Working on the Body

The Goal

Reach 12% body fat, with good muscle tone. Maintain it for at least a few months.


I’ve seen way too many Men’s Health magazine covers, perhaps?

OK, fine, I’ll list the real reasons then. I’m curious what it takes to get (near) there and what it feels like. There are a few comparative shots in Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Body book comparing a person at 30%, 19-25% and 5-12% body fat. I thought 12% looked good, but not too creepy-muscly-bodybuilder.

Progress Recently

I’ve been casually trying to improve my eating over the past 6-12 months, with a couple of dedicated ‘dieting’ periods that seemed to work.

More recently, I had an appointment at the gym on Monday night last week (9th July) for measurements and a program.

The measurements were good news: I’m currently at 18.5% body fat, compared to my 21% on the scales at home back in January, and my legs are reasonably well-developed compared to the rest of my body.

The program is mostly upper body work, with some lower body and abdominal exercises thrown in to balance it out a bit. There’s also some running in the middle, as I really enjoy running. I’ve now done the program twice, Thursday and last night, and it feels great. Well, when I say ‘done’, that’s not quite true: I cut it down to two sets of each exercise, instead of three, so I could actually do all the exercises evenly. I’m going to try 2.5 sets next time, then 3 sets after that.

I suspected that improving my posture could help a lot and I now have two mini exercises to correct my posture: If I roll my shoulders back (once) and hold the proper tilt in my pelvis, my torso feels and looks better. I’m also planning on a visit to the chiropractor… eventually.

Last, but not least, the diet. It’s a combination of a few eating programmes, including the  BodyTrim diet and the Slow Carb diet from Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Body book. Basically: go easy on the carbs, eat 5-6 times per day, take multivitamins, and eat whatever you want on your ‘Cheat Day’ once a week. I’m going to keep off the dairy and any other foods that make me bloated, maybe even on the Cheat Day.

I’m reasonably pleased with the slightly-more-concentrated effort of the past week. The plan is to gradually use heavier weights and increase the speed of the run, then get a new set of measurements and a new program after five or six weeks.

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