We’re all guilty of two things: wanting a shredded body and dreading the time it takes to get one.  This is why the fitness market is spilling over with “get fit quick” solutions.  From fat burning pills to 10-minute workouts, it seems getting the body of your dreams is as easy as ever.  But if it were that simple, wouldn’t every guy look like Cristiano Ronaldo?  It’s time to consider some of these workout plans and check for accuracy.

The Workouts & Meal Plans
Men’s Fitness describes a 7-day workout that’s guaranteed to get you ripped.  There’s no doubt it’s an intense one.  There’s 3 days of intense full-body lifting with heavy weight and one day of high-intensity cardio.  However, there’s 2 days of muscle tensing, in which you practice squeezing your muscles for 20 seconds at a time.  Then there’s a rest day.  There’s no mention of a meal plan or even why this workout is so effective.

Over at Bodybuilding.com, their plan gets incredibly specific, diving into water-shedding, carb restriction, supplementation and glycogen depletion.   This plan offers a comprehensive view of workouts and nutrition necessary to get ripped.  It’s a complex plan that works but there’s one caveat: it’s for experienced bodybuilders who are prepping for a contest.

Fitness blogger Chad Waterbury dives into a detailed meal plan which outlines not only what to eat but when to eat it.  He advises dieters to skip the supplements and use his meal plan as a detox program.  The catch?  He’s not promising you you’ll be ripped in 7 days.  He’s offering a 7-day plan that can get you on the road to being ripped.

The Science
Whether you’re a novice or consider yourself somewhat knowledgeable about fitness, getting ripped is a non-linear journey that takes time.  How much time? According to Livestrong, it can be anywhere from 3 months to 2 years before you achieve the kind of body that takes first place in a physique competition.

The bodybuilding.com plan is one designed for existing bodybuilders who’ve already trained their bodies to perform at peak levels.  They’re simply emptying water out of their bodies to showcase what’s already there.  If you’re just getting started, this plan is far too complicated for you to stick to.  You’ll find yourself unable to master the concepts or be consistent.  Furthermore, you won’t have the muscle hiding underneath to reveal.

The Men’s Fitness workout is challenging but it’s one that you’ll need to practice over time to get the results you seek.  It reads like part of a long-term plan designed to whip you into shape much later than 7 days down the line.  Only Chad Waterbury seems to have a solid approach to the matter by starting in the kitchen though it may be difficult to stick to specific meal times if you have a packed work day.

The Verdict
In 7 days’ time, you can make a big difference.  You can lose weight and improve definition.  The first week of any new program yields strong results because it’s shocking your body. But if you expect to go from a beginner on Monday to Zac Efron on Sunday, think again.  These workouts and meal plans are great places to start.  However, your journey has just begun.