Photo Update: July 4th, 2011

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Hi Everyone,

This picture was taken late morning today (happy Independence Day!).

My wife and I were enjoying a cup of coffee in the sun, 14 hours into my intermittent fasting, and I decided to grab the ol’ leather ball to do some casual wood-chops. Nothing vigorous. Just stimulating vascular flow and cellular respiration — the stuff of good health.

Regular movement — be it formal exercise or just incidental activity — helps with energy regulation, and is a strong predictor of health and even longevity.

Long-term readers of TLS know what I’ve said for years:

Eat mostly whole, real food. Do intermittent fasting. And move more. It’s that simple.

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37 Responses to Photo Update: July 4th, 2011

  1. Stephon says:


    Happy Independence Day! Yes, again your message as always is simple and takes the complication out of the equation. I am a firm believer in keeping things short and brief for the most part when it comes to exercise especially lately, my 4th of July workout was Burpees, Kettlebell swings, and medicine ball slams and all it took was 10 minutes. Invigorating without all the hassle of spending hours in the gym, thanks again for keeping things short and sweet in your message and in formal exercise.

    By the way, you look fantastic! keep up the good work. If I recall in your last post a comment was made about you getting chubby??, from the looks of it you are the complete opposite… lean and mean.

    • Johnny says:

      Thanks, Stephon.

      Lean and mean is the motto for life at TLS.

      The picture of me in the previous post was taken after enjoying a bowl of New England clam chowder and a steam pot of seafood and salty broth from a coastal restaurant my wife and I love to visit when we go to the beach. Of course, a little water retention is temporary and never bothers me, but it seemed to have elicited a comment by a reader that I’m getting chubby. If indeed this is considered chubby, then I’m OK with it, because I absolutely enjoyed the clam chowder and the steam pot!

      And I consider them among the little gifts of life.


  2. Jake says:

    Happy Fourth of July.
    I see you have changed your mind about reducing your muscle mass. You seem to have more muscle than I ever. I approve.
    Following you advice, I am looking pretty good too.

    • Paul says:

      Yes he looks very “massy” on that pic. I remember him saying he wants to loose muscle to get the “Hollywood” Look.

      • Steven says:

        It’s obvious that everybody has a different perception of what having “mass” or being “lean” looks like. In both this picture and the last one that ol’ Johnny posted, he looks pretty damn shredded, lean and healthy. He is not “overdone” with excessive bulk (by any means), and he does not appear to be water or glycogen depleted and/or washed out looking. Both are fine pics that display a healthy male look that most people strive for but continually miss the mark on due to the inconsistency of not adhering to or making IF, daily movement, or once/twice weekly brief workouts part of their life-long process. Johnny says he’s 5’8″ and under 150lbs. One thing to keep in mind is that height and weight have only a small part to do with body composition. How we eat, train, and move throughout our day is more of a factor… and yes, so are genetics. I believe Johnny has said that he used to do some Olympic weightlifting and we know from other posts/discussions here that he favors short, intense and brief workouts. The type of body composition one would normally acquire from these styles of workouts is vastly different from a 5’8”, 150lb. male who likes to run marathons. (Fair amount of load and tension on the musculoskeletal system for one individual, hardly any on the other). It’s apparent that everyone that reads the TLS is here to get lean, carry a decent amount of muscle and look good. Johnny’s done a good job of providing himself as an example of that. Someone like Johnny, who trains and moves the way he does, probably has the capability of doing a fairly intense workout, dropping a bunch of water to look shredded on Sunday and then, I’d guess, hmmm, maybe hover on down to the mid 140s for a day, and later, after consumption of a good-sized hardy meal and a bottle of Cabernet (did I say the whole bottle?), and a bit of R&R, most likely would find himself on Monday morning sitting at, slightly below, or slightly above 150lbs. with a bit more “fullness” to his muscles and a slight noticeable difference in appearance in body composition, aka, more mass. But hey, “Lolo” apparently has this all figured out already while he eats copious amounts of chocolate all day so, just disregard.

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Steven,

        Couldn’t have said it better myself.
        And who told you about the bottle of Cabernet???


