The Dreaded Before Picture...

in fitness •  7 months ago

Oooooo this is gonna hurt. Not physically... but as far as taking a shot to the ego gut, this will certainly pack a punch...

Below I'll be attaching my before pictures for front, side, and back angles. These aren't flexed, posed, or otherwise changed. I set my camera timer, walked over, turned around, and took a picture.

I did it this way for a couple of reasons... first of all, I'm thin enough that I could suck in my gut, flex my arms and abs, and appear to be in much better shape than what I'm actually in. Secondly, I have horrific posture, and I wanted that captured. Part of my journey going forward will be to study and remedy these imbalances, which should/will give me a better overall physique. The only way to do that will be to take as natural of a shot as possible so that when I look at the pictures, I can actually see what's going on.

So without further ado... the dreaded before pictures-


Height: 6' 0" Weight: 186 lbs.

Ouch.

Definitely not what I envision myself looking like at the pool, and definitely an eye opener when you actually see the photos.

Now if you've been keeping up with my entries, you'll know that I'm not a complete slob. I somewhat watch what I eat, workout consistently, and I'm not out binge drinking 3 times a week. All in all, I'm above average in both my physique and my lifts. However, if you read my transformation blog that is linked in my bio, you'll have seen my "after" picture from a while back. I'm in significantly better shape than I am now, and my aim is to get back to that level, albeit stronger and better balanced.

So here we go... let's get these pictures analyzed so I can come up with a game plan for attack.

As mentioned in previous posts, my posture has been plaguing me since my teenage years. This is something that I really want to hit hard. It looks sloppy, it hinders athletic movements, and it creates more stress on the body in the long run.

The most obvious imbalance is in my shoulders. It's very plain to see that while both shoulders roll forward, my left actually raises up significantly compared to my right side. I'm unsure of what would cause something like this, so that'll be one of the things on my research agenda tonight/tomorrow.

Also related to posture is my somewhat angled stance, and pelvic tilt. I'm planning on adding in chiropractic care to work on that angled stance. The pelvic tilt is likely caused by a combination of weak posterior chain (lower back/glutes/hamstrings) and my lack of flexibility.

Fat wise, I'm probably holding 10 lbs of fat that could be dropped without getting too lean to the point of taking away muscle mass in an effort to reach a goal. With that being said, my initial plan is to hit the Starting Strength program for 4 months, followed by a fat burning program for 2 months. That'll put me right in the heart of summer time, and we'll see what kind of results we're looking at then :)

Any constructive criticism is welcome!



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I'll look forward to seeing how you progress @kbarrett

I put all my clients through a functional movement screen (FMS) to identify imbalances and get their bodies working as efficiently as possible.

I am not affiliated with Gray Cook or the FMS system in any way.

I always find imbalances in everyone I see when I use that series of tests. You can do it all yourself and then just look to youtube for corrective exercises.

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Thanks! I'll have to check it out!

Ha I finally got around to putting up my before pics this week too (although really they are during pics).

Have you ever attempted a Keto diet? I dropped 15 pounds in a month (187 -> 172) eating about 1600 calories a day and didn't notice any drop on my lifts (didn't really improve much though during that month). Might be something worth checking out when you cut.

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I just recently started reading up on Keto, though I've never actually tried it for myself. 15 lbs is quite the drop though, and definitely reason enough for me to give it a shot!

What was your mood like during that time? I've gone low carb on my last transformation and it absolutely destroyed my mood, which is why I'm wanting to take things a bit slower this time around lol.

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Yeah, it was honestly more than I expected. You drop a lot of water weight with it to start because you deplete your glycogen stores. I would also recommend 1800 cals instead of 1600. I was only aiming for 12 and overshot. The hardest part, and why I could never do it consistently, was no beer. That was probably the biggest negative impact on my mood, lol.

I have a feeling because cals were so low that my protein intake stayed too high and I may have never gone into full ketosis, so I honestly never felt the "keto flu" too hard. But that's definitely supposed to be a thing when you start for the first few weeks. It's tough when your partner is also trying to go even lower cal (1300) and you can't put as much fat into your food as you'd like. If you can get the nutrition to the right macros and you love cheese, nuts, and creamy sauces, then it's probably worth a shot. If you body doesn't respond well to it I've seen 5/2 variants that have two carb load days because glycogen is really helpful for endurance while exercising.

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I'll have to keep that in mind when/if I decide to give it a go. If I do, I'll probably wait until we're closer to summer time... see what I can do with my lifts and adding muscle for the next 4 months or so, and then start a shred program.

Hi - I like your dry sense of humor because that's exactly how I felt when I took my pictures. I posted one to basically commit myself to being accountable and desperate to update it in a month. I only had the balls to show my back with the rationalization that I'd be protecting my privacy. Kudos for going all out.

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Thanks! The before pictures always suck... but like you said, it's a great way to keep yourself accountable. I think it also helps other people on the same journey... if they can see a timeline of when you start, it's easier for them to rationalize how attainable goals actually are. I'm just hoping to catch a few people's attention that want the same thing as me and give them some tools to help them along the way!

Really interesting to see your post and self critique. Thanks for being vulnerable with us and I hope you’re not too hard on yourself ;). I just dropped in to address the raised shoulder you mentioned. I’m not saying this is the issue, but I have a possibility from my experience as a massage therapist. You can weigh it in with your experience to see if it fits. Sometimes the shoulder will “hike up” like that if that side of the body is carrying more pressure or has more strain. Is the muscle tighter on that shoulder? (You can feel it yourself with a little palpating massage.) In most cases the human body is imbalanced- we use one side more than others and that shows in our posture. One side will overcompensate or do more because of s past injury, a habit of movement that we have, or because it is stronger and used to doing more activities than the other. Does this fit at all? I’m curious :)

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Hmmmm I don't think it would be due to an injury. The only shoulder injury I've ever suffered was throwing it out during a baseball game when I was younger, which was my right arm (I write/eat left handed, but play sports right handed).

However, when I do lateral shoulder raises, the weight is noticeably easier to get up on my left side, which would accommodate your theory of being stronger... but the fact that I play sports right handed and my left shoulder is stronger is somewhat of a mystery to me. As a desk jockey from 9-5, I'm definitely not using it anymore than my right side.

So long as it fits my budget, I'm hoping to meet with a chiropractor recommended by a good friend of mine that specializes in sports injuries and body imbalances. I'll definitely be sure to include any information that he mentions during my weekly progress update when/if I get to meet with him!

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yes the shoulder that overcompensates for the injured side (in this case your right side injured so your left side overcompensating -- and able to do more in your lifts) can hike up! good luck with your chiro! hope it all unfolds well for you :) (i have a feeling it will with your determination :))

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Thanks!