What is Shredding?

What is Shredding?

What is shredding? No, we’re not talking about sensitive paper documents. Nor are we talking about heavy metal guitar solos. When it comes to working out, shredding is associated with muscle definition. A so-called “shredded” muscle is well defined, and there are specific methods of attaining it through exercise.

There are plenty of misconceptions about shredding, including what exactly it is and what exercises can help attain the desired results. Here, I’ll shed some light on shredding and how it can play into your own personal fitness challenge.

What is shredding?

In the fitness arena, “shredding” is a term used to describe a workout that burns body fat to make the muscles look more defined.

But what is shredding, exactly? After all, it’s become kind of a trending term, and many programs and books promise to deliver “shredded” results. However, shredding isn’t quite as simple as starting a diet and doing the same exercise routine two times a week. It’s a specific method of building muscle.

Further, shredding isn’t a stand-alone process. Shredding is only one part of the equation: to really attain these results, you need to employ a combination of three processes:

Bulking / Cutting / Shredding

Here, I’ll explain each one, so that you’ll gain a better understanding of the process of attaining this definition.

Phase One: Bulking

Simply put, bulking is the phase of the muscle growth process wherein you are looking to gain in muscle size. To do this, typically extra calories are ingested. The caloric surplus will increase mass, which you will then turn around and “sculpt” in the next phase, which is cutting.

It’s important to make some distinctions about bulking, though. It is NOT an excuse to binge on milkshakes and cookies. If anything, poor dietary choices will just build mass and reduce your energy and will to work out, which is the opposite of your desired result.

Bulking should always be done carefully and with “clean” food choices, including high quality protein, fat, and carbohydrate sources.

Bulking may not be appropriate for everyone, particularly those who are overweight. It’s a good idea to consult with a diet and training expert to determine what is appropriate for you in this regard.

Phase Two: Cutting

In the bulking phase, you’re adding mass to the muscle. Regardless of how “clean” you’re eating, you’re likely to gain a little bit of fat. The so-called “cutting” phase is when you make concerted efforts to reduce the fat accumulation while maintaining the muscle size you’ve built. In this way, you’re “cutting” the muscle to a desirous level of definition while reducing the fat around it.

In terms of exercise, a cutting phase might involve more cardio in addition to weights.

Often, the cutting phase is characterized by eating significantly less than during the bulking phase. This is because you no longer want to build muscle mass during this time. However, it’s important to maintain a diet which will meet your nutritional needs so that you can maintain energy and vitality.

Phase Three: Shredding

After cutting, it’s time to shred. Shredding, as previously noted, is attained through workouts which burn body fat to make the muscles look more defined. A shredded look is characterized by a lower body fat percentage than cutting. By maintaining lean muscle, you get a more “ripped” look.

Once again, the diet and workouts necessary to attain this look will vary depending on the individual. Additionally, some people don’t feel the need to “shred” and are instead content with a cycle of bulk and cut.


  • Consider your individual needs. Don’t just start a bulk-cut-shred cycle without first considering your personal fitness goals. For instance, if you are overweight, you may want to first work on getting down to a healthy weight first.
  • Take it easy. It can be easy to get obsessive with counting calories and tracking workouts when taking on a bulk-cut-shred regime. Slow but steady wins the race here. You want to create a physique that looks good but is also sustainable.
  • Consult an expert. Working with a diet and training expert is key in taking on this and every phase of attaining and maintaining your desired level of muscle definition and weight management. At the New You Challenge, we work with our members to create a personalized diet and fitness routine that works for you.

To conclude…what is shredding? Simply put, it’s part of a technique of sculpting your muscles to attain a certain look. By reading this post, hopefully you have a better understanding of the process involved in attaining a shredded look.

Have you ever tried to get a shredded look? 

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