      • Johnny says:


        It’s just blood influx into working muscles, and the angle of sunlight.
        Of course, I’m not apologizing for it.



  3. Parker says:


    Thank you so much for the excellent & inspiring information.

    Any thoughts on a daily 3 mile run?

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Parker,

      I personally don’t like running more than 2 blocks to catch a taxi.
      But I’ll sprint 3 blocks for an ice-cream truck.

      But if running 3 miles daily makes you feel good, then that’s good. (It’s running 12 miles daily that will catch up to you soon or later.)


  4. Mark says:

    Hey Johnny
    Just wondering, how long did it take you to get down to where you currently sit once you started IF’ing? I remember a ‘before’ IF pic that you once posted but wasn’t sure if the change afterwards was quick or gradual. Thanks

    • Johnny says:

      I can’t remember exactly but I seem to recall that the Paleo diet took me from over 20% body fat to 15% body fat, where I plateaued for a long time, even though I was super strict with Paleo. Then when I adopted the IF lifestyle it took about 3 months or so to drop below 10% body fat. I’ve been there ever since, and I eat mostly whole, real food but still enjoy foods that are typically off-limits to the paleo community.


      • Al says:


        The last sentence in your comment about still enjoying off-limit Paleo foods leads me to ask a question. What is your mindest when you head into those type of situations when you know that eating clean might/will be difficult to do? I think this is my hardest thing to overcome: having the right mindset when I occasionally eat non-paleo foods. I really want the right mindset when I go to social outings because I feel that you seem to enter into those situations very well. Thanks.

      • Johnny says:

        Hi Al,

        I have somewhat a good memory for what I’ve eaten. If I eat refined (non-paleo) food at a social event, then I know that it’s most likely very dense in energy. I just budget for that, pre or post enjoyment.

        It’s that simple.

        Hope that helps.


  5. Jordan says:

    Hi Johnny,

    Your last comment made me think of something. Like everyone, I want to be as lean as possible to be “good looking” for the vacation and on the beach in the near future. Also, like most of us, on vacation we have to deal with the fact that we can’t really chose what we eat and generally refined food is the only option (lots of social events, parties, restaurants, hotels food…). So, how would you proceed to stay lean and avoid gaining fat in a prolonged period like vacation? I ask since in the last comment it was more about an occasonial situation where the next day it could be possible to “get back on track”. As we know, an occasional feast isn’t going to make us gain fat but prolonged feast on calorically dense food will. Just wanted to know how you would deal with it…

    PS: By the way, great thanks for the answer on the exercises. As I talk about this, I thought I could be a bit more specific on the look I’m trying to achieve. A picture is worth a 1000 words so here’s a sample: (sorry for the outfits, lol!)
    Is the emphasize on the specific exercises and bodyparts remains the same?
    Oh, and finally, I’ve always wonder if the adonis belt (the “v” shaped formed by the abs and the hip flexor) can be trained, if it could “pop up” more or is it just plain genetics?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Jordan,

      The visible V Belt line is mostly a result of a very lean condition. It’s part of the anatomy. Fat hides it. And it’s mostly fascia and not muscle, and definitely not the hip flexors (which lie deeper and cannot be seen superficially). You cannot develop the V-Belt line, per se. You can only display via a lower body fat content.

      You can also “de-emphasize” the V-Belt by overdeveloping the external obliques; this may occur with excessive, heavy, deep squats, which results in a blocky torso. At one point I competed in Olympic-style weightlifting, which requires deep, heavy squatting at relatively high volume training, and my obliques became quite blocky. I knew that but, for the competitive lifting goals, I accepted it. Now I no longer do deep, heavy squatting at that kind of volume (I still squat deeply but with much lighter weight — usually body weight) and my obliques have lost the excessive muscle hypertrophy — the V-Belt is now more prominent, whereas before it was distracted by the blocky external obliques.

      • Rahsaan says:

        Question, Johnny. What’s considered “heavy, deep squatting” weight? I do CrossFit and we squat a lot (either with or without weight). I actually have a visible Adonis Belt and would lofe to keep it that way. I’m about 5’11” and 192 lbs. Any estimate of what heavy squats would be for me?

