Be Lean and Ripped

This article forms the final step of your ectomorph workout routine – cutting down from the mass you have gained to be lean and ripped.

This is what separates the great from the good.

Even though ectomorphs are “blessed” with fast metabolism, this step is no less easier.


So How to be Lean and Ripped?

If you want to be lean and ripped, it means you have to lose fat and put on the same weight in muscle mass.

Sample calculations to be lean and ripped:

Current body fat mass: 10% x 121.2lbs = 12.12lbs
Target fat mass (the body fat percentage I want to be at): 6% x 121.2lbs =  7.272lbs
Target fat loss: 12.12 – 7.272 = 4.848lbs

This means I have to lose 4.848lbs of body fat and put on the same weight in muscle mass. To achieve the fat loss, I have to reduce the number of calories I consume daily through my diet and a workout routine/weight training/resistance training.

Calories to lose:
4.848 x 3500 (1 lbs of fat is equivalent to 3500 calories = 16968

Calories to lose per week:
16968 / 12 (depends on the number of weeks of your training program) =  1414

Calories to lose per day:
1414 / 7 = 202

Calorie needs per day to maintain current weight:
2508.764 (taken from my other page on calculating metabolism and calorie needs) – 202 = 2306.764

Take note: if you have bulked up and have made some gains in muscle mass in the gym, you cannot use your daily calorie needs the first time you calculated it when you have not bulked up/gained muscle mass.


Be Lean and Ripped with Weight Training

lean and ripped resistance training

1. Skinny guys (those who do not wish to bulk up)

  • Each workout should last no longer than 45 minutes (save calories)
  • Do compound exercises instead of isolation exercises (strength training)
  • Try to get stronger by 5% every 2 weeks
  • Don’t do more than 1-2 forced reps
  • Split up 3 body parts into max 3 day program


2. Bulky guys (referring to skinny guys who have bulked up)

  • Train longer. i.e 1-1.5 hours to burn more calories
  • Do more isolation exercises to burn calories
  • Maintain strength to ensure no muscle loss
  • Can do drop sets and pre exhaust sets to up intensity and  burn more calories
  • Can split body parts into 5 days


Be Lean and Ripped with Cardio

1. Skinny guy (those who do not wish to bulk up)

  • Do cardio only if you consume 1000 calories more than your daily calorie expenditure
  • Don’t spend more than 20-30 mins (each) or 2-4 days on cardio
  • DON’T do cardio after gym workouts
  • Don’t do cardio on an empty stomach
  • Have a carb-protein workout drink right after your cardio


2. Bulky guy (referring to skinny guys who have bulked up)

  • Perform cardio right after your gym workout
  • Do slow, long and interval cardio sessions
  • Can do cardio on an empty stomach
  • Have a protein drink right after your cardio to prevent muscle loss
  • Can do cardio 7 times a week

If you are wondering what specific gym exercises to do to get lean and ripped, don’t worry. Lowering your body fat percentage is the key to being lean and ripped.

You can incorporate more cardio into your ectomorph workout routine, but not too much. Test and tweak according to how your body adapts.


Articles in This Section (Ectomorph Bodybuilding):

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  1. James

    hmm I was wondering what weight exercises should I be doing to get more ripped and lean?

    • Wayne

      Hey James, to get ripped and lean, your focus should be on burning calories and fats. For that to happen, you could have shorter rest periods during your workouts and make it more intense.

      If you are up for it, train 4 days a week, and alternate between heavy and light.

      I’ve seen workouts that require you to go to the gym 6 times a week to get ripped and lean. DON’T. Because we ectomorphs need more time to rest and recover, so take note of that.

      But the good thing is we have a faster metabolism! Which means it’s EASIER to get ripped and lean. :)

  2. Joshua

    I used to eat horribly and not work out and weighed 180. Started a 5 day routine. I lost 30 lbs. Even when I was 180, I was still skinny (minus a larger midsection). Working out I’ve gained little muscle/strength. I think I’m only able to do pullups now because of the lost weight, not muscle gain.

    I was using compound exercises, then switched to isolation. The only fat I have left is hiding my abs (I know they’re there). Should I go back to a full body routine or is dedicated muscle group days going to work. I want bigger arms/legs. My chest is slowly coming along. I want to shed the last of my belly.

    • Joshua

      The above info is covering a 5 month period.

    • Wayne

      Which is your focus? Losing the fats on your belly or getting bigger arms/legs? Both goals are counterproductive so it’s better to focus on one first.

      It’s better and much more balanced to do both compound and isolation exercises. Definitely incorporate compound exercises though. If you’ve already been training for 5 months alr, there isn’t a need to go back to a full body routine.

      Hope this helps and good luck! :)

  3. Rock

    Well this looks nice, but i have a question. Is there other ways for gaining that lean and ripped body, without using weights? Well could i achieve this by going mostly on push-ups sit-ups and stuff like that

  4. Mike


    I’m 6’2″, 167 lbs, and 37 years old. I’ve been working (weights/cardio) out 6 days a week for about 15 months now (excluding a few 2 week breaks every 5 months).

    I’ve been eating more and smaller meals, drinking water, and watching what I eat. But I absolutely cannot get below 15% bodyfat. I have a noticeable amount of bellyfat still. The rest of my body looks much better than when I started, but the bellyfat just won’t go.

    Should I be doing a carb cycling routine?

    • Wayne

      Yes, definitely, if you are up for it!

  5. stuzz

    Hi Wayne!

    You mean by the Skinny Guys (who do not wish to bulk up) is that they are skinny but they only want to be lean without bulking up? I don’t really quite get it.. LOL.. But as for me, I weigh 143 lbs but still skinny.. How will I manage to get a model type body (with the 6 pack abs) but not adding weight on my body? Is that possible? :)

    • Wayne

      Hi Stuzz, yup, that’s what I referring to!

      To get a model type body without adding weight is technically impossible but still possible haha. What I mean is that you can only a lean and toned body with muscles. And to get muscles you must gain weight, since you are still skinny.

      It is possible not to “gain weight” if you manage to lose the extra weight you have gained after gaining those muscles. So you will be back to your original weight but with a toned look now.

  6. Kyle


    To be honest I know most of this stuff, how eating every so many hours to keep metabolism up and not cut into muscle growth. Or how compounds are the best exercises for ectomorphs. I gained my weight but not as cut as I’d liked to be, as your article pointed out which draw my attention to it. I’ve been lifting for the last 5 years now, and I’m at a stand still, I’m losing my interesting in going to the gym, but the concerns I want addressed is this.

    One, is their a up and down cycle? I’ have yet to see anybody fully go into detail over this subject, its we’ll start you out but you gotta figure everything else out. I know after a period of time the body adapts and no longer benefits from the workout, which causes plateauing, but would a down cycle affect the process? How long should both cycles be?

    Two, what exercises should they be, of course the bigs, bench press, squat, deadlift and so on.What about the in between ones? Should I focus on exercises that help to improve the main lifts or just complement the body part as a whole? You can see my confusion and this has been accumulated from years of wondering the web and just experimenting, but if you can unravel this mystery for me I’d be most appreciated….

    • Wayne

      Hi Kyle, I don’t really understand by what you mean as up and down cycle? Since you have already lifted for the last 5 years, I assume you have a decent amount of muscles already. So right now your focus should be more adjusting your diet and incorporating more cardio and circuit training into your workouts to get lean and ripped.


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