Photo Update 4/22/11

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This picture was taken earlier today. Over 2 years of intermittent fasting. Consistently under 10% body fat (from being more than 50 pounds overweight at one point in life). Still enjoying my preferred amount of lean muscle mass. More liberated than ever.

Still eating mostly whole, real food, though not Paleolithic in absolute. I still enjoy fresh-baked breads and tiramisu dessert.

Still eating my first meal around 4pm. I do quazi-daily intermittent fasting (IF on most days of the week, but still enjoy breakfast or lunch with friends or with my wife).

I lift heavy weight once or twice a week, and I do metabolic training now and then. (The picture above is while doing a 10-minute workout at home with a medicine ball — quick and dirty.)

I never focus on macronutrients. I never focus on protein intake — probably don’t even get the recommended daily minimum half the time.

I also don’t focus on post-workout meals. Post-workout meals may be useful for those who have reached 97% of their maximum genetic potential, in which case PWO meals (and some nutritional supplements) may net another 2% or 3%. They may have their use, but it depends on the user’s status.

Most people, however, still have a large margin of natural muscle mass to gain, and/or they still possess a layer of fat to lose. These people should concentrate on things that matter the most (like a good strength training program or eating less) and they should avoid fancy details (like meal timing and protein powders) until they’re pushing their genetic envelop.

For those muscleheads who are near behemoth potential (i.e. having the heavy muscle mass of competitive bodybuilders) and have the deep-seated psychological need to push for even more, there are endless muscle-building blogs and websites available on the internet. The Lean Saloon is not that place.

The Lean Saloon is a place for those who wish to get lean, possess an attractive physique, enjoy good health, and not obsess over the process.

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56 Responses to Photo Update 4/22/11

  1. Brandon says:

    Looking great man. On my way there…down 25lbs in about two months and actually enjoying my “diet.” Probably at 14% bf now…4 more to go for my goal!

  2. Sue says:

    Looking great. No stressing over macros, etc – love it.

  3. Emma says:

    Hi Johnny,

    I have been eating primally for about 8 months and have finally started being treated for hypothyroidism that has seen me unable to lose weight for that whole period.
    I added your IF protocol into my life 3 weeks ago. I don’t count, I don’t stress and I don’t plan. I have cream in my coffee in the morning but otherwise don’t eat till 4pm, in the late afternoon/evening I eat what I like in whatever quantities I like. I eat potatoes, rice and other starchy veg as I feel better when I’m not too low-carb and I also enjoy a glass of wine or two a few times a week.
    Anyway, long story short, the weight is falling off me. I’ve lost 8lbs in 3 weeks after 8 months of no movement on the scale at all!!
    I am ecstatic and I don’t feel even slightly deprived. I have limitless energy during the day with no food (I work as a theatre nurse and stand all day) and I really don’t work out. I like to hike and that’s about it.
    Thanks for your great example. πŸ™‚

    • Sue says:

      That’s fabulous to hear that it’s working for you.

    • frrances says:

      I am hypothyroid too and even on the strictest low-carb regimen, I could only lose very very slowly. IF has completely changed that. I now lose faster and with less effort/restriction.

      It makes me think there is a metabolic or biological advantage attached to IF in regards to hypothyroidism.

      • Sue says:

        Maybe strict low carb is not optimal for women to lose weight. Perhaps we need a little bit more carbs and less fat. Not very low levels of fat but not the very high levels recommended say with paleo/primal.

  4. Sigi says:

    Looking awesome, Johnny! What a fine example to us all – and fine words of wisdom too.

    Thank you so much for this blog. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading through your archives and taking on board your simple (but obviously effective!) approach. I’ve only been doing a daily IF (at the moment it’s usually about 17/7, eating window from 1.30-8.30 pm) for about a month, but I can already see the benefits in so many ways. It’s really kickstarted my progress again, and I’m confident I have all the tools I need to become as lean, strong, fit and healthy as I aim to be. You’re right – it’s so liberating!

    Thank you again, and keep up the great work! All the best.

  5. crzydjm says:

    Nicely done, sir!

  6. E says:

    Did you have to do anything different once you got under 10% in order to reach your maintenance of 5-6% BF? Did you have to reduce indulgence in the occasional bread, pasta, deserts or was it just a function of time as fat loss for calories in vs calories out? I ask because I noticed that it becomes harder to drop the fat in a deficit when at 10% while eating high GI/man made carbs as part of the diet.

