The Workout Guide: How Long Does it Take to Get Ripped

If you’ve been to the gym, you’re likely familiar with seeing men and women with completely ripped bodies and bulging muscles. You may find yourself wondering what it takes to actually get a buff body like them.

Are they spending every waking moment pumping iron? Were they born with this insane definition? Or, did they start out looking like you and worked their way towards a sculpted body?

How Long Does it Take to Get Ripped? 

Getting a ripped body takes time and hard work. When determining how long does it take to get ripped, there are certain factors that affect this timeline, including your starting point, overall stress level, and current diet. 

In short, there is no defined time that it takes to get a ripped body. For someone who regularly works out and has a low to moderate body fat, it will take significantly less time than someone who rarely exercises and is overweight. 

Examine Your Starting Point

Where your body currently is will make a huge difference for how long it takes to become ripped. Don’t overlook this step and ignore your starting point. It’s important for two reasons:

  • It gives you a realistic visual of how long it will take to get ripped.
  • It allows you to track your progress to see how far you’ve come as you begin to see definition form.
Girl holding a tape measure against her waist


If you have a significant amount of body fat you want to lose, it could take several months (to a couple years) to have a ripped body. Don’t let this deter you from getting started! While it may take time, your progress (especially at the beginning) will be pretty visible. Use this as motivation to continue and achieve your ripped body goals. 

Understand How Much Your Body Can Lose and Gain Per Week

In addition to examining your starting point, it’s important to understand roughly how much your body can lose and gain per week. While the exact amount will differ per person, this will help to give you an approximate guideline and help to manage your expectations.

Overall, if you’re creating a proper calorie deficit, your body can lose about 1% of your overall body weight in a week. As an example, if you are 200 pounds, you’d lose about 2 pounds in a week.

Of course, there are factors that can impact this (both positively and negatively), so don’t become fixated on that math above. Some of those factors include:

  • Protein intake
  • Diet programs
  • Water intake
  • Sleep habits
  • Workout routine
  • Recent weight loss

What Can You Do to Get Ripped?

Once you’ve taken a good look at where you’re currently at in your journey of becoming ripped, there are two primary things to focus on:

  • Reducing overall body fat
  • Building up muscle

Additionally, there are a couple secondary factors to consider that can impact your timeline for getting ripped:

  • Taking time to rest
  • Being aware of stress

Reduce Body Fat

For both men and women, having a body fat percentage around 10-15% will show off your ripped muscles. Keep in mind though, this percentage is only taking into account the amount of body fat you have. It does not calculate your muscle mass, so two people with 10% body fat can still look completely different than one another. 

Examine Your Diet

To lower your body fat percentage, examine your diet. This is key to effectively reducing the amount of fat in your body. Reduce the amount of carbs and sugars you’re eating, and consider eliminating them from your dinner. Eat lean proteins and fibrous vegetables, along with small portions of healthy fats.

A healthy plate of protein

Be sure to drink plenty of water, even if you don’t think you’re thirsty. If you’re not used to drinking water throughout the day, set alarms on your phone every hour to remind yourself to consume water.

Do HIIT Workouts

For burning energy and fat, incorporate HIIT workouts into your weekly routine. Even doing a 15 minute HIIT routine will help to effectively burn fat from your body. 

Gain Muscle

Gaining lean muscle can take time and may not be as visibly immediate as burning fat.

How long it takes is also dependent on how much effort you put into actually getting ripped. For example, if you’re wondering how long to see results from lifting, you need to take the following into consideration: 

  • How often are you doing lifting-based workouts?
  • What is the intensity of these workouts?
  • Are you allowing your muscles to rest in-between lifting workouts?

Each of these points will dictate how soon you start to see results. Ideally, you should be lifting heavy weights 3-4 times per week. Doing this, along with allowing your muscles to rest between each lifting session to help them regenerate, will help your muscles form quickly.  

Know When to Rest

If you’re working out hard every day and pushing your body to the limit, it can slow down the process of becoming ripped. Hard workouts can put a lot of stress on your body, which can result in your nervous system going into shock. Rather than burning fat, your body will then hold onto it.

If this happens, there are two main things you can do to help your body start burning fat again:

  • Rest: Your body needs rest, and taking a couple days off from working out can help it recover faster. Once recovered, your body will be able to burn fat again.
  • LISS Training: If you still want to get your heart rate up without going too hard, opt for a couple days of LISS workouts. Go for a run or a bike ride outside for a change of pace and scenery.   

Be Aware of Mental Stress

Just like your body can become stressed and stop burning fat from too many hard workouts, mental stress can also negatively affect your timeline to get ripped. If there are things going on in your life that are causing high amounts of stress (career, relationship, etc.), take time to evaluate them.

Man pulling on two cables at the gym

Not only are these stresses slowing your fitness progress, your sleep schedule is also likely being disrupted. Getting a proper amount of sleep each night is crucial in muscle development, fat loss, and balancing hormones.


Getting a ripped body won’t happen overnight. Though, following the advice above will help you see results over time. The more committed you are to changing your body, the quicker the results will happen.

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