        I realize you probably were going uber heavy back when you were competing. Heavier than I ever plan to do. Even at CrossFit. However, I’d like to avoid blockiness if I can.

      • Johnny says:

        This is 112 kilogram (246 lbs) clean and jerk.

        I back squatted 140 kilograms (308 lbs.) regularly to get to my competitive capability. It was deep, as in ass to heels, hamstrings fully contacting calves. BUT, I want to be clear, it wasn’t so much the heavy weight, the type of exercise, or the depth of the squat that made my obliques blocky… rather, it was the frequency of required training. I did some form of heavy squat (i.e. clean, snatch, front squats, back squat) as well as heavy pulls (i.e. clean pulls, snatch pulls, deads, etc.) probably 5 to 6 days per week, for months on end.

        It’s not the poison but the dose.

        I’d still recommend the fundamental strength exercises to anyone — deadlifts, squats, etc. I just don’t do them regularly anymore and I absolutely don’t believe that anyone MUST do them regularly. But definitely do them once in a while. I think everyone benefits a lot from doing them in their lives. Deadlifts and squats, at any weight. And work the full range of motion.

        [BTW, in the video above, I had fasted for 3 days to meet my weight class, without ever knowing what Intermittent Fasting was. I dropped the weight successfully (over 12 pounds) and still nailed a personal best in this competition.]


      • Rahsaan says:

        By the way, I also practice JKD, Panantukan and Muay Thai a couple of hours a week in a class that combines the disciplines. And I do CrossFit only twice a week. I think the martial arts should help with keep me svelte. Or at least, I hope.

      • Rahsaan says:

        Johnny, thanks for the thorough clarification, including the video. I definitely don’t do Olympic lifting more than a couple of days per week at most, so I should be good. As always, you rock. Thanks for continuing to provide such great info.

  6. Parker says:


    Thanks! The days of running farther than three miles are long gone…the benefits probably stop even at a mile or so and I’ll note that if the run doesn’t feel good, I’ll take an easy walk instead.

    While I’m only doing IF 2 – 3 times a week & eating two meals/day the other days unless at a business lunch (which is typically a salad), I’m enjoying the benefits enormously. The HIT approach for training sounds great…using a 15 minute SuperSlow or Heavy Duty type workout seems ideal.

  7. James says:

    Hey long time reader, first time commenter haha.

    I love your blog and find that intermittent fasting makes a healthy lifestyle so much simpler to achieve. I need some advice though right now. I know you did that experiment of one when you went on a cruise – right now I’m kind of in the same situation. I’ve been travelling around Europe with the family and while I tried to keep up my IF, it’s extremely difficult given the sporadic schedules and copious amounts of exotic, delicious looking foods my family and I are surrounded with. Furthermore, I believe there’s more to life than just dieting and staying healthy. I want to enjoy my time with my family and the vacation rather than be “that guy” whose keeping control of his diet. Given this, I’ll take a break for this week and just eat whatever junk comes my way.

    Restarting is always hard for me though, I’m one of those persons where if I’m in the zone and have a pattern, I can stick with it, but restarting is always difficult since I keep just putting it off saying “I’ll start tomorrow”.

    I know that next week when I’m back home from Europe, I just need to grow a pair and just say I’LL START NOW, TODAY. But I would love any advice you can give. What did you do after your free-for-all cruise to psyche yourself for damage control afterwards? Any mental advice? How did you manage hunger the first couple days? I’ve noticed the more I eat and the crappier I eat the more cravings and hungry I tend to get.

    Thanks so much!

    • Johnny says:

      Hi James,

      Your post is comprehensive and answers the circumstance you’re facing… the long vacation. While on vacation, don’t eat where you don’t find significance, and enjoy it where you do.

      And restarting is always hard in almost anything we do. It’s energy economy. But, what are we going to do, just not get back to what we know is the right thing? If it helps, my perspective is this: life is sometimes cyclical. Body weight is also cyclical — sometimes it’s up, other times it’s down. As long as it’s not out of control one way or another. That’s not a bad thing.