    • Johnny says:

      Hi E,

      There’s always a point of diminishing returns. The response to this phenomenon is not complicated. Look in the mirror, and then adjust your eating and/or physical activity accordingly. That’s what I did — no confusion.


  7. Jordan D. says:

    Looking great, Johnny! You have the kind of physique and lifestyle that a lot of us are striving for, and if all that complex stuff isn’t necessary to achieve that (and is actually detrimental to the latter,) why bother? I love that you’re not trying to be all things to everyone. That’s a great mindset.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even care about my work out, for the moment anyway. At about 210-212 lbs., with a goal of ~175, I just need to get the fat off! Having such a large amount of body fat, no amount of muscle is going to make me look good. (No natural amount, anyway.) Nothing wrong with exercise, of course, and I still want to do some basic stuff like push ups and chin ups. But I’ve realized that it was taking my attention away from what I really need to do, which to simply consume fewer calories.

    I was going to the gym and hittin’ those weights, but obviously it didn’t improve my body shape one iota. If I did gain any muscle, it wasn’t much, and it was obscured by fat anyway. In fact, Ive gained weight over the last several months because I wasn’t in control of my diet. Now I’m focused solely on my diet, and doing better.

    Once I’ve got the fat off, then I can actually see what’s underneath, and see what I need to do in terms of muscle mass. Until then, I’m not going to sweat it. And I’m definitely not going to sweat the fearmongering that I’m going to lose all my muscle when I’m losing weight. Pfft!

    • brandon says:

      you still need to do some form of resistance training to preserve what muscle you do have and build more as the fat falls off. Otherwise, you’ll still look unhealthy and possibly still be skinny fat.

      • Jordan D. says:

        Brandon, I’m not worried about it. I realized that one of the main reasons I was working out was because of that fear of “losing muscle,” but then I realized that I don’t believe that anymore! It’s all a bunch of fearmongering. I know I’ll be fine. It’s so liberating to let go of all those useless fears and anxieties, lemme tell ya. πŸ™‚

        “Look unhealthy?” Haha, trust me, I’ll actually *be* healthier when I’m 35-40 pounds lighter! That’s for sure.

        “Skinny-fat,” ugh, what a useless term. Let’s break it down:

        1) “Skinny.” I’m not worried about being skinny. I’m not an ecto, so that’s not a concern. I’ve never been skinny, not even as a kid, so that’s not part of my psychology. When I’m in shape, I have a medium build, even without much exercise. So the “skinny” thing is not a source of anxiety or fear for me. It would probably be very difficult for me to be truly skinny, even if I lose a lot of weight.

        2) “Fat.” If one is fat, just lose more weight! haha. Like I said before, more muscle isn’t going to make me look better with all of this excess fat. Personally, I think the human body can look very good without a lot of muscle, as long as body fat is low. But I know that men in the diet/ health/ fitness circles are biased towards wanting as much muscle as possible, so I know they’ll disagree with me. That’s okay. I know what I want and I feel great about it.

        I don’t know if you’re familiar with John Barban, but he talks a lot about “goal hijacking,” which is what happens when someone allows himself or herself to be sidetracked by other people’s goals, fears, anxieties, biases, and ideologies. I’ve been down that road before and I’m not taking it again. I have a goal and I know it’s right for me.

  8. Steve says:

    Well, I’m stumped.

    I’m 49. I lift heavy intermittently (deadlifts one day, weighted dips 2-3 later, weighted 1-legged squats 2 days later, weighted chins 2 days later, e.g.). For me, heavy = 450 lb deadlifts, 75 pound chins, 80 lb 1-legged squats, 60 lb dips… at 145 lbs.

    I split my workout like this so I have enough recovery in me for my sprinting workouts — I’m a competitive sprinter and I’m at the track 2-3x/week.

    I’m primarily vegetarian, but I eat fish, eggs and supplemental protein powder at least once a day.

    I eat in a 7-8 hour window, usually starting at 10-11 am and finishing by 6.

    I’ve been doing this for at least 8 months.

    But here’s the rub…

    I’ve only lost 3 pounds — 150 to 147. And my BF went from 17.5 to about 16 (+/- .5).

    That’s it.

    Not a clue why I’m not seeing those great results that others talk about.

    • Sue says:

      Not creating a calorie deficit so no weight/fat loss.

    • Sondra Rose says:

      I used to IF from 10-6, but I found I was still eating too much.

