intensity ninety-nine times out of a hundred.

Getting ripped naturally is a marathon, not a sprint.

It doesn’t matter if you do everything perfectly one day but then you eat like shit and become a couch potato for the rest of the week.

What’s more effective is eating 80% clean, and doing your workout 80% perfectly every time, and work on improving those numbers over time.

If you go down the first path, in a month or two you’ll be wondering why you see little to no results at all.

If you go down the second path however, you’re progress will be slow at first, but you’ll be improving yourself every single day, maybe even by only 1%.

That 1% everyday though will start to compound, and maybe one day you decide to invest in supplements to improve your daily lift session.

Then suddenly you improved yourself by 5% in a day… and so forth.

By the time a year rolls around, that first guy will either understand that he needs to switch to being more consistent to make progress, or he’ll quit altogether because he didn’t see any results.

The second guy? He will be light years ahead of the first guy.

He’ll be shredded, much bigger muscles than when he started, but most important he’ll have all the proper habits down.

And when he doesn’t even have to consciously think about proper form and whatnot, he’s freed up to focus everything on lifting heavier, eating better, etc.

Consistency my friends, will get you farther than inconsistent intensity EVER will.

How to Get Ripped Naturally: The Bottom Line

At this point, I’ve given you everything you need to get ripped naturally.

If you enjoyed the article, I would HIGHLY recommend you get my first ever product “The Aesthetic Abs Series

It has literally ALL of my knowledge from over 5 years of lifting and all of my elite level tips that I don’t share anywhere else, and more.

Don’t take my word for it though. Try it for yourself for 60 days and if you don’t get any results then shoot me an email and I’ll get you your money back to you.

Overall, I hope you enjoyed this article and hope that you can use it to get the physique you’ve always dreamed of.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or concerns feel free to shoot me an email at matthewcarter@hardgainerbodybuilding.com or if you want, dm me on insta @realmatthewcarter

Until next time,

– Matthew Carter

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