Is my ideal shape possible?

  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 13, 2014 8:44 AM GMT
    So I'm back up to 180 lbs and I've been stuck there since I finish basic training back in July 2013. The month before I left for basic (April 2013) I was down to 158lbs. I had the sexy side curves depicted in the links and image below.

    I've been working my lats, pecs and butt to try and accent the features I enjoy most. I swim, run, lift, and occasionally play volleyball and will be biking again since the weather is getting better. I was also doing crossfit, before BMT, though I have yet to pick that back up.

    It's hard to afford living raw vegan here and nearly impossible to eat socially, here in Japan. Now meat is back in my diet, which has caused my lovehandles to form quickly. Animal protein, even in small amounts, adds unwanted weight to my body.

    Anyway, I've been struggling with attaining my ideal body shape, especially losing the weight I put on eating crap food during BMT. My sides, especially, are holding onto fat worse than ever.

    Is there any way I can attain the goal depicted below and mentioned in my profile, now that I can no longer maintain a raw vegan or even vegetarian lifestyle? I had a problem similar to this, before I went though my vegan period. This state seems to be a default, when I'm eating animal junk.


    What I'm aiming for:

    tumblr_mqxfjtx7Zk1rzjcrto1_1280.jpg

    http://www.furnation.com/symplicidy/stuff/user734592_pic571951_1317921701.jpg

    http://www.furnation.com/symplicidy/stuff/tumblr_l3lvpaOaaP1qb0xcoo1_500.jpg


    Also, I'm 27 now. Age is not yet an excuse.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Apr 13, 2014 9:47 AM GMT
    What happened to my post of my ideal body types? Is is because one had Perez Hilton on it?
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 13, 2014 9:48 AM GMT
    Naw. I had posted in all things gay, accidentally. Topic belongs here. But that original post of yours wasn't really helpful. D: Seeing as I'm asking questions and not making a picture thread.
  • buddycat

    Posts: 1874

    Apr 13, 2014 9:57 AM GMT
    You might want to keep it briefer, people may not want to take the time to read all that.
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 13, 2014 10:13 AM GMT
    Good advice. o3o I'll attempt to truncate it now~
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 14, 2014 11:09 PM GMT
    Kittenpaste,

    Meat is not your problem. Whoever told you that you have love handles because you eat meat isn't a reliable source on diet and fitness information. Stop listening to that guy.

    Why do you have love handles? It's a combination of:

    1) caloric surplus (taking in more calories than you spend, which means that the excess calories are being stored as bodyfat)

    and

    2) your genes. If and when you pack on some bodyfat, your genes determine if that bodyfat will concentrate in a certain area (like around your midsection, as is the case with most guys), or if the bodyfat is spread evenly all over your body (some lucky bastards are like this, and therefore, they can pack on some fat and still look good). Most of us (myself included) fall into a first category, and so we can't afford to have high bodyfat.

    Now, when I talk about caloric surplus, I'm oversimplifying a bit. It could be that you're getting the right amount of calories, but eating the wrong things...like lots of sugar and simple carbs (white bread, white pasta, etc)....these types of carbs need to be burned almost immediately after ingesting them, and if you don't do that, they store as bodyfat. The good carbs are: lentils, sweet potatoes, certain beans, 100% whole-wheat breads/pastas, oatmeal, bran cereals, and brown rice.

    Second, even if you're eating the right things, you still need to eat the right amount of calories.

    And third, you want to make sure you get adequate protein, and lift! If you don't, then your body will want to conserve its bodyfat, and burn its muscle instead. That's what happens when you have "unused" muscle. This is why some guys that diet and exercize, but dont lift and dont get enough protein: they get smaller and "lose weight", but they're still flabby.

    As for "ideal body" ...everyone can look kick-ass. But the exact look your body takes once it's developed depends on your genes. For examples, some guys have long tricep medial heads, some guys dont. But both types can work their tricep and make it look as best as it can.

    Genes also determine your strengths and weaknesses. Guy A may get an amazing chest from barely trying, while guy B might have to put in a lot of work and time to get his chest just as big. Likewise, guy B might be more genetically lucky with his lats, while guy A may have to put more work into it. It's all trial and error, and you learn about your body as you go.

    It's awesome to look at fit guys for inspiration, and decide which direction you want to go ("toned"? bodybuilder?)...but understand that your genes ultimately determine the exact look your body takes. You can definitely take care of your bodyfat/lovehandles problem. But your chest or traps, for example, may take on a different shape than the guy in the picture.

