Changing Body Shape - Burn off the fat, build the muscle
As stated on my website, the goal of MotherNaturesDiet is: To inspire and help as many people as possible to find the best natural way to achieve supreme good health and abundant energy.
My definition of supreme good health and abundant energy is this:
- Free from pain, disease, immobility and any obvious illness
- Abundant vibrant energy
- Resisting the signs of premature aging – maintain youthful looks and energy levels
- A good level of basic fitness, strength and flexibility
- As a minimum, a balance of moderate physical ability across a range of functions
- Attractiveness – clear skin, not too fat, not too thin, bright healthy looks, a fit sexy body
- Natural virile healthy sexual function and high libido
- Longevity – I want to live a long, healthy life, free from disease and disability
- Age well – maintaining excellent levels of physical and mental ability well into my old age
So the ultimate goal of MND is to help people who want much more than to just survive, it’s for people who really want to thrive.
MotherNaturesDiet is focussed on supreme good health and abundant energy.
- Yes it’s elite
- Yes MND only really appeals to an elitist niche
- Yes it is a lifetime commitment to your best possible health, it’s no ‘quick fix’ or ‘fad diet’
- MND is of most appeal and of most help to people who are already pretty healthy and in good shape, and who seek the very best they can possibly be
- It’s for people who want to have more energy to do more with their lives
- No sickness or down time. MND is for people who don’t have time to get sick or feel tired or have those lazy days
- MND if for those who want to make the most of a long and fulfilling life
- It’s about turning back or slowing down the biological clock, resisting aging and staying youthful
For those of you who have been following my story for any time, you will know that all my life since I was a child, I was overweight and unfit, out of shape and I had no interest in sport, healthy living, staying fit or feeling great. For years I fought with smoking, drinking, fad diets, trying to lose weight and then putting it back on again.
Finally, in my mid 30’s, I worked out how to clean up my diet and quit smoking and start looking after myself better. In no time, it became my passion and my obsession.
From age 35 (start of 2006) to age 41 (middle of 2011) my focus was on losing the excess weight I had carried for many years. In total I shed approximately 100 pounds (7 stone, 45 kilos) of fat in that time.
This image shows where I had slimed down to in August 2011:
In 2011, a lot of my friends started saying “Don’t lose any more weight Karl, you look too skinny now” and “Put some muscle on man, stop running marathons and bulk up a bit, you look too scrawny.”
Since losing the fat, I have been trying to put on some muscle and stay fit and healthy.
So here, 2 years after reaching that lowest-weight point, are my stats.
My lowest weight in my adult life was, by pure coincidence, just a few weeks after the above picture was taken.
By truly bizarre co-incidence, on September 11, 2011, I weighed 11 stone and 11 pounds (that’s 165lbs, 74.8 kg) and was at 11% body fat.
I trained with weights in 2012 (this was my year off running, with my knee injury…but also, this was when I fractured my spine in 2 places, so for many weeks training was off completely) and did gain some muscle without gaining body fat. My stats by July 2012 were as follows:
Interesting that my height recorded as an inch shorter. I’m guessing that this was about 4 months after busting my back, so I was likely still twisted above my pelvis, and where I had soft tissue build up around the injuries, I guess I was not standing up fully straight.
By September 2012, I had added an inch to my chest measurement, up to 44”, and was another 5 pounds heavier, still at a recorded caliper test of 11% body fat.
I kept growing in 2012. By October, I had gained another 1.5” on my chest measurement, and still was maintaining my nice 11% lean body fat.
Most of that growth came on my back. Sure I work chest all the time, because I just love doing push-ups!!
However, I don’t think I made my chest any bigger over 2011-2013…I think that growth on the tape measure came because I worked my upper back, trying to build strength for rock climbing.
Here you can see in these images how my back progressed – the green underwear is me in August 2011, at my lightest as a long distance runner. Then in red underwear is in July 2012, 11 months later, and then the third picture, wearing jeans, is New Year’s Day 1st January 2013.
The next recorded measurements are at the start of 2013:
So finally the body fat was catching up. My chest measurement has settled at 45”, but now my waist has gone up half an inch and my body fat has crept up to 12%.
Now we have a long spell with no measurements. The first half of 2013 was a difficult time for me. I lost a close and much loved family member, and I suffered serious time constraints, emotional issues and I gained weight, fat weight. I knew I had, I could feel it, my waist felt fuller and trousers tighter.
So the next set of data brings us up to the present, 2 years after that all-time low body weight.
My waist is an inch up, chest still at 45”, body fat another percent up but notice that I am growing muscle on my legs and arms.
My training for most of 2013 has been focussed on body weight circuits.
- I flip heavy tractor tyres and run 200M sprints, I crawl in the dirt on my toes and elbows
- I do push-ups with my feet on park gates
- I do chins on low branches of trees
- I train with a partner and we takes turns to pick each other up for sets of squats or short runs carrying each other
- I cycle some days, run some days, take my kids walking up steep hills
- I do dips, chins, pull-ups and train on my home climbing wall
- And I usually do it all at pace, forcing my muscles to work hard but also forcing my heart and lungs to work hard to deliver enough oxygen to keep me going
The result is, after 2 years of effort, I am just over a stone heavier, that’s 15 pounds heavier, or 7.8 kilos, and it is mostly muscle.
My chest measures 2 inches more, my stubborn skinny arms have even grown an inch, and I have packed 2 inches onto each thigh (several pairs of trousers feel tight on the thigh now!) Even my neck has gone up an inch, and my forearms are almost an inch thicker.
My body fat is up 2%, but I am not stressing about it now…visible abs still elude me, but I’ll get them soon.
I am feeling very fit, very strong, I have not been sick for a day in those 2 years and I have masses of energy.
I continue to seek supreme health and abundant energy. MND is about longevity, HEALTH, feeling good and functioning at the highest level - it’s not about short term weight loss, having a 6-ack or trying to look like a body builder.
I do wish to get my body fat low enough to have some pictures taken one day with me showing a 6-pack (with the right lighting!! Ha ha!!) but I doubt I will stay there.
As discussed in my recently published book The MND Guide to Body Composition going ultra-low with body fat is not my desired goal, as I believe that I remain ultimately healthier between 10% and 15% where I am now. But it is a vanity goal…I will try to ‘tick that box’ one time, just to know what it takes to get there.
Going forward over the next year, I shall continue training hard, not to gain much more muscle, but to gain strength for rock climbing and to stay super fit and strong and healthy.
It is good to keep a record of your progress, it helps to look back and see how you have changed. It can help you ‘course-correct’ when you need to, and it can help motivate you to see yourself heading in the right direction.