  8. Jordan says:

    Thanks Johnny for the reply.

    So, basically I just have to really lower my body fat (by concentrating on my diet) then the V belt will become more prominent?
    Also, do you do train your abs? What are you thoughts on Planks and Side planks? Can they (or any direct abs exercise) lead in hiding the V belt or make it more visible?

    • Jordan says:

      Sorry for reposting, but as I was searching more info on the V belt, I’ve read that doing Stomach Vacuum exercises that works the Transverse abdominis can help in making it more visible. Is this true? Is working the transverse or the internal obliques can help?


      • Rahsaan says:

        Hey, Jordan. If it counts for anything… from my experience, Johnny is spot-on. My inguinal crease is always most visible when I’m eating clean and at a low body fat level. That is, it’s starts to become really visible for me when I’m under 12% BF and strikingly so when I’m down to between 6% and 7%. Personally, I don’t really do ab-specific exercises. I prefer compound movements, because isolation ones bore me and never seem quite true to the way my body is designed to move.

    • Johnny says:

      I haven’t done any direct ab exercises for well over a decade. I rarely do plank work. I just get under a heavy barbell on occasions or I accelerate a medicine ball in multiple chop patterns. This acceleration of an implement (my favorite is a leather medicine ball) engages almost every muscle in your body, including those of the trunk.


  9. lolo says:

    nice pose, you look frigging dangerous. here its me

    in that pic i just finished eating dinner, sorry didn’t take my shirt @ pump my muscles- im completely relaxed and peaceful ) luckily no fluid retention problems over here, so chocolate or not i must be doing something right after all.

  10. Leo says:

    Johnny you said
    “Eat mostly whole, real food. Do intermittent fasting. And move more. It’s that simple.”

    For some reason it’s not so simple for me.
    I’m thin but flabby and flaccid. I lack firmness and shape.
    I’m trying to make it simple but when I eat less I become even more flaccid and the stomach fat doesn’t go anywhere. When I lift weights I see no results unless I try to eat a bit more but when I do I start gaining even more fat in the abdomen. I can changed my size but I’m unable to change my shape which is always the same; flaccid skinny-fat. Why it isn’t working for me? I’m just 20

    • Johnny says:

      Hi Leo,

      I can’t comment much on the result you seem to be getting because there are many unknown variables. I don’t know what kind of training routine or what kind of physical output you display while exercising. More importantly, it’s not clear what kind of genetic propensity for muscle growth you possess. Also, another variable is the little-discussed though not uncommon observation of those few people who are “exercise non-respondence.”

      For most people, a solid strength training routine and meeting the basic required number of calories (without overeating) are the primary driver of changing body composition. Whatever your case, you would still benefit significantly from not overeating and an from using an exercise routine.


      • Leo says:


        Right now I’m doing circuit training, 3-4 sets of 3 high-reps full body combination exercises (i.e. squat push press) plus 2 cardio exercises (i.e. jumping jacks) for 20-30 seconds.

        I don’t have the necessary weights to do low-rep heavy lifting or to increase the weight 5-10 lbs every workout, nor I have a gym membership. I don’t like doing cardio on separate days so circuit training looks like the best deal. I’m not trying to buil mass just to add firmness and tone while losing extra body fat. I’m on a slight caloric deficit, eating mostly a combination of carbs and meat and veggies and occasionally eating out and less clean food. Very low-carb eating (i.e meat and veggies and nothing else) makes me feel sick. My first meal is always at 2 pm or 3 pm.

        Thanks for replying

  11. KevinT says:

    Johnny… lookin’ great in the pic! And I LOVE that medicine ball. Very old school “physical culture” looking. Awesome.

    Question for everyone else:

    Anyone else here pretty much lose their appetite and/or feel a full body “tension” or tiredness later in the evening after getting used to fasting for a while? I’m almost never hungry, but sometimes eating “sounds” good. That and I tend to be pretty low energy / worn out at night & sometimes even my teeth ache a bit (they kinda are right now actually).

