Why Men And Women Shouldn’t Stay Shredded Year Round

Why Men And Women Shouldn’t Stay Shredded Year Round

The weight you are shredded at should NOT be the weight you plan to maintain forever.

Ivan Gavranic Ivan Gavranic · May 4th, 2022

Mindset Beginner
15 Mins


    It is without question that one of the hallmarks of what we do is our ability to get regular people into absolutely incredible shape. There is no other transformation business that has been able to replicate what we have been doing for years with a variety of individuals but unfortunately, many do try and seem to do more harm than good.

    Taking someone on a transformation journey is an extremely convoluted, multi-factorial endeavour that requires so much more attention than just producing a “before and after”. It’s not uncommon for coaches working for other various organisations to meet a minimum quota each quarter to achieve a certain number of transformations but from what we have seen, once that final photo is taken we rarely ever see that same client again. Why? Because after the final pictures have been taken, you are no longer a priority to that company. 

    Here at RNT, this is the exact opposite of what our ethos truly is, which is giving you all the tools and resources to finally stay in shape forever. The first checkpoint (when a member gets into the shape of their life for the first time) is always an extremely memorable moment for many of our members (which is why we encourage everyone to consider a photoshoot) but it does not signify the end. In fact, it’s at this point where their journey truly begins as they can now start cultivating a life they have always wanted in their new body.

    We all love a fantastic checkpoint photo but what we take the most pride in is seeing how our members develop their “nutritional literacy” throughout their journeys along with making the necessary identity shift to stay at a healthy weight forever.

    *Here you can see one member explaining the difference between how he is feeling now in comparison to the many other times he has attempted to transform
    Anyone can get a decent before and after but it’s extremely rare to see those same people maintain their results for longer than a few months. 

    You Don’t Have To Be Another Statistic

    Most have heard of the crazy statistic of how 95% of diets fail but unfortunately, this number has never really been validated in research and I don’t see how it possibly can. It’s all based on self reported data with various definitions of what success and failure is.

    Either way, it is true that many people do fail with this endeavour for multiple reasons but from our own experience and working with thousands of people, higher success rates do happen with individuals who undertake the following characteristics:
    • A desire to improve their nutritional literacy (learning how to cook, meal prep, read labels, eat out sensibly, understand calories and macronutrients at a base level).
    • Find productive ways outside of comfort eating to deal with stress/emotions.
    • Take a more “trial and error” approach vs an “all or nothing” approach.
    • Discover all the other benefits that come from eating healthy and being active outside of just fat loss or muscle building.
    • Understand that they will need to make some changes in the way they live their life.
    • Understand that the process can take anywhere between 12-24 months.
    That last point is extremely important, especially with all the 6, 8, 12 week challenges that are promoted everywhere. There is a reason why we are the only ones in this space to enforce a 12 month minimum as we know all of the above points take time to not only learn, but to actually live them too. 

    It’s one thing to learn about protein and memorise a few points but it’s another thing to automatically look for it when you’re having a meal out. 

    Understanding how stress can impact our decision making is cool and all, but implementing that information when you have had a rough day is a completely different animal.

    Shredded Physique Does NOT = Lifestyle Physique

    Being successful after hitting your checkpoint does not mean maintaining the exact same condition for years after. In fact, we promote the exact opposite as if you really did take yourself to the extreme, you are not the healthiest version of yourself.

    Yes, being too lean (just like being too overweight) can lead to health consequences down the line. The body fat percentage for optimal health is actually higher than most of us believe (12-20% for males, 20-30% for females) and does not include having visible abs all year round, especially for females.

    So if we know that those ranges are healthy, why go below that? The answer here is quite simple. 

    It’s really hard to get into that sort of condition and we should welcome hard things in our life to challenge ourselves.

    When you push yourself to that level of condition, you are forced to dial everything in, meaning you become so much more efficient with your time, energy and resources. You realise just how much you can push yourself when you want something, giving you the confidence to take on other challenges in the future.

    It’s one of the very few things left in life that you cannot outsource. You cannot pay someone to do the exercise, to eat your meals, to go to bed on time, to deal with your stress, to get your walks in or to manage your relationships. We can give you all the resources to do all of those things but fundamentally, YOU must do the work.

    That sense of accomplishment that can only come from hard work, determination and patience is priceless yet so incredibly valuable. The reason we take our members to the extreme is because in that place, that is where people can realise their ultimate potential.

    The euphoria that is experienced at this stage can potentially be a double edged sword. On the one hand, you never want to let go of this look because you have worked so hard to get there yet, on the other hand, you have no energy, can’t sleep, you’re food-focused and your performance in the gym and life sucks.

    We make sure everyone we work with knows exactly what they are getting themselves into when they push the envelope along with a plan of action post checkpoint. 

    This is especially true for women as being too lean for extended periods of time can have a monumentally negative impact on not only their physical health, but mentally and emotionally as well. For years, women in the Western world have been indoctrinated with the idea of thinness equalling beauty. In fact, 1965 Slumber Party Barbie came with a set of scales set to 110lbs with an attached diet book with only one instruction.

     “DON’T EAT!”.

