My Diet and Exercise

Read time: 2.5 minutes

Friends have asked what I do to maintain 5-6% body fat. The fact that my body fat level is consistent through the year, what I do to maintain it must be simple and sustainable, and not interfere with life.

Here I share a picture taken of me not too long ago, and then below a little detail of what I do for my body composition.

JohnnyB&W20004-1

My Dietary Habit

I mainly attribute my consistently low body fat NOT to exercise but to my dietary habit (even though I grew up a fat kid). My dietary habit is simple: I eat mostly whole food, like vegetables and fresh fruits, lots of berries, lots of nuts, and lots of meats and eggs. If it’s in or near its natural state, I’ll likely eat it.

Also, I take advantage of intermittent fasting(IF), not only to control calorie intake but also for two more important reasons:

  1. Studies are showing a host of health benefits with IF. I’m as much for health as I am for aesthetics, if not more so.
  2. IF is very liberating, which opens my day to do everything or do nothing. I generally eat my first meal around 4pm and my last around 11pm. During the day I just drink water, sparkling water, or coffee.

Does intermittent fasting cause metabolism damage? Muscle loss? Contrary to popular concerns, IF does not cause muscle loss and it doesn’t wreck your metabolism. Fat loss experienced with fasting appears to be a result of reduced calorie intake (on the average through time). Intermittent fasting also decreases insulin output and increases catecholamines and growth hormones, which encourages fat mobilization and oxidation (fat burning).

If you give IF a spin, keep in mind some basic things:

You should expect a period of adaptation, through which hunger should be managed until it diminishes. Give your body a chance to learn how to tap more efficiently into its fat storage for fuel to meet energy demand. And you’ll still need to eat responsibly when breaking the fast.

Personally, I recommend taking advantage of the positive effects of IF on health, whether or not you want to lose fat.

My Exercise Habit

I try to keep formal exercise to a minimum. Otherwise, I try to move around a lot, go for walks each day with my lovely wife and my dog (a domesticated 4-legged family member named Java).

Below is a list of 3 formal workouts I typically do. I chose one, two, or all three of them for each week, depending on whether I have the time or feel the need:

  • 1 day heavy resistance training — at a gym, or in my garage. Usually 3 movements that include Deadlift, Overhead Press, and weighted Pull-ups. With quick and specific warmups, I get this entire workout done in 30 to 40 minutes.
  • 1 day of body-weight exercises — at home, in my living room or in the backyard. I use a lot of Adam Steer’s body-weight exercise ideas. I do this for up to 20 minutes, but absolutely no more.
  • 1 day of metabolic-intense activities like sprinting in the park with my dog, or sometimes I do a kettlebell workout in my garage. I do this no more than 20 minutes.

So, 1 to 3 days of formal exercise per week, mostly done quickly (but intensely). Other than that, as mentioned earlier, I try to stay as active as I can daily — and I don’t consider it formal exercise but just part of life. I go on daily walks — sometimes at a brisk pace, other times leisure. But even if I have to sit long hours for work, I’d still get up frequently and do arm circles, trunk rotation, a couple of body-weight squats. I’d walk to the kitchen to get some water, maybe make another shot of espresso, because sitting is just plain bad.

In summary

  • I eat mostly food close to its natural state. I fast intermittently. (But I still enjoy dessert, pizza, and wine.)
  • I stay active with daily living — walking around more, etc. I engage in as little formal exercises as I can, keeping them simple, intense, and quick.
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16 Responses to My Diet and Exercise

  1. Chunster495 says:

    Awesome pic!!! I found a new goal…I need to get down to 5%… heh heh

  2. Grok says:

    You the man Ogg. Don’t you know you’ll go into “starvation mode” if you don’t eat 6 times a day? You’ll hold on to your fat and lose all your muscle!!! Ha-ha

    My original goal was 3% but damn that’s tough! Not sure I have the genetics to make it happen very easily.

    I’m working on 8% now. I’m hovering about 11%. I’ve given myself 8 more weeks to reach my goal.

    If I don’t’ make it… Well I guess I wait longer 😦 LOL

    Truly a sick photo man!

  3. Ogg the Caveman says:

    Thanks for the good words, gentlemen. What I’ve found about the dietary habit is that it is very simple. Although the bio-energetic within the body is complex, the diet is really easy:

    1. Remove grains.
    2. Skipping a few meals now and then.

    There’s no calorie counting, no “blocks” to pay attention to, no starvation with less calories, etc. As for exercise:

    1. Lift some stuff (things, bodyweight).
    2. Move around.

    Decades of exercise science give us methodologies based on mostly maximum athletic performance: macrocycles, mesocycles, microcycles, undulating method, complex method, bodybuilding techniques, powerlifting techniques, high-intensity interval training, supersets, pre-exhaustion, occlusion methods, pilates, yoga, and all sorts of disciplines.