      I started losing when I changed my eating window to start later in the day–at noon or 1pm. Most of the time, I stop eating at 6 pm, occasionally I will got to 8pm.

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Steve,

        Sondra is correct. There are many factors to why you’re not dropping the weight you want. It could be that your muscle has a greater capacity to store glycogen from your workouts; it could be you’re making a body recomposition. It could be that you’re still getting in more calories than you need, in order to see the dramatic change you wish to experience. It could be you just need more time.

        But in the end, IF is not in itself magic. Although it affects a slightly different metabolic sourcing (fat>glucose), you still need to be certain you’re eating less to see more weight loss. IF just makes it simpler to eat less.



  9. Courtnay says:

    Ok, I’ll state the obvious. You look good.

  10. David says:

    Congratulations on two years. You look incredible. When I first started with daily IF last August you were my inspiration and my mentor via this blog. As of last week I am now down 100 pounds from 320 to 220 (6’3″). I would say that I have another 30 pounds to go before I approach 10% body fat. I eat fairly strict paleo and almost never eat before 5pm. Once I reach my goal I hope to loosen it up a bit and mirror your dietary habits with a little more flexibility.

    Thank you for the inspiration! Less than a year ago I didn’t believe that it was possible for me to maintain a healthy weight no matter how much I exercised. It really is quite simple when you find out the secret.

    • Sigi says:

      Wow, amazing results, David! Congratulations on your success.

    • Joe says:

      Great job David. Can you tell me what a typical daily menu looked like for you, and what workouts your doing? I’m in the same boat as you were last August.

      Thank you.

    • Johnny says:


      Great achievement.
      You’ve earned the significantly improved health.
      (And the new wardrobe.)
      Thanks always for sharing the story.


  11. TrailGrrl says:

    Even though Courtney just said it, you are looking good! The medicine ball makes for a great pic.

    I have been doing IF for quite some time and it works even if you eat tiramisu (I recently found that Aladdin’s Cafe makes not only great chicken thighs mishwi, but has an awesome tiramisu….this tiramisu tear is all your fault). So I never stress over food anymore and don’t take stuff on travel since I can just fast.

    I just started doing muay Thai and bjj again, and wow I was hungry for two days. I know I didn’t eat enough probably. I really like the boxing though, even though the cardio demand is much higher than what I’ve been doing. Classes are usually in evening. Will eating at 3 or 4 pm still work for me? Or do I just need to make sure I eat a smaller amount before and the regularly afterward?


    • Johnny says:

      Hi TrailGrrl,

      Generally, your body will adapt to your feeding schedule, even if it’s random. Your physical output (for most exercise modes) will also adapt, given the time. I don’t worry about eating before or after. (I’m not a serious bodybuilder; I just want a lean, well-defined physique and good health.)


      • Shanna says:

        You say you don’t worry about eating before or after. Does that mean that I can still strength train and not have to eat right after? Like if I wanted to workout with weights in the morning and then not eat until the evening? Thanks.

      • Johnny says:

        I did that today. It depends on how you’ve made yourself accustomed to eating/exercising patterns, but any eating/exercise pattern can be achieved.


      • Shanna says:

        Thanks so much for the response! I always workout fasted early in the morning. So many people in the fitness industry act as if you don’t run to your kitchen and hook yourself up to a protein drip your workout is a waste. So I figured I’d get your opinion.

  12. Sondra Rose says:


    Thanks so much for the inspiration, Johnny! Your blog has been an oasis of sanity and wisdom on my Primal journey.

    Beginning Nov 1, 2010, I started eating a 99% Primal diet. Two months of Primal eating helped me drop the initial water weight, but no body fat. In January, I still had about 10 lbs of fat to lose.

    Calorie counting dropped a few more pounds.

    However, IF has been the easiest and fastest way for me to lose the rest of my excess body fat–and it is so empowering!

    At 48, I am almost bikini-ready after a month of IFing from noon to 6 or 8 pm .

    • Johnny says:

      I fully anticipate a bikini picture soon on your blogsite.
      Or on here.

      Thank you, Sondra, for the kind words and for your continuous support and spread of TLS.


  13. Richard says:

    What a fantastic post Johnny! What can I say? You look awesome.

    It’s 2:30pm here in England. I’m enjoying the fantastic weather this Easter Sunday and really enjoying my food.

