Workout Tips

Cut Body Fat and Get Ripped to the Bone

You might look worse before you look better. Don't panic. Be patient and stick with the plan.


There’s a pretty common cycle of failure most guys go through when they’re trying to cut body fat and get ripped for summer. First, they go overboard immediately, drastically cutting calories and adding tons of cardio. When this plan inevitably backfires and they feel drained, they lose patience and start from scratch. Sometimes the process takes a few weeks, other times just a few days. Don’t make the same mistakes and fall into the cycle of failure. You can be in the shape of your life if you follow my plan and recognize the fact that you might actually look a little worse a few weeks in.

Did You Know?

Mike O’Hearn has appeared on the third-most covers in M&F history, placing him behind only Schwarzenegger and Ferrigno. Get his DVD, Advanced Power Bodybuilding, at

Mike's 5-Point, Fat Cutting Plan

This is the five point plan of attack that Mike O’Hearn has been using for 30 years to prepare for magazine shoots, TV shows, and bodybuilding competitions.

  1. Plan a 12-week cutting cycle. You’ll start at just 20 minutes of cardio—solo sessions or after weight training, five days a week. The 20 minutes will consist of high intensity intervals: 10-second sprints followed by 10 seconds of jogging. Every two weeks, add 10 minutes.
  2. Start with a normal calorie base. For the average guy, this is 2,000 calories; 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat. Every two weeks, cut 150 calories from this base, mostly from carbs and fat. Protein should remain high throughout this cycle.
  3. Reverse course at eight weeks. By this point in the cycle, your calories will be down to around 1,400 from 2,000, and cardio will be up to a whopping 50 minutes. Start adding calories back in at a rate of 100 per week and backing off the cardio by five minutes every week.
  4. You’re going to look worse before you look better. Your body is in a caloric deficit throughout. Your body retains water and you’ll look soft and fat— this even happens to pros. This is why we add calories back in at the end and back off of the cardio. This is the hardest part.
  5. Track your progress. At the start, weigh yourself and take pictures and measurements— use body-fat calipers if you have them. This way, even if the scale doesn’t change, other markers of progress will serve as encouragement to finish strong.