    With all this information and specialized exercise programming, in the end you still have a person who’s overweight because traditional diets just don’t do the job. And probably physically burned-out, or subconsciously disappointed for the lack of change in body weight.

  4. Grok says:

    Been meaning to ask you… do you compete?

  5. Ogg says:

    Actually I don’t compete in anything anymore. In high school I ran track; in college I played Lacrosse.

    I wish I had the time to compete in something!

  6. Grok says:

    I see.

    Well if you can maintain the cut in the photo above for a day or so, you should consider some amateur bodybuilding stuff.

  7. Scott says:

    Thanks for the site, great pic.

    I’ve been looking for supporting info that actually had a pic similar to what my goal is for this style of eating. 5 weeks ago I cut out all grains. I only get to the gym once or twice a week, but I’ve still dropped 20lbs without losing any strength…in fact my rest time between sets has naturally been reduced dramatically.

    After years of searching and experimenting with over the top diet and exercise methods that were just too extreme for me to maintain, I decided to try this based on some articles I read and the fact it just made sense to me…couldn’t be happier or feel better.

    Thanks again for validating my assumptions about where this can take me.

  8. Pingback: Accept or Reject Conventional Wisdom? « Lifestyle Consumption

  9. Lifter says:

    Impressive results! Goes to show how little is truly required, which contrasts mainstream obsession, when combined with a sensible diet. More power to you.

  10. Rob says:

    If you eat at 11pm, what time do you go to sleep and when do you usually wake-up? Does your 11pm meal have less carbs?

    Thanks

    • Johnny says:

      My last meal is usually just wholesome food of different variety. Sometimes I include sweet potatoes, other times I’ll have other types of starches, and on occasions a little dessert — but these tend to be infrequent as they seem to trigger cravings for me. No matter at what time the meal is eaten, though, I rarely ever think about the ratio of macronutrients like protein, carbs and fat. I just eat wholesome food, with the occasional treat.

      Best,
      Johnny

  11. JeffR says:

    Do you think its possible to combine some endurance type training into an IF diet routine? I really wanted to do a triathlon this fall and I am wondering if the combination of all the cycling/running/swimming might be counterproductive.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jeff,

      If your triathlon is mostly under the lactic threshold, then in theory you can train through an IF lifestyle. IF improves the body’s ability to metabolize fatty acid for energy.

      If, however, there are segments of your cycling, running and swimming that demand greater physical effort (a hill, a sprint, or even repeated intervals in training), then you may run into some problems. But this doesn’t mean you can’t schedule intermittent fasting appropriately so that it doesn’t disrupt your training and competition.

      Best,
      Johnny

  12. Yannick Messaoud says:

    Great post, problem with me is that i love to train, i have equipe myself with everything in my basement so i don’t have to go to the gym all the time, and i can train when i what no matter what time it is, don’t have to wait in line for a machine or weight.

    I cannot lift super heavy anymore due to back pain and injuries suffered when squatting and deadlifting, i am glad i found the Adonis Workout, Brad Pilon is associated with theses guys, i was sceptic at first before buying the workout since it advocate that this program will give you the type of body to seduce women. Not a very good marketing plan, i love weight training and have been in a steady relationship with my GF for 6 years now, so i am not about to pick up a program to seduce women. I found a sample routine on the internet and that changed my mind about the program, i found that many exercises will rebuild posture in the upper back and neck and lower back, after all having a great posture shows confidence, and women like that. There is a lot of shoulder work and the program is based on the shoulders vs waist ratio. I am currently doing the burn program but as you can imagine i skipped the diet which is eating 6 small meals per day, and doign IF 2 or more times per week. Thanks for the grains advise i will actually try to cut them out as much as i can from my diet. I also eat once and max twice a day when i am hungry. But most of the time i will eat one full meal with around 1400 cals or more but never go above 2400 cals, i am currently 204 pounds at 5 foot 10 and i really want to shed the fat and get back in great shape.

    • Johnny says:

      The Adonis workout sounds like a well-thought-out program for what it aims to do. I find that most decent exercise programs that includes strength training work, as long as we’re consistent. And if we want to see the change in body fat, then it’s going to be mostly from how we eat.

      Best,
      Johnny

  13. Michelle says:

    Just finding your site. Trying to absorb all info to apply IF to my lifestyle. Is there a post where you are more specific about when to fast? Are you fasting during your workout? I typically workout at 8:30 a.m., how would I design a fast to ensure the best results?

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