Picture Update: Body Composition July 4, 2010

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As I’ve mentioned in recent posts, I’ve been busy with my director position in a new company. As such, I haven’t had a much formal exercise… just intermittent fasting to stay lean (or get leaner).

My muscle hasn’t had much exercise stimulus in a couple of months, and as a result it has reduced in size — which is fine with me as my goal at the beginning of this year was to lose some muscle mass to achieve a different look, one that gives the appearance of leaner and “longer” (did I say that?) physique, a sort of Hollywood look.

Anyway, I’ve been able to maintain an intermittent fasting lifestyle in order to stay lean, which was the easy part. Even with reduced formal exercise, I believe I’m leaner than I’ve been in a very long time. Feels great!

Here are a couple of pictures taken on July 4th, after eating all afternoon and drinking wine. No flex, I promise!

Grilling and wining

Cabernet -- I like a big wine!

By the way, I have not always been this lean, as I grew up a consistently fat kid. Even on the Paleo diet I carried a layer of fat — I just ate too much of even the “right food.”

To show you, here’s a picture taken well over a year ago (March 2009), the day before I adopted intermittent fasting, which would become the current lifestyle I now live by. In this photo, I’ve been eating a Paleo diet for quite some time.

The Paleo diet is great, but getting lean requires eating less, period. Intermittent fasting, the simplest way to get there.

Whatever the circumstance in life, you can always rely on the simplicity of intermittent fasting to achieve and maintain a lean body.

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33 Responses to Picture Update: Body Composition July 4, 2010

  1. KevinT says:

    Hey Johnny … this is so cool that you posted this!

    Even with the benefits of Paleo … it still comes down to eating less. I’m guessing in the before, you not only ate Paleo, but probably exercised more and stuck to a tighter schedule too? The IF/Real food combo plus making it natural and “on the back burner” is bringing killer results!

    • KevinT says:

      Looking at the pics again… I’d say you look quite a bit younger too.

    • Johnny says:

      Before IF, I scheduled way more formal exercise. My life was different then, too, but I was under the assumption that I needed that much formal exercise to be healthy and to help improve body composition.

      Now, with less formal exercise and more time for life, my personal and professional life has improved. Not to mention I’m way more lean and my muscularity is more visible.

      Of note, though, is that I’m still normally active through the day — getting up, walking around, etc. I even rode my bicycle to work this morning. Almost as invigorating as coffee.

      Almost.

      Johnny

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  3. Marc says:

    Looking good brother!

    If I can add my 2 cents. It’s not about eating less…it’s learning again how to eat the right quantities. ONLY IF will get you there. It’s like a reset button.
    Solid post backed up with SOLID pic.
    Marc

    • Johnny says:

      Thanks, Marc. And you’re right, it’s about eating the appropriate quantities for your goals… weight gain, weight maintenance, or weight loss. Excellent point.

      Best,
      Johnny

    • KevinT says:

      Well, sure I guess that’s really what I meant. haha

      Either way, he said he used to eat too much even though it was good, Real food … so he found that eating less / the right amount naturally with IF leaned him up more.

      So, yes, IF helped him find the right amount of food to eat in order to drop fat in a completely natural, no hassle way.

      That’s what I like best about all this. All those years of learning as much as I could about fitness/weight loss … all the “formulas” and CW …. all of it made it all so complicated, confusing, and burned me out quick.

      But Real food, IF, staying active, and getting a feel for the right amount of food is SO simple and easy. When you start living this way, you can tell & feel that this is how it’s supposed to be. It’s like a breath of fresh air.

  4. Robert says:

    Johnny,
    I am a “skinny fat” 6′ 170 lbs. ectomorph. I too did Paleo, ate my six meals a day, got down to 160 lbs., best I ever looked, but was a little thin for my height, and still had a little “gut” at that weight. Tried IF, but had headaches all day long. The best I can do, is skip breakfast till 11:00 a.m., which I like. (I was never a breakfast person, always felt like I was force feeding myself). Any suggestions for a skinny fat guy?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Robert,

      As for the fat, that comes through adjustments in diet.

      As for the skinny, muscle mass is increased through the proper stimulus of a good strength-training program.

      Beyond your dedication to a good strength-training program, the overall muscle mass you’ll earn is based on your genetics.

      The headache you got in the past from IF might have been transient and needed time to adjust. People who experience headaches from a fast should start with a shorter fast period, and then progressively lengthened over time.

      If it interests you at all, you can experiment by lengthening your current fasting period to 12 noon, and then eventually to 1pm. And so on. That is, if you wanted to. If not, then not a big deal.

