Oftentimes when people talk about fitness, they use terms like “ripped,” “jacked,” “aesthetic,” etc. pretty interchangeably. But when it comes to writing out personal goals, it’s best to be as specific as possible.
So, I’m going to help you by comparing the terms “ripped,” “jacked,” and “aesthetic” to allow you the best description for your fitness goals.
What Does it Mean to Be “Ripped”?
The main premise behind the definition of being ripped is having a low body fat percentage and being able to see your muscles as very defined.
It requires a lot of discipline to reach “ripped” status. Of course, people are different and will be able to be described as “ripped” at different body fat percentages.
I know people, myself included, like having hard numbers.
Men’s Body Fat Percentage
- Bodybuilders About to Compete: 3-4%
- Really Ripped Ab Look: 8-10%
- Athletic with basic cuts: 12-15%
- No definition: 15%+
Women’s Body Fat Percentage
- Bodybuilders About to Compete: 8-12%
- Figure Competitor: 15-17%
- Toned and Lean: 17-20%
- No definition: 20%+
Just remember, it’s ok to have a higher percentage than those listed above, but these are good numbers to have as a baseline.
But to be “ripped” you don’t have to have incredibly large muscles. If you have smaller muscles, you can still be ripped by having low body fat and just having very defined muscles.
Pros of Being Ripped
You Don’t Have to Be Very Large
One of the biggest pros of being ripped is that you will look very muscular when you don’t have to be very large.
This is the trick Hollywood uses a lot in their movies. The perfect example is the Rocky series. Sylvester Stallone is in incredible shape, but he isn’t as large as a real heavyweight boxer.
You Look Stronger
By being more ripped, you look stronger than you actually are.
The more defined your muscles are, even if you aren’t the strongest or largest person, the stronger and larger you look in comparison.
That’s not to say they are exclusive to each other. Typically, being ripped goes hand-in-hand with good athletic performance. But it isn’t a requirement.
It’s always good to be strong and muscular, but if you have a goal of being ripped for whatever reason, you don’t have to have as large muscles.
It’s a Sign of Discipline
Being ripped is pretty much always cool. People love having well-defined muscles.
It’s a show of discipline really.
It takes a lot of discipline to be able to burn more calories than you are consuming. You also must be consistent with your workouts and follow a plan.
Being disciplined is cool, but it’s much nicer to have something to show for all the work you put in.
I mean, there is no greater feeling than having to go clothes shopping for smaller clothes because you’re too ripped.
Plus, being ripped is sexy.
Cons of Being Ripped
You Miss Out on Foods that are “Bad for You”
There are cons to everything. That includes being ripped.
One of the biggest cons, at least in my opinion, is the level of discipline that can make you feel as though you are missing out on some really good, sweet, fattening food.
High fat, sweet foods are calorie-dense, but they’re empty calories. And don’t get me started on alcohol.
In order to get ripped, you have to burn more calories than you take in, so you need to watch what you eat.
Being Ripped Requires Quality Sleep
Another thing that is incredibly important to any sort of fitness goal is that you need good sleep.
This means you may miss out on some sports or other events because it conflicts with your goals too much.
It’s not always the case because you need to have great times with family and friends to REALLY be healthy and fit, but sometimes you may have to skip on some things.
You’re Constantly Monitoring Your Diet
The biggest con is that even if you do choose to go out and have, you have to watch your food intake.
To get and stay ripped, you are required to maintain a relatively lower calorie intake, which is kind of hard.
You Can Still Look Average in Clothes
Another potential con is that you may not always be showing off your physique when clothed.
There’s a joke that when it comes to fitness, you can either look good with or without clothes, but not both.
Basically, what I’m saying is that when you are straight-up ripped, you don’t have the size to show off your muscles in clothes.
This is because if you are just ripped, without the size of being jacked, then you will likely have to wear clothes that are too short/too small to show off your muscles. So, size will need to be added to be able to display the hard work with clothes.
That’s kind of a silly con, but a con nonetheless.
I think it’s much better to have this issue than a self-conscious issue based on size.
What Is “Jacked”
Well, maybe I goofed a bit by dropping the term “jacked” in the last section before actually giving a definition. If you’re good at using context clues, then you might even have already figured out what it means!
Being jacked is all about being as big as possible, muscle-wise. This is sometimes called “going bear mode”.
Granted, you will not be called jacked if you just sit on the couch eating bon-bons all day, but you might be quite large if you do that.
In all seriousness, a great example of being jacked without also being ripped is the extreme size of the likes of strongman competitors. Good examples include:
- Eddie Hall
- Hafthor Bjornsson (the Mountain in the Game of Thrones series)
- Hulk Hogan in his prime
These men more bulky instead of ripped. I mean, they may have gotten more cut and in shape at different points in time, but they were most iconic when they didn’t have super-defined muscles.