    We have definitely come a long way since then but with the rise of social media and various fitness influencers, the idea of “the more definition you have, the better” permeates so much despite all the science showing just how detrimental low body fat levels can be. If you were to look at the health markers for all of these women who are maintaining abs year round, you would see the most if not all, of the following:
    • Complete loss of menstrual cycle (amenorrhea) or a very irregular/unpredictable cycle (oligomenorrhea).
    • Infertility.
    • Low luteinizing hormone.
    • Low estrogen and progesterone.
    • Bone degradation/ Osteoporosis.
    • Digestive issues.
    • Hair loss/alopecia.
    • Lethargy.
    • Loss in strength.
    • Degradation of performance.
    • Disordered eating patterns.
    • High food focus.
    When your livelihood depends on looking a certain way, it can be very tempting to ignore all of the above, especially as the symptoms tend to manifest slowly. I have actually heard women say they prefer having no period, not realising that a healthy menstrual cycle is reflective of a healthy body. 

    The Female Athlete Triad

    The “Female Athlete Triad” is the combination of low energy availability (with or without an eating disorder), amenorrhea and osteoporosis all occurring at once. It was first brought to light in 1992 when clinicians were seeing these same conditions showing up in many young, adolescent female athletes competing in aesthetic based sports such as gymnastics, ballet, dancing and diving. These women would have insanely high levels of activity with relatively little food to fuel this expenditure which eventually lead to very low BMI scores, low body fat levels and a host of additional health complications.

    From this, a condition known as Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (REDS) came to fruition and is now used to monitor both female and male athletes. 

    You may be thinking “well they are athletes training for hours each day so this doesn’t apply to me” but unfortunately, you would be mistaken. If you are chronically undereating in relation to how much energy you’re expending, then there is a good chance you will be running into the same issues. In fact, even if you’re maintaining a body weight/body fat level that is too low for you despite eating a lot of calories, you will also eventually run into the symptoms mentioned above.

    This doesn’t change even if you have the ability to eat more because you’re doing more. The bottom line will always come down to energy availability, meaning there must be ample energy leftover after exercise to accommodate all the other important bodily functions. 

    When it comes to body fat, women require a certain amount to stay healthy which is ~6-11% higher than males. I understand that this is frustrating, but women are the keys to perpetuating the human race which is why they have more protective systems in place to prevent death and one of them is the propensity to easily store more body fat.

    This means for most, expecting to have deep abdominal separation forever is simply unrealistic and unhealthy. For some, it may be possible due to how their body stores fat or if they have always been naturally quite lean but if you suffer from any of the aforementioned symptoms and you have everything else in order, then you may need to look at increasing your body weight.

    This is why it’s very important to let go of your checkpoint weight and let it come up to something that allows you to fire on all cylinders. Fortunately, we have the tools and resources to guide you back on the way up through incremental weight gain to find your individual “sweet spot” which may only be 2kg up from checkpoint, or 5-6kg. 

    The actual number does not matter. What matters is your health and vitality over the long term. What is the point of looking great but feeling rubbish? 

    Very lean DOES NOT mean very healthy.

    How Do I Know I’m In A Healthy Place?

    The main marker we look for is reestablishment of the normal menstrual cycle for three months in a row in women who are not using oral contraceptive pills. If this isn’t possible to track accurately due to menopause or other reasons, the subjective markers of sleep, energy, digestion, strength in the gym and libido still paint a very good picture of how things are coming along.

    Even though most don’t do this, a DEXA scan to measure bone density would be extremely useful and a good accountability tool to promote the idea of gaining weight which can be mentally difficult for some. If you visually see your bone density deteriorating, gaining some weight all of a sudden looks far more appealing when the alternative is a potential broken hip by walking up some stairs.

    What About Men?

    The same concept absolutely applies for males but because of the absence of a menstrual cycle as well as the propensity to ignore subjective feelings, it can be tricky to discern. Luckily, as soon as they see their libido go the idea of staying very lean is just not appealing for many.

    An easy way to know whether you’re too lean or not as a male is to just ask yourself what is more appealing? Sex or a burger? If it’s the latter, you need to put some weight back on. 

    RNT long term member Anant got into absolutely incredible shape and as much as he really loved the challenge and pushing himself to the limit, he felt infinitely better in all areas of his life after gaining some weight.

    The Bottom Line

    A big part of what we will always continue to do is get dramatic transformations with regular people meaning if the opportunity is there and they understand what they are getting themselves into, we will push them to their limit.

    We don’t do this because we think that is the level of conditioning they must maintain for life but instead, we want them to see what is truly possible when they commit to something so they can carry that same skill into all areas of their lives.

    Every individual who goes through this also has a plan to come out the other end safely as we take pride in prioritising their health, function and vitality much higher than how many veins they have on show.

    If you’re sick of continuing to spin your wheels, trying every diet under the sun or worse, being starved by “coaches” who then blame you for not being able to stick with it, apply for our next intake and learn the ins and outs of what it takes to finally transform!
    Ivan GavranicIvan Gavranic

    Ivan Gavranic is RNT’s Head of Applied Research, where his focus is on translating scientific research into real world practical applications for our members. As one of our leading coaches based in Australia, Ivan has lived and breathed transformation for over ten years, staying now at sub 6% body fat year round, he continues to focus on attaining calisthenic and gymnastic skills you only see in the movies!

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