The ULTIMATE Bodyweight Guide to Getting Lean and Ripped

Written By: Todd Kuslikis
March 17, 2016

*This is a guest post by my good friend Raza Imam

For lots of people, getting lean and ripped seems like an unachievable goal.

But it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

getting lean exercise

I’m a busy father of two young boys. I have a 2 hour daily commute. I have a very demanding IT job at a hospital. So I can relate to the average busy guy.

What I’m going to do today is show you a very deliberate formula and list of inclusions that I follow to help you get the body that you want, in as little time as possible.

Of course, everyone is different, and your results will vary, but I can guarantee that if you start to incorporate these tips into your daily routine, you’ll be well on your way to getting ripped; without expensive gym memberships, scammy supplements, or gimmicky fitness gadgets.

Sound good? Let’s get started.

Why Only Use Bodyweight Exercises?

Okay, so let me do a bit of explaining.

I’m not saying that using bodyweight exercises is the only way to get ripped. So it’s not like this guide is the ONLY way to get ripped.

It’s not.

In fact, I like to lift weights and have been doing so for quite a while. But the cold, hard truth is that strength coaches like Elliott Hulse, Mark Rippetoe, Jason Ferruggia, and Jim Wendler, (not to mention Todd Kuslikis) understand the value of bodyweight exercises.

I have been interested in fitness ever since I was a teenager, and like Todd, I was actively involved in martial arts. So I always appreciated the value of bodyweight exercises for overall fitness and strength and getting lean and ripped. I’ve tried a lot of different things, but I keep coming back to the importance of bodyweight training.

Today all I am doing is sharing the tactics, strategies, and tricks that I have seen make a big difference, especially for busy guys that don’t have time to slave away in a gym.

I’m hoping that you might read something new, apply it to your own life and see a big difference in your own results.

Step 1: Visualize Your Goal

Let’s get started by discussing the importance of goals. Setting realistic goals is crucial to accomplishing anything worthwhile in life whether you want to save for your retirement, get a Masters degree, educational goal, or learn a new language.

Fitness is no different.

Part of having a goal is to have a plan to achieve that goal. That means coming up with exact, specific steps you can need to take to get the body you want.

Here’s a quick goal that I wrote and put in my phone. I have it popup everyday at 6:30am. I read it to myself and visualize the steps I need to take to hit my goal. You can create something like this for yourself:

“I have the body I want because I workout ___ times per week. I do _____ each day. I do _____ minutes of cardio/HIIT on _____ days.
I eat _______ for lunch and drink ______g of protein per day and _____ g fat and carbs per day.

It sounds simple, but defining an end goal, and the exact steps you need to take to achieve your goal will set you on the right track.

Step 2: Plan Out Your Diet

getting lean diet

We’ve all heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym” so if you want to get lean and muscular, you’re going to have to focus on what you eat.

In fact, it’s not a stretch to say that diet accounts for 80% of your results. But don’t worry, I’m going to show you a simple template for eating that not only tastes good, but helps you get lean and muscular.
Between kids’ birthday parties, family gatherings, neighborhood barbeques, and business lunches, how in the world is the average guy supposed to eat right?

The key is to plan what you eat. My wife is a dietitian, and one of the first things she tells new clients to do is to keep a journal of everything they eat for a few days. Every packet of sugar in their coffee, every handful of “healthy trail mix”, every serving of salad dressing.

Like they say “you can’t manage what you don’t measure”, so simply seeing what you eat is very eye-opening to a lot of people.

But we’re going to do the same process in REVERSE.

So instead of looking at what you’ve already eaten, you’re going to make a plan of what you’re going to eat. This puts you in control of the process. See how effective this can be?

Here’s what you need to do:

Make a List of Your Favorite Foods: For me it’s Greek yogurt w/ chocolate covered almonds, Steak w/ rice and asparagus, Salmon w/spinach and capers, Grilled chicken w/sweet potatoes and broccoli, Buffalo chicken salad, and French toast.

Calculate Your Daily Caloric Needs:  Then calculate how many calories your body needs on a daily basis based on your age, gender, and current activity levels. If you want to gain muscle, you’ll eat 10% above your caloric needs, if you want to burn fat, you’ll eat 10%-20% below your daily caloric needs. Then just cook your favorite foods, making sure that you calculate the right amount of calories.

Just make sure you cook your meals on your day off and you’re good to go.

Here’s an example of how I eat during a typical work day:

  • 9:00am black coffee w/ Stevia and 24 ounces of ice water
  • 10:00am black coffee w/ Stevia and 24 ounces of ice water
  • 11:00am black coffee w/ Stevia and 24 ounces of ice water

Workout during lunch (take 10 grams of branch chain amino acids)
1:00pm 50 grams of protein powder with 1 cup almond milk (or water), 2 cups of Greek yogurt with chocolate almonds and frozen blueberries, Turkey sandwich
6:00pm Whatever my wife makes for dinner

This way I can hit my protein numbers (roughly 160 grams per day) and have a big, satisfying dinner. Drinking coffee in the morning helps curb my hunger and keeps me sharp and alert at work (when I have breakfast I’m starving by the time I get to work!)

You can make your own diet plan from any of your favorite foods: Lean sources like beef, turkey, chicken, bison, salmon, tuna, greek yogurt, and eggs should be your main sources of muscle-building protein.

Carbs such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, rice, quinoa, sprouted bread, fruits, and vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, green peppers, carrots, squash, eggplant, etc.) can give you the vital nutrients and energy you need.

