Photo Update: Current Body Composition

Read time: 2 minutes

At the request of a reader, here are a couple of current pictures of me (unfortunately taken just this morning after a night of sharing a bottle of wine with my wife, while enjoying a large home-made meatza).

While enjoying a cup of Espresso in the sun with my lovely wife, I thought it was a good opportunity to snap a few photos for the blog update. So off went the shirt (in 58-degree sunny Northern California weather). Good opportunity for a much-needed tan, and some vitamin D:

1 TLS

Impromptu exercise (or compensatory energy expenditure as a result of last night’s feast):

2 TLS

I admit, red wine is my weakness, and I usually have a glass now and then, but ya just can’t let a delicious meatza go down without the company of a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from a good vintage. Anyway, in these photos the bibulous drinking shows in the water retention. But this was my choice, and I’ll have to deal with it. And what better way to deal with it than to reveal on the internet my water-log consequences. (I know, there are worse things in life. Like being water-logged from eating grains and processed junk.)

In any case, 5-position skin-fold caliper assessments consistently show that my body fat settles between 5% to 8%, simply because of a grain-free, real-food diet (I used to be over-fat at 25% for years when I ate “healthy” grains and grain-based foods, and with more exercise than today).

My current exercise routine is: one day of resistance training, and one day of body-weight training per week. I do a lot of walking with my wife and dog, an activity I enjoy far more than any formal exercise. There have been times when I do more formal exercise (long ago), but more often there are periods when I do absolutely NO formal exercise for weeks on end. In either case, my body fat never ventured from its current average — I believe the absolute amount of body fat doesn’t change much, but the slight fluctuation in percentages might be a mathematical reflection of the increased or decreased muscle mass from my exercise habit. I believe that formal exercise has nothing to do with my body-fat level, but that my body fat is a direct result of my dietary lifestyle.

I will take more photos in several weeks for more updates… hopefully not after drinking wine! But in departing remarks: since eating a grain-free, real-food diet, this is pretty much the way my body naturally looks for the past few years. The most important effect, however, is that I always feel good, I’m never hungry, and my energy level remains consistently high. These factors in themselves make it more than worthwhile to eliminate grains from the diet.

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10 Responses to Photo Update: Current Body Composition

  1. Explosivo says:

    Wow, impressive pics, thanks for posting. Just started reading your blog last week. Always good to see the effects of eating the way I think we were “meant” to eat (though I’m still working on getting 100% there).

    Do you have any thoughts about protein, i.e., consuming a specific or minimum amount per day? After years of believing the bodybuilding hype, I’m slowly coming around the idea that I may not need 3-4 supplemental protein shakes per day in order to stave off catabolism and retain muscle. Just wondering if you shoot for a certain amount of protein per day, or if you even pay attention to how much you consume.

    Great blog, keep up the great work!

  2. Grok says:

    Lookin good man. Don’t feel bad about the meatza. I just did a semi-intentional calorie cycle day of 5,000+ calories (fully primal of course).

    That’s about the most I’ve eaten in the past 8 weeks of dieting and more than the entire last week. LOL! Scary, but hopefully it will give leptin some lovin and I’ll make an even bigger loss now. May dial back Thanksgiving a bit now 😉 Ha-ha

  3. Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

    @ Explosivo,

    Years ago I was always concerned with protein intake, thus my extended use of protein shakes between meals. It had taken a lot for me to break the belief that I needed that much protein.

    For the past several years I haven’t been concerned whatsoever with protein intake. I have not counted calories and I don’t worry about the ratio of macro-nutrients (pro, carbs, fat). I just eat anything that’s not grains or refined sugar. I eat things in no specific combination — sometimes all fat (Lardo, found at http://www.murrayscheese.com/searchprods.asp?txtsearch=lardo&x=0&y=0 ), sometimes all carbs (vegetables or fruits), and sometimes all meats. Often it’s a mix.

    There are days when I eat no more than 20 grams of proteins, and days when I eat over 200 grams. I try not to worry about the amount, instead I just try to eat grainless real foods. This way the body actually feels way better and its recovery from formal exercises is superior than it did when I chased each session with laboratory-made protein powders.

    I believe that muscle-protein uptake, assimilation, and turnovers are far more complex than merely how much protein we eat. Muscle, as I’ve read in several sources, is a result of specific gene expressions to meet the requirement of the body and of the environment. In other words, our workout and other physical demands have a greater influence on our body’s gene expression for more –or less– muscle.

    The mechanical stimulus placed on our muscles dictate our muscle mass, not the quantity or frequency of protein we eat. Muscle protein turnover (breakdown) is an on-going process to meet many internal physiological needs, regardless of how much or how often we eat protein.

    I believe that I’m more muscular today on a Paleo-based diet than when I was eating a so-called optimal bodybuilder’s diet. I attribute my muscle increase to my formal workouts. My body fat level, however, is a matter of avoiding grains and sugar and has little to do with my physical activities.

    There are, and will be, times when I do absolutely NO formal exercise (resistance training) and this reflects in decreased muscle, but my body fat continues to be very low. In fact, the next time when I go for a period without any formal exercise (like about 2 months), I’ll take some pictures of my noticeably decreased muscle mass, and yet my body fat remains low (remember, I was an overweight person). This is anecdotal evidence that breaks the myth that we turn to fat when we stop exercising. We only “turn” to fat when our diet is crappy in the first place; exercise had been the only thing that prevented it.

    (As it happens, my wife likes me better with less muscle, so I’m not too worried about having less muscles every now and then!)

    Anyway, if you’re eating a no-grain, no-refined-sugar diet, then don’t worry about quantity or frequency of protein so much as eating when you need to, and going slightly hungry for short periods. Your body will be healthier and leaner for it, and if you weight train properly, then your muscle mass will be limited only by your genetic ceiling.

    Good luck, and visit often!

  4. Adam Kayce says:

    Holy moly.

    As someone who’s been at 25% bf before, and through Paleo-eating has dropped to about 17%, I have to say I’m impressed as heck.

    Time to try IF! And, you’ve got a new subscriber. 🙂

    (by the way, I found you from your comments on the IF post at MDA.)

  5. Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

    Thanks, Adam. Definitely give IF a try; there appear to be some many health benefits to IF beyond weight loss!

  6. Eric says:

    I’ve just stumbled on the site, so I hope you don’t mind if I say that those are amazing pics. My wife always objects to my attempts at Paleo/IF – ‘You’ve got to eat three meals a day. You’ve got to have rice. You’ve got to have fruit.’ (She’s from Hong Kong, so her food beliefs are particularly strong.) Rational argument has done nothing to persuade her to let me follow my own path in peace. But now I know what to do: I’m just going to show her your pics and say, ‘I wanna look like that guy. He did it like this.’ She’ll be won over right away, no question!

    • Johnny from The Lean Saloon says:

      Eric,

      Very kind words, and thank you!

      This reminds me that I must take some pictures to update the blog. I have been doing eating sporadic meals only when I’m hungry, and every now and then stretch the period between meals a little longer than I’m used to, to feel a sense of hunger.

      I believe that feeling hungry is crucial in both increased fat metabolism and also superior health.

      I’ll work on an updated post this weekend.

      I hope your wife becomes convinced that IF is highly beneficial, despite cultural habits, practice, and meme.

      • Grok says:

        Johnny, I’m back to low-cal (aka normal) & IF again. Amazing you much better you feel!

        My body understands… my real hurdle is convincing my brain that gluttony is not what we want!

  7. Really great site that you have built, and good info. thanks.

  8. great site, i found it whilst searching for something else and i am glad that i have. I have bookmarked and will be back.

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