by Negrita Jayde and Bill Reynolds
This is a very long article – but it is an essential read it if you want to get on stage and be Shredded!!
Too many people believe that ripped is Shredded – but it certainly isn’t!!
The Full House state is characterised by a liberal deposit of interstitial and subcutaneous water and fat that has the cosmetic effect of bending all the muscle groups together into a uniform smooth appearance.
This is the official “off-season” look. If you were in Full House condition and gained any additional water and fat, you would become big and fat. Unless you were born with deep facial dimples, you have no cuts anywhere on a Full House physique.
Other points of note:
Waistline is slightly distended, yet firm to the touch and capable of shrinking to a smaller state once the abs are tensed.
Although muscular girths measure the biggest, they appear the least impressive virtually of all the states.
This is your physically strongest state because the additional water provides your joints with extra leverage.
The face is typically puffy: vascularity is almost entirely absent. A male would weight more than 30 pounds over the Sliced state, and a female bodybuilder more than 20 pounds over.
People may mistake you for a football player or wrestler in this state, as your muscle clarity and overall shape would not directly indicate that you are a bodybuilder.
You should still be able to see obscured muscle lines or blurry portions of muscle separation in your abdominal region.
Although you appear massive in clothing, you look much better with your clothes on than with them off.
When you strike a double-biceps pose, there is no striking visual transformation in your physique. Remember, you can’t flex fat.
When you start dieting, your body changes overnight.
More and more bodybuilders are staying away from the Full House look and are opting instead for a tighter off-season appearance. This should be your goal as well, and the state to shoot for is referred to as Hard.
The Hard state is typified by a moderate amount of interstitial and subcutaneous water and fat around the body that has the cosmetic effect of gently rounding out the muscle groups into a shapely, powerful look. This is the true off-season look you should aspire to.
If you gain additional water and fat when you are Hard, you become Full House.
Although there are no cuts on the Hard physique, the lower percentage of body fat creates a visually perceptible difference in the outward contour of the muscle groups. This makes them more pleasantly shaped and enhances the overall symmetry as well.
Here are addition points that are unique to the Hard condition:
Even though you weigh less than Full House, you actually appear bigger because of the improved muscle shape.
The state of being Hard is a wide condition. Unlike Full House, a several-pound loss produces varying degrees of the same look.
The waist is the first region to change dramatically. Males typically lose 2 inches from their waistlines, and females 1-1 1/2 inches, when they become Hard.
Although muscle separation still appears as obscured lines, the number of prominent lines rises sharply from Full House to Hard.
When you strike a double-biceps pose, the arms appear to have more height, the upper torso has a better V-taper, and there is a greater detail to the lower rib cage when compared to Full House.
When viewed outdoors from a distance of 30 feet, the Hard body looks big and shapely. When it is viewed from 6 feet away, there is a large drop in visual impressiveness.
More facial contours start to appear, and vascularity starts to hint more prominently near the surface of the forearms.
A male would weigh between 24 and 30 pounds over the Sliced condition, plus or minus 2 pounds. A female would weigh between 16 and 21 pounds over Sliced, plus or minus 2 pounds.
The Cut physique is the first state where genetically predisposed areas of the body start to display groove like formations of muscle fibres. These are the first signs of being Cut. For some bodybuilders, this may occur in the deltoid region, for others in the abdominals, but all weight-trained bodies have a particular muscle group that shows cuts first. This also means that the remaining regions of the physique will be less cut as a result of greater amounts of interstitial and subcutaneous water and fat stored there. From an overall stand-point, muscle roundness becomes considerably more pronounced in this state. Cut carries these features as well:
The Cut physique is the first state where genetically predisposed areas of the body start to display groove like formations of muscle fibres. These are the first signs of being Cut. For some bodybuilders, this may occur in the deltoid region, for others in the abdominals, but all weight-trained bodies have a particular muscle group that shows cuts first. This also means that the remaining regions of the physique will be less cut as a result of greater amounts of interstitial and subcutaneous water and fat stored there. From an overall stand-point, muscle roundness becomes considerably more pronounced in this state.
Cut carries these features as well:
Although you appear weight-trained in clothes, you look slightly better with your clothes off than with them on.
The face becomes more etched, vascularity is clearer in the forearm region, and most people immediately recognise you as a bodybuilder.
A male weighs between 14 and 24 pounds over the Sliced state. A female weighs 12 to 16 pounds over Sliced. This is the widest state because it takes a steady weight decrease in order for cuts to appear in new locations.
When viewed from 30 feet away, the Cut person looks big and symmetrical outdoors. When he or she is seen from 6 feet, the viewer’s eyes tend to be drawn towards the less impressive regions, as visual contrasts now exist on the body of a Cut bodybuilder.