      Best,
      Johnny

      • Robert says:

        I will give it a try.
        I read a long time ago, that skinny fat people have a problem with burning sugar in their bodies, which is why they have a bit of a gut, a four pack, at best. Does that make any sense to you. As for my workout, like most others, I did 3×8 -3 day split body building style workout. I am 45, and have been working out for 25+ years. For my size, I am strong, and seem to be able to lift heavier than my friends that are bigger, but can’t seem to put on size. For the first time Saturday, I went from doing 27 different exercises for 3 day split workout, to a 5×5 full body workout (no split days, and not to failure) consisting of pull ups, rows, rear delt, overhead press, incline chest, and curls. I did 3×5 dead lift for legs. No triecp work, it overpowers my bicep. I could swear I am bigger. I have always heard lower reps don’t build mass, just gets you stronger. It seems to do both for me. Have you found the same for you.
        Robert

      • Johnny says:

        Robert, you might have read something about the common dysfunction in sugar metabolism, otherwise known as… you guessed it… insulin resistance. This condition leaves sugar to be easily converted to fat.

        Many mechanisms are associated with insulin resistance, one of which is chronic overfeeding, overweight, obesity, and over-consumption of refined food.

        Whatever the associative factors, it’s been shown that eating less or intermittent fasting may help to reverse insulin resistance and/or increase insulin sensitivity.

        I’d say give your current training program a chance — it sounds better than your previous one. More restoration time will be your biggest benefit for muscle growth.

        Best,
        Johnny

  5. Nicole R says:

    Johnny, I like that you talk the talk and walk the walk. I’m already grateful for what you’ve shared, but I’m sooo much more appreciative after seeing these pictures! My husband just read a few of your posts, loves them, and has subscribed. Since discovering The Lean Saloon, I’ve been a big believer of daily intermittent fasting and a casual approach to exercise, but my husband didn’t like the idea of not eating until later in the day. He’s been a victim of the social pressure of eating 5 small meals a day (as I had been for years), but since I’ve lost 15 pounds, became visibly more toned, and maintaining so easily, he finally started reading your blog to see what’s up. I think he’s sold. You have two die hard fans now!

  6. Wood says:

    Johnny. I follow IF myself too, 1 or 2 days fast in a week. I had headache too in the beginning but now I fell great.

    Tell me 1 thing why follow every bodybuilder the 6-8 meals a day protokoll (and that’s why this is recommended by most diet experts too) And not only the roid monsters, but the natural bb too.

    By the way your pictures are great after some time of “i want to be as big as possible” I try to achieve a look like yours.

  7. Jordan D. says:

    Fantastic, Johnny. What is your height/ weight?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan,

      5’8″ with a deep breath.
      147 lbs. dry.

      Many people think I weigh more than I do, which is a result of strategic placement of muscle mass. I emphasize overhead presses and deadlifts.

      Best,
      Johnny

  8. Dave K says:

    Johnny,

    If I had your build, I’d get rid of all my shirts. Keep up the great work and please keep the posts coming. You have great information to share.

    Dave K. in Michigan

    • Johnny says:

      Thanks for the compliment, Dave. I have been thinking about simplifying my life by getting rid of some possessions. Shirts are a good start.

      Best,
      Johnny

      • KevinT says:

        Or maybe invent a new style of “shirt fasting” … either for 24 hour bursts … or maybe up until 4:00pm or whenever you get home. 🙂

  9. Bangkok Jay says:

    “strategic placement of muscle mass. I emphasize overhead presses and deadlifts.”

    Is that in order to accentuate the aesthetic v-shape (a la Adonis ratios)? I get why overhead presses would help there, but what do deadlifts strategically do? Personally I’m scared to grow tree trunks as I’ve always had thick legs.

    Great progress, Johnny!

    • Steven says:

      I don’t want to speak for Johnny but, overhead presses are essentially a whole/full-body press (through the kinetic chain, from the ground up to your wrists/hands) and the deadlift is essentially a full-body pull. Both moves are full-body compound movements that give the most bang for your buck. As for developing tree-trunk legs or shoulders like King Kong, genetics certainly plays a role as does training frequency, volume and intensity. Personally, I deadlift and press heavy maybe once a week for around 5 sets of 3 reps. I like to keep the intensity high, the volume and frequency low and the workout brief and stimulating; kind of an Art DeVany “random” approach. I believe Johnny follows a similar protocol and will probably chime in here but, basically, lift heavy once or twice a week (weights, bodyweight, etc.) sprint once every week or two and move around a lot (stay active).

  10. Anon says:

    The problem with the paleo peeps is they’ve been brainwashed by low-carb dogma. As such, they believe that as long as they are not eating carbs they can eat as much as they want and still lose weight and when they don’t they blame it on everything else under the sun. While hormonal issues can sometimes supercede the law of thermaldynamics eventually you must answer to it. Pick your poison: eat less or exercise more.

    • Johnny says:

      Anon,

      Good point about the misconception of the Paleo diet. There’s no support to show that one can eat as much as she wants if she’s eating the Paleo. It may be true, it may not be true. I personally doubt that’s true — even with the “metabolic advantage” in eating low carbs.