Pros of Being Jacked
Jacked Guys are Usually Strong Guys
I like to refer to being jacked as a strength-based fitness.
The biggest pro of being jacked is that it comes with strength. Mark Rippetoe, the genius behind Starting Strength, writes about the prevention of injuries here.
He asserts that the best way to prevent injuries is through strength training. By being strong, you are essentially injury-proofing your body.
This belief is based on the fact that when you train your body to perform complex movements with proper form, you are building strength to keep joints (where most injuries occur) strong and safe.
Another way to look at it is through Mark Bell’s catchphrase: “Strength is never a weakness. Weakness is never a strength.”
You Look Good in Clothes
To go along with the idea of benefits, you could argue the con of being ripped. You look great in clothes as long as they fit!
When ripped, you likely won’t be able to show off your muscular definition with clothing on. When you’re jacked, those massive muscles will ripple through your shirt because it’s unintentionally tight on your arms.
Cons of Being Jacked
You May Lack Endurance
When it comes to being healthy, it’s not all about being jacked. There are a lot of positives, and it’s kind of hard to talk bad about any form of fitness, but there are still cons.
By far the biggest con to being jacked is the lack of endurance.
Is it possible to be jacked and have incredible endurance? Yes.
But you are far more likely to see those big dudes that move big weight and then don’t do a lick of cardio.
There are some benefits to cardio aside from burning calories. Namely, heart health.
Doing endurance-based exercises is great for training your heart. You need a healthy heart in order to live a long time.
You Probably Won’t Have a Six Pack
A second con of being jacked is that you don’t have awesome abs to show off at the beach! Or pool if you’re landlocked.
Regardless, there are more important things than just being big and strong.
What Does It Mean to Be “Aesthetic”?
Now here is where we really get down to business.
Being aesthetic is a combination of being big and being ripped with well-defined muscles that are proportional to ultimate attractiveness.
This is definitely the most difficult physique to attain. You have to be incredibly strict with your training and your diet to achieve top results.
It goes one step further though. It also requires that the body be balanced in muscularity.
That’s where bodybuilding is really turned into a sport and an art. It’s one thing to get strong. It’s another to get really ripped.
These are also the male models that model for fitness magazines, erotic book covers, and other avenues where an ideal male physique is desired.
The most impressive is being strong and ripped and having strong proportions for your body as well. Things like a good shoulder to waist ratio, bicep to tricep to forearm ratio, etc.
Pros of Being Aesthetic
You Become an Expert at How Your Own Body Works
Having an aesthetic physique is nearly impossible to achieve, so one of the immediate pros is that you are extremely dedicated to your craft.
It’s an outward expression of how well you know your own body and how good you are at manipulating it to get the desired look.
It’s a Fulfilling Journey
Being aesthetic is a real journey to go on too.
It’s not easy to accomplish the goals, but it is possible. Achieving any goal is something to be proud of.
If you’re able to achieve the aesthetic physique, you are really winning here.
Your Body is Now a Marketing Asset
A pro that some people may not consider is that, if you enjoy fitness (which I assume you do if you are going for this physique), you are constantly learning best practices, and can use your passion as a way to make money.
You could become a personal trainer, model, and competitive bodybuilder all at the same time.
Plus, you look good with clothes on or off because you’re ripped and jacked.
Cons of Being Aesthetic
It Requires Sacrifices
By far the biggest con of being aesthetic is that you have to make a lot of sacrifices and spend a lot of personal time focusing on your physique and the improvements you can make on it.
It will require a lot of work to be jacked and ripped. When you combine the two, it becomes near impossible.
One tactic people will take is to bulk for the colder months and then cut down during the summer months. This is often what competitors will do based on off-season and in-season.
You Can’t Let Your Dedication Waiver
It’s very difficult to have the dedication to do the math to get the appropriate numbers for caloric intake and to know the correct exercises to achieve your goals.
Being aesthetic takes so much dedication that you will be spending hours in the gym doing weird exercises to hit a super tiny muscle that only matters for the specific sport of bodybuilding.
The dedication required is definitely the biggest issue when it comes to earning the aesthetic physique.
Ripped vs Jacked vs Aesthetic Conclusion
The best part about health and fitness is that you are allowed to try things out and switch up if you aren’t enjoying the journey or the results.
Really, it could really just boil down to what your significant other likes best…
On a serious note, there are differences between these three:
- Ripped means having incredible muscle definition
- Jacked is all about size and strength
- Aesthetics is the combination of the two and borders on being an art
There’s no wrong choice when your goal is being fit. You are also able to jump between the body types.
It’s easy to find examples of people doing this. And it’s a fun experiment to see if you’re able to do it.
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