Fats like almonds, almond butter (and other nut butters), avocado, coconut oil, fish oil, and olive oil give you the necessary essential fatty acids you need to produce testosterone

The “get ripped quick” diet is really as simple as that. This is the #1 secret to to burn fat and start building muscle. No extreme dieting. No insane cravings. No long hours in the gym. You’re eating all of your favorite foods AND burning fat.

Step 3: Do Simple Bodyweight Workouts

pull up

With a solid goal and a well-planned out meal plan (that you’ll actually like), you’re on track to getting ripped. Now we get to the workouts.

I like to lift weights these days, but I’m in love with bodyweight exercises. Pushups, pullups, burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers, and my all time favorite; dips. I can’t get enough of them.

I know Todd has a TON of great workouts, so I wanted to share the one that I personally do. If you’re just getting started, don’t worry because we’re going to take it slow in the beginning. But over time we’ll add more repetitions. You’ll notice yourself getting stronger and leaner in the process.

Each week, you want to add 3-5 more reps and 1 more set. There are no hard and fast rules here. The point is to do a little bit more each week than you did the previous week.

Here’s a sample week:

  • Monday: 10 pushups followed by 10 burpees followed by 5 pullups. Rest one minute and repeat 2 more times (the following week you can do 15 pushups, 15 burpees, and 6 pullups or the you can do 4 total rounds with the same number of repetitions, and so forth each week)
  • Tuesday: 5 burpees followed by 5 split squats followed by 5 mountain climbers, followed by 5 high knees. Rest one minute and repeat 2 more times (again, the next week you can add more repetitions or more
  • Wednesday: 10 pushups followed by 10 burpees followed by 5 pullups. Rest one minute and repeat 2 more times (the following week you can do 15 pushups, 15 burpees, and 6 pullups or the you can do 4 total rounds with the same number of repetitions, and so forth each week)
  • Thursday: 5 burpees followed by 5 split squats followed by 5 mountain climbers, followed by 5 high knees. Rest one minute and repeat 2 more times (again, the next week you can add more repetitions or more
  • Friday: 10 pushups followed by 10 burpees followed by 5 pullups. Rest one minute and repeat 2 more times (the following week you can do 15 pushups, 15 burpees, and 6 pullups or the you can do 4 total rounds with the same number of repetitions, and so forth each week)

As you get stronger, add more reps, or even another exercise like dips, or wall pushups, or pistol squats on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or to cut your rest time from 1 minute to 30 seconds. The key is to progressively make the workouts harder as you get stronger.

This workout is so easy that it can be done in less than 25 minutes. If you have kids (like me), you can do this with them at the park, or at home. You’re going to have to figure out how to keep them from jumping on your back when doing pushups though! (sorry, no suggestions for you there)

The benefit of doing this workout is that you naturally combine resistance training with high intensity cardio; allowing you to build muscle and burn fat.

Wrapping It All Up

Whew, we’ve covered a lot. But it’s literally everything you’d need to know to get lean and ripped using body weight exercises. To sum it all up, you have to focus on the 3 key areas:

  • Concrete Goals with Action Steps
  • Healthy Foods You Like to Eat
  • Simple Workouts You Can Actually Do

I know it sounds simple, but that’s because it is. All you need to do is put the plan into action.

Show/Hide Comments (10 comments)
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10 Comments
  1. Steve

    Hey Raza is there anything else people use in the mornings to blunt hunger besides Coffee? I don’t like Coffee.

    Reply
    • Tom

      Hey Steve,

      The coffee itself does have a particularly good effect to blunt hunger, but a lot of it is the caffeine. You could try various types of tea (without milk – you don’t want something that will break your fast). Tea bags are fine, but loose leaf does taste better if brewed right. The secret is to take the tea leaves out after 3-4 minutes of brewing (depends on the tea) – this stops it getting bitter. Some of my favourites are:

      – Yerba Mate (you can brew this like normal tea or the traditional way)
      – normal black tea – English breakfast, or Irish breakfast etc.
      – green tea – standard ‘green tea’ is fine
      – Japanese Sencha – a fancy very tasty green tea.
      – oolong tea – a stronger deeper flavour black tea. There are plenty of different kinds to try.

      I hope that helps! Have an awesome day.

      Reply
  2. Ryan Collins

    Have you heard of Victor Pride’s daily workout routine on boldanddetermined? I’ve been doing it daily and seeing some excellent results. I do 100 pushups, 100 situps and 100 body squats daily along with my workout routine.

    Reply
  3. Tim

    Hey Todd,

    Love your blog, I’m new at blogging and I would love to start a good relationship with you. I’m the owner of https://anabolicfacts.com

    I will be reading your future posts 🙂

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Nice to meet you Tim! 😀

      Reply
  4. Larry Semark

    Hi Todd,

    Great program. Thanks for keeping it down to earth. Some bodyweight trainers make their sessions so complex that only a gymnast could do them!!!

    Take care,

    Larry Semark, Fit Technician

    Reply
  5. Raza

    Todd,

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to post on your blog. I’m humbled and honored.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Thank you Raza! I am the one that’s honored! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Mike Asara

    I agree with keeping bodyweight workouts simple. The basis ones are actually the most effective such as the push up, pullup, and burpees.

    Reply
    • Todd Kuslikis

      Hey Mike, the basics are great especially for the masses because they are so simple. 🙂

      Reply
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