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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!!

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!

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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