    It didn’t used to be like that. My weight & waist line haven’t budged much either the last couple of months. Stopped at 250lbs from 270+. I fluctuated the same 5-10lbs & 1″ on my waist for a while now. Workouts, etc have been kept up.

    I’m trying to keep things simple and let it all work itself out … but I have to admit I’m a bit frustrated trying to figure out what’s going on & what to do. I’m currently working to “make weight & measurements” for a zipline tour coming up. Don’t wanna be the guy that can’t go because of 5-10 lbs & an inch or two, when I know I’m the most active / health minded person in the group! 🙂

  12. Jordan says:

    Hi Johnny,

    I’ve read the posts you linked in your previous answer. I’ve read them back at the time you wrote them but didn’t read them since.

    The one called “A gluttony environment – So good” really intrigued me.

    Tell me if I’m wrong but on a practical level what you did, which helped you at maintaining your body compisition/leanness, is fasting all the day then enjoying one large meal (dinner) that includes a variety of foods (even high-caloric ones…) ? Did you adopted this schedule for the 10 days you were on the cruise?
    Is adopting this schedule of extended/prolonged fast (you were fasting about 23 hours, no?) for a longer period of vacation, like 3 weeks or a month, can do any harm?

    Thanks in advance.

  13. Marc says:

    For James…

    Read my last post.
    Let it happen….no need to rush, it will come….but you must K NOW. In the same way that when you get in your car you KNOW you are getting to your destination. all this “stuff” is no different.

    Johhny has kept it so simple…follow it and believe it and enjoy your life. HAHA kind of like that guy on the infomercial SET it and FORGET it. 🙂


  14. Alex says:

    Hi Johnny,

    just wanted to start off by saying thanks for being such a great inspiration, your lifestyle is definitely the style I hope to achieve. That said, I have a few question I hope you can help answer a fellow IF’er.

    First off, I currently follow Martin Berkhans style of IF, via Lean Gains. I lift heavy 3 days a week, with at least a day of rest in-between, alternating different compound lifts each session. Lifts are going up, with body fat going down, which is awesome. However, I do not wish to achieve a big blocky body builder look, but rather the more aesthetically structured look you have. My first question is: should I stop trying to build my strength each week (as I have almost weekly gains) and just repeat the same weight when i achieve the amount of mass i am pleased with in order not to get too big, or should I just aim for less sets/rep+lifting as heavy as I can to lose fat? I am in the process of purchasing some kettlebells to do some swings during my “rest days” for fun, but I am also not adverse to going to the gym as I do love going. Suggestions?

    My second question is about protein. I realized that you mentioned in a previous post that you “probably do not even get the recommended daily amount of protein.” So how much protein do you think you do consume, and how much do you really think is needed for efficient fat loss+gains?

    Thanks a head of time if you do happen to answer my questions, but if not, I understand as you are a busy man!


    • Johnny says:

      Hi Alex,

      In general: Heavy compound lifts + deep squats + high volume and frequency of training under these conditions = more muscle mass all around.

      The amount and/or the shape of muscle mass (big and/or blocky) are ultimately dependent on your genetics.

      Therein lies the art to achieve what you personally want.

      Don’t let others tell you that getting super strong is all that matters, no matter how you end up looking like; rather, the end point is your own decision.

      Personally, I don’t need super strength because I’m not wrestling buffalos or fighting gladiators; I like to have adequate strength to enjoy modern life in cerebral and creative times, be healthy, and look decent. In other words, I don’t train for apocalypse or zombie invasions (although I have no beef with those who do). And, at least where I live, the bodybuilder look gets made fun of by most women… but even if not, I personally don’t care for this look.

      As for protein, what is that?

      But to be serious, I just eat whole, real food most of the time. These days I have no clue what the macronutrient composition is, and that’s been the absolute best element of my eating habit.


      • Hunter says:

        Just wanting to elaborate abit on the above post Johnny. But For those that are training for the zombie apocolypse or fighting gladiators, are there any changes you would make to the IF way of eating? Or would it basically mean just eat more? Thanks Hunter

      • Johnny says:

        Just need adequate intake to support activity but not support excess fat.

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