    And make sure you eat CLEAN. I've never been in the military, but from what I understand, there's a lot of junk/fast food on the bases? Don't they have like Burger King and Pizza Hut? Don't eat that crap.
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 14, 2014 11:46 PM GMT
    Thanks for that super in-depth post. ^-^

    On the meat thing, that's something I discovered myself over the years. Most of my life (except for a certain period that I can't talk about), I was a big meat eater. Around age 22, I started to notice side and lower back fat developing. This caused me to panic and look into a different diet, so I experimented for years with vegetarianism and and veganism with great results. I noticed the most dramatic results when in my vegan periods but my mood was also less perky.

    I fell off the diets often, since it was a struggle to make them into a lifestyle. Each time, I'd almost instantly put on fat in those areas. My mood was up but my confidence with down. I've struggled with body image since my early teens.

    Anyway, in my last raw vegan period (August 2012 to April 2013) I had dropped from 178 to 157 or 158, I was cut and I had no side or lower back squishiness. My mood wasn't horrible, for once... but after April, it was off to the military and the diet was dropped. I can't afford to pick it back up until I rank up a bit.

    In that raw vegan period, as the phrasing suggests, I was only eating raw fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and fungi. I didn't cut out salt but kept it very low (no more than a tsp per day or a tablespoon of bragg's raw aminos). Sugars, outside of what was already in the plants themselves, were cut out as well. I had a rather large amount of fat, some weeks, without ill results when consuming avocados and almonds (max of 1 whole avocado + about 1 cup of soaked almonds. not a huge amount of fat but just enough). My proteins came from quinoa, nuts and soaked sprouted beans.

    It was actually a challenge to meet my caloric needs, with my budget, but very easy to track. I often ended up just barely getting over 1500-1600 calories. On a good day, I was at 1800. Of course my carbs were through the roof, so I had energy to spare all the time. I was able to handle crossfit during the period, which I'm going to struggle with now.

    In short, I really do think it's the meat.


    I honestly have no idea how many calories I get, during a given day anymore. I'm sure it's still below 2000, given the amount of meals I eat and the portions. I mainly eat at the dining facility, which doesn't use salt but slathers stuff in margarine and other shitty fake oils. It's "free", though... as the meal deduction is an irremovable part of my military pay. Maybe 2000 is too much for my body and it prefers to be around 1500-1800? Hmm... that's definitely worth experimenting. I definitely avoid the junk places on base, with the exception of Subway when I'm feeling lazy (which is quite often, lately). x.x But that's only ever a veggie sub.

    As for genes... that's kind of a hard one. Looking at the bodies of my family, there is far too much variation on both sides to make any judgments on how I'll turn out. Heck, even my brother is built completely different from me.

    Well, it's time for me to take my PT test but please feel free to leave more input.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 15, 2014 3:05 AM GMT
    With all due respect, my man icon_biggrin.gif it's not the meat.

    Before you went vegan, you probably had bad eating habits, and didn't really put much thought into what you ate. I doubt you were a healthy meat eater that ate a lean chicken breast with lentils and broccoli. Even red meat is fine. You were probably eating crap...white pasta, pizza, and perhaps the wrong kind of meat perhaps (Wendy's burgers, perhaps?). Think back to how you are before you went vegan, and analyze it. It's also possible that you just took in too many calories, and/or were not active. There are plenty possible reasons that you were out of shape.

    Even if you ate healthy...lots of normal, average people are perfectly healthy, they eat home-cooked meals, they don't eat excessive amounts of crap, they don't overeat, but they don't have beach bodies because they don't have fine-tuned diets. They'll have a couple rolls of white bread with dinner, or white pasta, and then their daily dessert. They don't eat crap in excess, they don't stuff their faces with cupcakes and Doritos between meals, and they still get their vegetables and all that, but their diet isn't at that level that'll get them an impressive body. So, they'll be thin, but still a bit flabby. They may have great blood pressure, great cholesterol levels, they're not overweight, they get decent exercize...but having a beach body requires a diet that's at a different level, unless you're genetically lucky, and eating like the average person will get you a 6-pack (for most of us, that's not the case).

    So, unless you were eating a pound of bacon a day, meat consumption alone isn't what made you fat. Unless you have some bizarre genetic condition that makes you different from everyone else.

    As for caloric intake: I don't know what my caloric intake is. I once calculated the amount of protein and carbs in the various foods I eat (in grams), and since then, I just eyeball it. You just have to figure out what amount of carbs and protein you need by eyeballing it. And avoid carbs later in the day, etc. Your body definitely needs X amount of carbs for energy. Exceed that amount, and you'll get fat. Don't meet that amount, and you won't have energy.

    Now, you can stay vegan if you absolutely insist. Just make sure you get your protein from somewhere. And make sure you get diverse sources of protein so that you get all the amino acids in. (See, if you ate meat...and I mean if you were a clean meat-eater, like chicken breast and turkey, and the occasional steak....not BigMacs and sausages....then you'd get all the essential amino acids from meat, because all meat sources contain all the amino acids. Whereas with plants, each plant only provides some of the amino acids, so you have to make the effort to make sure you're getting them all).