    As usual, I’ve skipped breakfast. Since it’s Easter I’ve enjoyed 3 or 4 small little Easter eggs that my lovely 18 month old second cousin kindly gave me after she found them in the garden after her egg hunt. I’ve just eaten a little lunch. 1 cup of coffee with a vanilla syrup, a good old classic English hot cross bun lightly toasted with a bit of butter and a Chocolate cornet out in the sun. Absolutely divine!

    Later on I’m going over to my grandparents for a family BBQ. What better way to enjoy this wonderful Easter sunday in this fantastic weather than with family and friends?

  14. Looking good, Johnny.

  15. Haley says:

    Awesome! I have become a regular reader on your blog, and I am loving it! Thanks for sharing so much info here!

  16. Looking good Johnny!
    I am inspired to get to your level of leaness.
    Went on vacation with the family last week for 8 days, no exercise, great wine and beer, too much food and came back bloated and gained a couple of pounds. This week back on the IF wagon. BTW, it was a great getaway, no regrets.

  17. Marc says:

    Looking good my man!!!

    I HAD to give you a little link love today as I’m really liking the honest, straightforward and usefull content you keep putting out………freely sharing your advice.
    Great stuff, keep it going!
    Have a good week.


  18. Dan says:

    Thanks for putting yourself out there as an example. You continue to inspire people past their dead ends.
    Keep showing the world how it’s done.


  19. Teena says:

    you look amazing!

    I discovered your blog a few days ago researching muscle building, and have been reading loads of it. I have a history of fasting (2x per week ESE style) and lost 11 lb, taking me to 5’7″ and 125lb. In the last 6 weeks I have begun a quest for muscle building, and have been following the advice of a “modest” (300-500cal) increase above maitenance eaten in a workout window, not gorging/bulking in bodybuilder fashion. No more fasting, and have dropped intervals from my workouts. I have done this once before about a year and a half ago, but didn’t like how heavy I was feeling (and I really gorged myself then!)

    I am doing a series of 4x per week workouts (from Turbulence Training), finsished a 4 week whole body workout, now an upper lower body split, but no isolation stuff…pretty much chins, rows, presses, deadlifts, split squats, etc…the bigger lifts. I have been steadily improving at how much I am lifting and can do 3 “real” consecutive chins. However, I am losing my abs, and am confused between those who say you need at least “some” excess, to other’s advice like yours, Leangains, Brad Pilon, John Barban/Adonis index who say eat in weight loss mode but the exercise is what takes care of the muscle and you can even build it.

    I have read your muscle 101 post, and also I have read much of Martin Berkhan’s blog as well and his Leangains guide. So, is this style of fasting conducive to “recomposition” for lack of a better word…losing fat and gaining muscle at the same time? I can now get comfortable with the fact that if I fast, I will not lose muscle, but will I have energy to lift and improve (schedule is such I lift in the very early a.m. but I do not want to spend loads on BCAA’s like Leangains advocates, and his whole macronutrient percentages/timing looks intimidating!!!)

    I guess what I am trying to ask is if the lifting and progression of weights/resistance is what causes muscle “growth”, would a combination of fasting and the type of workout I have described, sans the intervals/HIIT I was doing before when I first lost my weight, be effective? I am not trying to look like a fitness model or “behemoth” as I know you say that the Lean Saloon is not about that, but would like some more defined legs, delts, and be strong in some things like chinups. I am already getting tired of multiple meals a day (even in my ESE fasting stint I still ate 5-6 meals on my off days!!!) and your approach to fasting looks intriguing, but I wonder how it conflicts with my workout goals.

    • Johnny says:

      Teena wrote:

      “I guess what I am trying to ask is if the lifting and progression of weights/resistance is what causes muscle β€œgrowth”, would a combination of fasting and the type of workout I have described… be effective?”

      Assuming you have decent genetics, and your resistance training program is proper, then yes. You will experience noticeable muscle (and strength) gains. More if you’re newer to training like this; less if you’ve been at it for a while.

      Thank you for your kind words!


  20. Johnny says:

    To everyone who left a comment, thank you for your interaction and your continued reading of The Lean Saloon.

    Also, even if you don’t leave comments (and judging from the site’s statistics, there are an incredible number of you), thank you for visiting and reading TLS.

    I hope this blog has been purposeful to you all.