When you are posing the double-biceps shot, your legs show the general outlines of some of the muscle heads.
You lose about 1 – 1 1/2 inches from your waistline when you become Cut.
With a good workout pump, this is the first state where you begin to look impressive in the gym mirror, especially in morning light.
When improving from Hard to Cut, you lose slightly more size in the thighs than you do in the arms.
This condition carries a minimal amount of interstitial and subcutaneous water and fat, which has the visual property of defining the outlines of each muscle group.
Simply stated, when you add more cuts to the Cut state, eventually you carve out and separate each muscle gorup from an adjacent one. The morphology of the muscles becomes visually defined, and you in turn achieve the Defined state.
If even one area shows no detail to the muscle area, you are still Cut, not Defined.
In addition, a good rule of thumb to remember is that once your naturally cut area starts to melt into the rest of your physique, it is quite likely you are Defined.
Here are more pointers to Defined:
You will experience your first real power drop during the Defined stage.
Cheekbones start to push outward, hints of vascularity start to appear on the thighs, and veins on the arms raise higher from the skin’s surface.
When you hit the compulsory double-biceps pose, muscle lines occur everywhere. The biceps and triceps are cleanly separated, and you can see where the lats insert, the waist forms an indentation underneath the rib cage, and the thighs show more distinctness in each muscle group.
When viewed outdoors from 30 feet away, the Defined bodybuilder looks impressive. When he or she is seen from 6 feet away, the viewer observes a greater uniformity to the bodily definition but is still drawn to areas that need more surface detailing.
Although you appear athletic in clothing, you look definitely better with your clothes off than with them on.
You lose another 1 – 1 1/4 inches from your waistline.
While certain lighting conditions make you look very good, when you stand under fluorescent light, most of your lines become less pronounced. The Defined cuts are still not deep enough to resist the washout effect.
The weak points on your physique become clearly noticeable when Defined. It is an excellent time to start specialisation work.
A man would weigh between 8 and 14 pounds over the Sliced condition, a woman between 6 and 12 pounds from the state of being Sliced.
The Ripped physique is characterised by less than minimal degrees of water and body fat, which tends to highlight the striations and surface irregularities of various muscle groups.
Anatomically speaking, as you add more cuts to the Defined stage, your skin starts to fold over and fall into numerous angles that are unique to a specific muscle. This creates the presence of striations and sets up the multi-angled look to each muscle group.
Over 70 percent of all bodybuilding contests are won in the Ripped state. With two stages left, this tells you how difficult it is for most bodybuilders to surpass Ripped.
Here is how you know whether you are Ripped:
The cheekbones are quite prominent, vascularity is scattered over the entire body, hints of cross-striations occur in the thighs, triceps, and possibly the abdominal regions. A clean pectoral line is still evident, even when you put your arms above your head.
When you strike the double-biceps pose, the forearms should appear knotted and hard, the biceps will have surface markings on the peak, and the middle head of the thighs will be clearly visible and separated from the inner and outer thighs.
When viewed from 30 feet away, you look quite impressive in the outdoor light. Wehn seen from six feet away, you still appear impressive, although less so.
You appear somewhat average in your clothes, but when you take them off, the transformation is striking.
A bystander who sees a Ripped bodybuilder will stare intently.
The state of being Ripped is a narrow condition. That is because, at this point, the addition of cuts will produce a radical cosmetic difference in your physique.
Guys who are Ripped will weigh three to seven pounds over the Sliced level. Women will weigh two to five pounds away from Sliced.
As you graduate from Defined to Ripped, your thigh measurement will further decrease, up to one inch less from one stage to the next.
Although you won’t look your best in fluorescent light, the Ripped physique will not suffer the same degree of washout that Defined did.
Members of the opposite sex will notice you much more in the Ripped state. Even if they see only your face, the deeper contours will draw stares of curiosity and perhaps an unexpected date after the show. Hmmm.
The Sliced bodybuilder carries trace levels of water and body fat, which creates the dramatic visual effect of adding new cross-striations to certain muscles, as well as deepening the already existent cross-striations. Achieving the Sliced stage accounts for 29 percent of the victories in all bodybuilding shows. This is also the stage where everyone calls the winner Shredded, but in truth he or she is not really Shredded.
Incidentally, the Sliced state increases the apparent density of the physique as well (more on this later).
Here’s how you know if you have become Sliced:
An amateur magician has just accidentally sawed your body into three sections (just kidding!).
When viewed outdoors from 30 feet away, the Sliced body looks fantastic. When seen from 6 feet away, it still appears truly impressive.
The cheekbones are very prominent, and the veins are raised prominently away from the skin’s surface, no matter where they are located.
