I think it’s so important to discuss the trade-off and what actually happens when females get shredded.
Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of messages like “help me look like you!” Or “Body goals!” after I post a picture of my body when I was competing.
I totally get that it looks cool and the fitness industry is selling “small waist, shredded delts, tight glutes” via cover models.
I also know that part of loving how you look is so that you can enjoy life more, right?
I know you believe you want to be this lean, but I’m here to tell you why you don’t.
Don’t get me wrong… it was a great experience to compete and even continue working toward a better physique, but that look is for a very temporary specific end goal. (ie competition, photo shoot etc)
If you haven’t been through it before, it’s easy to see the amazing physique and not know what all comes with the territory.
Having been through it, I can tell you what you will experience when you are shredded then you can decide if that is what you want.
So let’s dive in!
For a female who wants to be shredded, (lower-than-normal body fat percentage: let’s say <10-12%) here is what you can expect:
Due to the nature of being so lean as a female, our hormones get in a tizzy.
Our bodies are meant to be the CHILD BEARER and thus carry a higher body fat percentage than males. We also have an entirely different range of hormonal balance than males so when we get too lean, we can really disrupt that.
Sleep is definitely influenced by hormones. You will feel like you slept, but your REM sleep will be lacking. You wake feeling like a zombie.
Team Always Tired
Not only are you getting poor sleep, but you will naturally be more tired with less body fat and severely low calories as your body is depleted of energy stores.
I remember being so tired that I struggled to take Quinn to the park or walk around the block. I was not a good mom in terms of having energy for her.
Prepare to face the constant hunger beast all day long.
I’m not talking about hunger before a meal and then you are fine once you eat. I am talking “I’M STARVING” all day no matter if you just ate a meal.
All you can think about is eating no matter what tricks you use like diet carbonated drinks, tons of lettuce, and ice chips. Forget feeling full, you won’t even feel satisfied.
Prepare to have awful focus and memory. I literally rear ended someone while driving because I had such brain fog.
You feel like you are in a dream all the time. (And most of the time you are dreaming about food.)
Being shredded = feeling like shit.
You will be cranky all. the. time.
While normally you might be a pretty positive and happy-go-lucky person, you will have a very short fuse and your patience will be nearly nothing.
You might feel like you look incredible, especially when you get a pump and take a gym selfie for the insta. But if you are like me, you don’t feel sexy.
Part of being shredded means you will look “hard” and kind of masculine.
You lose the feminine curves.
And there are other days that you have low carbs and you look “flat” which makes you feel even less excited. I missed being able to put on a bikini and look HOT even though I looked fit.
Sex Drive, Zero
Expect to have ZERO sex drive.
And to be honest, if you do have sex, it isn’t enjoyable because your hormones are so off that you are dry, it’s uncomfortable, you can’t get aroused, etc.
Trust me on this one… sex > shredded.
Your room for error with training and nutrition is gone.
Every calorie is critical and you lose a lot of flexibility with your diet. You would need to eat every meal prepared by yourself, weighed and tracked.
There would be no social dining or having that glass of wine.
Your food also gets very bland because you can’t spare the extra calories. (Can’t stomach wasting chewable calories on something like ketchup!)
Expect to sacrifice time spent with your family or special occasions because for some it can be too hard to be around the food and not be able to eat it. I used to go and pack my food and even then I had to deal with comments from family. As you can see here, I had my food bag with me!
Performance In The Shitter
If you enjoy feeling strong or having great energy for your workouts, you will not feel this when you get shredded.
You feel tired, the weight feels heavier than normal, every workout is the hardest workout of your life. It’s extremely challenging to get a “pump” and recovery also becomes harder.
Expect some (or most) strength and performance to be lost.
Loss of Period
Most women experience changes in their menstrual cycle or even amenorrhea (loss of period.) Although it’s “normal” it’s not healthy!
I didn’t lose my period but I had irregularity which is really uncommon for me. At two shows, I started a week early, right before going on stage!
This is probably the one that caught me the most off guard…
Once you are shredded for any length of time, the brain starts to register it as the new norm. Any little bit of body fat put on makes you feel like a beached whale even though you still might look incredibly lean.
Being shredded is NOT healthy and should not be a year-round goal. You will need a proper reverse diet and a coach who can help you work through Body Dysmorphia.
Doesn’t that all sound wonderful? Yeahhhh, no.
Now, can you be somewhat lean and feel great?
There is a difference between shredded and lean.
It might take you a few rounds of leaning out and reverse dieting to build more muscle, but you can get to a point where you are relatively lean yet still have a ton of flexibility with food, great performance, sex drive, sleep, etc.
You can find your sweet spot!
Everyone is different with the amount of body fat they prefer so allow yourself to experience a little higher/lower to see what you enjoy most.
I help women find their sweet spot! If you are interested in more info about coaching, click here and we will be in touch soon!
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