      My experience of a strict Paleo diet didn’t get me there, and there’s just no research to support that the metabolic advantage is applicable to all people — some naturally fidget more than others, low carb or not. Genetic tendencies are hard to explain, and limits the concept of “metabolic advantage.”

      Best,
      Johnny

  11. Jordan D. says:

    Thanks, Johnny. When I started losing weight, my initial “ballpark” estimate for how much I wanted to weigh was 175-185 lbs. Of course, I was 255, and the last time I was within that weight range was when I was a teenager. So I was under no illusion that I knew exactly how much weight I needed to lose. But now that I’m 194-195 and still chubby, I know with full certainty that another 10-15 pounds will not be enough! Absolutely, positively no way. So I’ve modified my rough estimate to 170-175.

    Still just an estimate. Of course, I would allow myself a few more pounds if they were muscle. (Wishful thinking…? lol.) I’ll continue to evaluate my look as I get down to 180, 175, etc., and as I continue to improve my strength training regimen. (It’s been pretty tepid so far, I must admit. I wanted to start very slowly to prevent injury, and that part of it has gone well. But I’ve been training for several months now, so it’s time to get serious.)

  12. Wow, awesome work!

    I just started IF this week with a 5-hour eating window (I also only eat Primal/Real Food) from 2-7 pm.

    I’m sure you mentioned it in previous posts but I’m new to your blog: What is your fasting schedule like? Do you ever break it on the weekends or have a day of “loading” to retrain your body? Or is that a fallacy?

    Thanks!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi AndreAnna,

      I don’t have a strict fasting schedule; however, on most days I eat my first meal around 4pm and the last around 11. On some days I eat brunch with my wife or friends, but those days are rare.

      During the feeding period I practice mindful eating and eat until I’m full and satisfied, but rarely ever stuffed. But on the rare occasions when I stuff myself (holidays, celebratory parties, etc.), I simply extend the fast the day before or after.

      I don’t believe in scheduling re-feeds, because that takes away from the natural rhythm of eating. Re-feed naturally happens on days I eat more for whatever reason. I’m fully updated on the hormonal (thyroid, leptin, etc.) reset that occurs with “re-feed” but I personally don’t obsess with that and let it happen naturally.

      After all, I won’t ever pass up on the sweet potato fries… not a chance.

      Best,
      Johnny

  13. Al says:

    I believe that IFing is the easy part and most if not all of those who comment on this site will agree with anything you say that is related to fasting (I being one of them)

    However, it is WHAT you eat (Paleo diet) that seems to be burden for most people (I being one of them). Most of the people who comment on this site are still having a hard time with it. The hard part is what we are eating (I being one of them).

    It seems that you give more credit to IFing than the paleo diet and I understand why, but it also seems that you are giving the real food you eat little to no credit at all for you fat loss.

    My guess is that most of these people are nowhere near close to the bodyfat levels that you have.

    Bottom line: everybody who views this site wants your body fat levels (I being one of them). If it truly takes eating ONLY REAL FOOD along with IFing than so be it. I just wonder if people understand that eating real food is more important than they think.
    The paleo part will always be my hardest hurdle to climb if it is truly part of the ideal EQUATION. Thanks!

    • Johnny says:

      Al,

      All good points. Real food (wholesome, mostly unprocessed food that’s close to its natural state) is important for two main reasons:

      1. Maximum nutrients in a calorie-sparse diet.
      2. Hunger control in a calorie-sparse diet.

      But the fact is, overall calorie control is what brought my body fat level down to where it is — not real food. I had followed the Paleo diet religiously for over 3 years, and it alone did not deliver the body fat I currently have. I plateaued at the physique you see in the picture — healthy as hell, but still carried more body fat than I wanted. I’m naturally an endomorphic, and if given the chance I’ll be a fat person. No argue. It takes calorie control with me — and with most overweight people. Because of body types, the Paleo diet cannot make all people super lean.

      Natural, real food (Paleo) has certainly made me healthier, and can make most people healthier. But it is intermittent fasting that brought my body fat level to the single digit for well over a year — and can help those people whose weight has not been resolved by the Paleo diet alone.

      So, although I give the Paleo diet a lot of credit for my improved health and initial loss of body fat, I give intermittent fasting far more credit for restorative health, youthfulness, and my current low body fat.

      Best,
      Johnny

  14. Jordan D. says:

    When it comes to weight loss, all foods with high energy density have to be “handled with care.” Not just “junk” food but also beef, pork, cheese, butter, peanut butter and other nut butters, cream cheese, coconut, vegetable oils, etc. Not to imply that one can’t eat these foods, I’ve had my fair share of burgers and steaks during my weight loss! 🙂 But I doubt most people will be able to eat a *high volume* of these foods and maintain a calorie deficit. Unless one is extremely physically active, some sort of reduction or moderation of foods with high energy density will probably be necessary.

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  16. Sam says:

    dudes awesome transformation! good job

  17. Pingback: Pictures of body composition

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