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Back-to-back over the last 6 years

In several recent posts, I have mentioned that I have gained about a stone (14 pounds, 6.3 kilos) in weight over the course of 2012, and my chest measurement went up 2 inches in that time. With my chest measurement up, it seems as though much of the weight I have gained is muscular weight, and that was my plan, as I have been training my upper back to try to increase that desirable ‘v shape’ male torso, and also to increase my pulling strength, for rock climbing.

Now I have added some strength and muscle, one of my goals for 2013 is to cut my body fat from the current level, which is about 11.5% to 12%, down to below 10%, without losing any muscle mass.

The V-shaped back

As I tighten my mid-section, that roll of fat sitting on my belt (see the picture) will hopefully melt away, and I will be left with a strong lean back and a good v-shape.

Oh, if only DOING that was as easy as writing it…!!

To be honest, building muscle is quite hard for me, my natural body shape is quite tall and thin, I have very long arms and legs, that gives me good reach for boxing, but building big thick arms is impossibly hard. Also, I am always so busy, I don’t sleep enough. For a man in his 40s or older to build muscle mass, requires a clean high-protein diet, and plenty of rest, plenty of sleep. Muscle repairs and grows while we sleep, so my typical 15-hour work days and 6 hours sleep just doesn’t help me to build muscle.

Still, over the long term, my MND high-protein diet, and intermittent periods of heavy training, has changed my body shape.

I dug out these old pictures to see how my shape has changed over the last 6 years or so.

Karl's back shot yr end 2006

So the first picture is from around Christmas 2006, a full 6 years ago. I started ‘getting things right and losing weight’ in Feb 2006, so by the time this picture was taken, at the end of the year, I was already down 20 or 30 pounds, maybe more. I recorded my body fat at circa 22% in December 2006 – and looking at this picture, it looks awful to me!! Yuk…grab those love handles!!

Karl's back shot Aug 2011

This second picture shows my back in August 2011, lots of marathons under my belt and I had given up a lot of sugar and carbs and I had been eating a broadly paleo diet for at least a year or so by this point. Much better, this is ‘slim Karl’, finally free of the flab I had carried around for so many years. In 2011 I was enjoying being my lightest ever in adulthood, light on my feet, feeling fit and healthy. By mid September 2011, I was at my all time lightest and leanest, at circa 11 stone 11 pounds (165 pounds, or 75 kilos), and down to 11% bodyfat. I like that I look much slimmer in this picture, but my body looks soft, a bit skinny…I was developing a distance runners body – too skinny and not enough muscle!

Karl's back shot July 2012

This third picture is from July 2012, my 42nd birthday. Here I had gained 7 or 8 pounds since the previous picture was taken, and I had been off running for 8 months, and mostly doing circuits and bodyweight exercises, and I was working on building my back. Bodyfat was at 12% or thereabouts.

Back Jan 2013

And the final shot is up to date, Jan 2013, and that V-shape is coming on, my back clearly looking wider and stronger than the skinny runner from a couple of years earlier.

As stated, I shall continue training in 2013 with a goal to keep my muscle but burn off the fat, and I will try to remember to post a new back picture in 6 month’s time so you can see my progress.


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