It is extremely easy to flex a muscle group and cause it to jump out at you visually.
Men who are Sliced have about three pounds to play with in this state; once they go over that, they immediately drop to Ripped.
Women have a two-pound leeway to float with. As you can see, a two- or three-pound weight gain is all it takes to slide you back to Ripped. Conversely, those two or three pounds removed can almost assure you of a victory. With Sliced, we are dealing a subtle state.
When you do the double-biceps shot, the transition from relaxed to flexed is phenomenal. The skin has a translucent quality and appears to be wrapped tightly around the muscle bellies like freezer plastic wrap. Every muscle group stands out in bold relief.
Unless you compete as a heavyweight, you will look small in clothes. Once you remove the clothes, however, it is not uncommon to hear shrieks of amazement from a crowd of onlookers. Even your dog will stare at you.
The glutes have striations running across them. The triceps and thighs are heavily feathered, although a certain amount of this is genetic as well.
Moving from Ripped to Sliced will further decrease the waist-line by about a half-inch.
You can see your cross-striations even in fluorescent light, and in the gym light you appear to be bordering on the freaky.
To go from Sliced to Shredded, you need to drop an extra three to four pounds. Obviously, it won’t be coming from fat loss much, so the majority of this change will be in the amount of subcutaneous water.
The highest condition of muscularity you can attain is Shredded. Less than 1 percent of all bodybuilders ever achieve the Shredded state.
It is characterised by an absolute zero appearance of water and fat, which makes the possessor of this state look as though he or she has no skin covering the muscles. This state is the zenith of cosmetic levels and is truly freaky to behold. Cross-striations show up in strange and unheard-of locations when one is Shredded.
I (Negrita) can vividly recall a competitors’ meeting at the 1986 Canadian Nationals, when a woman named Donna Flamont was seated beside me. Donna was chewing gum, and her jaw muscles were deeply cross-striated and dancing wildly like rows of piano keys. Every square inch of her was like that. Even her middle thigh, the rectus femoris, was radically cross-striated. Donna literally did not have to flex her muscles in order to show those hundred thousand striations across every muscle fibre. (By the way, Donna Flamont won so convincingly that it was actually hilarious when other women stood next to her onstage.)
Here’s what to expect if you want the ultimate degree of muscular definition:
When viewed from 30 feet away in the outdoor sunlight, the Shredded physique will not look much different from a Sliced one. However, when seen from 6 feet away, it will absolutely stun you visually! Your eyes will keep darting all over the body because it is so totally mesmerising to look at. Seriously, it will appear freaky from 6 feet away. For some people, such a body will be too much to like right away; others will be visually G-forced but completely appreciate it anyway.
Believe us, being Shredded creates strong reactions from the bodybuilding population. As for the general public, they may lose their breakfasts. It is simply beyond their wildest imagination.
The state of being Shredded can only be held for hours at a time. since so many biochemical processes have to maximised to create this effect, it is very easy for the body to start changing one thing, and then the whole picture reverts to Sliced. Bodybuilders who are Sliced can be photographed the next day and still hold that condition. Shredded types should be photographed immediately.
Shredded bodybuilders look like rakes in clothes. When they take their clothes off at a weigh-in, however, all the other bodybuilders get the immediate urge to go home.
If a Shredded bodybuilder stands beside a Cut one, the Cut person will look like a Full House. The state of being Shredded is the instant eliminator of anyone wishing to stand beside a Shredded bodybuilder. It is the ultimate giant-killer state.
When a Shredded bodybuilder makes the slightest physical movement, everything flexes and striates. Even eating an apple seems to take on an out-of-this-world look of importance and purpose.
The Shredded state gives its possessor a unique advantage. It is excellent for hiding the structural faults of the development. Because the observer’s eyes are kept so busy, it is much harder to view the symmetry objectively.
Each muscle group appears as though it is sitting right off the bone for you to grab.
You can usually see the insertion points of the lower jaw mandible, the veins are hanging out big-time, and even the muscles of the feet are clearly prominent and separated.
Fluorescent light does nothing to weaken the visual picture of a Shredded physique.
Members of the opposite sex will probably wonder whether they should feed you. If they do, you will instantly drop to a Sliced condition, and then you can give the situation a more interesting ending.
The muscular measurements of a Shredded bodybuilder will be much smaller than what you imagine. However, once that person stands under the bright lights on stage, he or she will appear enormous.
So there you have it! How to tell what stage of definition you are at. If those descriptions don’t fire you up then I don’t know what will! For me they are incredibly inspirational and after reading I redouble my dieting efforts. Fantastic!
I am the master of my fate.
I am the captain of my soul.