  21. Moe Parker says:

    Just wanted to tell you I enjoy your blog! I agree with your philosophy (mostly, lol, not so much into IF as you are). I personally don’t eat grains at all (except the incidentals at restaurants in sauces), my wife is gluten intolerant and my research to help her led me to grain free eating. And I agree, it is a pleasure to not be a slave to a workout regimen, and a slave to a “diet”, and to know it is not required, despite conventional wisdom and modern marketing.

  22. TerraH says:

    My husband and I were introduced to your blog about a year ago and we started intermittent fasting since then. Each of us have lost over 40 pounds each, our lightest weight since we were in college. We’re in our 50s, and we’re still in disbelief that we could weigh this much again. We just didn’t think that being normal weight was ever possible again in our lifetime. I cannot tell you how much we have appreciated what you’ve done for us in a single, simple, user-friendly blog. We’ve read several dozen weight loss books since the 1980s, and we’ve read several dozen weight loss blogs, but nothing compares to the genuinely common-sense approach you’ve been writing about in The Lean Saloon.

    In one sentence with deeper meaning than you’ll ever know: You’ve changed our lives.

    Thank you, from all of our hearts.

    Terra and Mitch H.

  23. Daniel says:

    Hi Johnny
    I don’t have a gym merbership and only a set of dumbbells up to 110 pounds, I don’t even have a bench.

    What’s the best strength training program I can follow? Full body or 2 or 3-days split?
    Many exercises per muscle groups or just one? High reps or low reps even if the weight is not super heavy?


  24. David says:

    You look really great! πŸ™‚ It’s nice to see these results!

    all the best,


  25. Alex says:

    Johnny,how much water do you drink a day?

  26. Jordan says:

    Hi Johhny,

    I’m so glad for you that the blog receives continuously increased success. You really deserve it and just looking at the comments will be enough to prove it.
    I’m a long time reader of TLS and I follow you since quite some time and now I can say that I’ve really understand your philosophy. It gives us back responsibility and freedom. It also opens our eyes about the “simplicity” of the process of weight loss, muscle gain and health and the true factors that are behind them.
    Thanks again and of course keep posting great articles and spreading true and relevant information.

    PS: I have one question if you don’t mind…
    I was wondering what’s the type of exercise that will have a greater impact if practiced regularly and if of course there is a calorie deficit?
    What type of exercise you prefer when trying to get back on track fast? Is short, intense exercises like burpees is better than aerobic?…

    Thanks in advance!

  27. Hunter says:

    Hello Johnny. I would like to start by saying, keep up the great work, you are an inspiration to all of us. Now I have two questions.
    1. What did you do differently when you had more muscle mass (diet wise)?
    2. What are your thoughts on everyone who is promoting IF with taking some protein during the fasting period (TNations pulse fast/feast, Ori Hofmeklers Warrior Diet, Dr Mercola)? I am thinking that everyone who is doing it also has a protein product to market. The ones that IF and arent promoting protein are you, Martin Berkhan, and fast 5.
    Thanks and have a great day.

    • Johnny says:


      I didn’t do anything differently with my eating when I had more muscle. WHen I decided to have less muscle, I lifted heavy weight less frequently — I went from 4 or 5 times a week to once or twice.


  28. Chance says:

    Hi Johnny,
    Thank you so much for your blog, the simplicity is refreshing. I want to begin IF immediately and want to be able to track my progress. Could you give me any idea of what to expect as far as weight loss? I am going to follow your basic exercise routine and am currently 5-8 and 209 lbs. I have IF before by accident and didn’t experience any weight loss, probably due to poor food intake. I work out of the home and have to eat out several times per week for work. What suggestions do you have on choices for lunch?

    • Johnny says:

      Chose lunch foods that give you joy, but also remember that you still need to be responsible. If you’re trying to lose weight, then eat mostly whole, real food and eat less of it. IF makes it easy to eat less.


  29. Pingback: Primal diet for teenagers? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

  30. Matt says:

    Lookin good Johnny, what are you weighing these days?

    Do you know what your weight was in the black and white pictures of you on the black and white picture in the ‘about’ page?

  31. Matt says:

    P.S. Just seen this which I thought you and your readers might appreciate:

    Quite a refreshing article

  32. Hunter says:

    Have you guys noticed that anyone who advocates IF with some type of protein are the ones with something to sell. I admire Johnny and Martin Berkhan for what they are doing and for helping us out. I still use some protein powder but usually only to make protein brownies for dessert.

  33. Pingback: Intuitive eating - Do you think every meal needs to be "balanced"? | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page

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