    As for margarine: yes, you're 100% correct that this is crap. Butter is better. Olive oil is tops. Peanut butter and avocado are great too. Unfortunately, many people are still stuck in the 80s/90s with outdated attitudes towards dietary fat, as they stuff their faces with excessive carbs, and get fat.
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 15, 2014 3:40 AM GMT
    I never was big on beef or pork (I actively avoided those since my teens years.... often succumbing to the lure of bacon, though). I also rarely ate chicken. My big protein sources were seafood, followed by eggs (eventually just egg whites) and cheese last. The cheese was likely my killer. At one point, I was going through a tray of 2 dozen egg whites within a week... so that was pretty bad. :p You're right, though. Overall, I was eating crap before age 22. Ramen, canned soups, salt and vinegar chips,ENTIRE large pizzas in one sitting, candy... blegh. My metabolism used to be able to handle that without getting squishy, up until round 22. I definitely wasn't tracking, back then. Since then, though, the years have been filled with much more healthy foods and, over time, much less meat. Keep in mind, it's been a bit over 5 years since I ate like crap at a constant rate.

    As for abs, I've got a 6-pack. I don't have a spare tire going on, thankfully. I've always been one of the lucky ones, having to do very little for my abs to show. Still, my sides and lower back aren't so fortunate. x.x Running doesn't seem to do anything to burn my overall bodyfat and I'm only just getting back into swimming.

    In terms of exercise, what should I change from what I stated I currently do already? I'm almost sure I need to swim more often... but it's hard for me to feel like swimming for more than 45 minutes at a time and I don't do laps, just free-form.

    Somewhat unrelated:

    I just had my PT test. Scored 89.7 but was shooting for a 95.icon_sad.gif My run time was horrid... 1.5 miles in 12:10. My endurance has always been shitty, no matter what I do. 60 push-ups in a minutes and 56 sit-ups in that time. They measured my waist at 29", which made me happy. o3o
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 15, 2014 3:52 PM GMT
    KittenpasteCompany saidOverall, I was eating crap before age 22. Ramen, canned soups, salt and vinegar chips,ENTIRE large pizzas in one sitting, candy... blegh.


    ding ding ding! We found it.

    And yes, metabolism slows down as you get older. When you stop growing up, you start filling out, and wanna make sure you fill out the right way, not crap way.

    Your metabolism may slow down even a bit more at some point after 25 or 30, which is perfect for packing on muscle, but terrible for guys that just let themselves go and get no physical activity at all.

    KittenpasteCompany said
    I never was big on beef or pork (I actively avoided those since my teens years.... often succumbing to the lure of bacon, though). I also rarely ate chicken. My big protein sources were seafood, followed by eggs (eventually just egg whites) and cheese last. The cheese was likely my killer. At one point, I was going through a tray of 2 dozen egg whites within a week... so that was pretty bad.


    Egg yolks are fine, unless you need to watch your cholesterol and you were eating way too many of them. Cheese is fine unless, again, you were eating waaayyy too much of it. I don't think it was the cheese. I just think you nailed it on the raman noodles and overeating pizzas (pizzas contain cheese of course, but eating ALL that refined carb plus a bit too much cheese for one meal...that's what did you in).


    KittenpasteCompany said
    As for abs, I've got a 6-pack. I don't have a spare tire going on, thankfully. I've always been one of the lucky ones, having to do very little for my abs to show. Still, my sides and lower back aren't so fortunate.


    I wouldn't obsess over it. If your abs show, you have a low bodyfat level, and your "side and back rolls" probably aren't that bad. They may not even be noticeable to anyone besides yourself. But with a little tweaking, they can go away.

    Congrats on getting leaner.


    KittenpasteCompany said
    x.x Running doesn't seem to do anything to burn my overall bodyfat and I'm only just getting back into swimming.

    In terms of exercise, what should I change from what I stated I currently do already? I'm almost sure I need to swim more often... but it's hard for me to feel like swimming for more than 45 minutes at a time and I don't do laps, just free-form.

    Somewhat unrelated:

    I just had my PT test. Scored 89.7 but was shooting for a 95.icon_sad.gif My run time was horrid... 1.5 miles in 12:10. My endurance has always been shitty, no matter what I do. 60 push-ups in a minutes and 56 sit-ups in that time. They measured my waist at 29", which made me happy. o3o


    Here's where you may be stuck with the body you're currently in until you're out of the military. Of course, it sounds like you're in great shape, and you're obsessing over details that others don't notice. But if you wanna have total control over how your body looks, it may have to wait until you're done with the military.

    Reason I say this is because those runs they make you do (the mile runs)...Cardio of that nature (steady-state cardio, especially long-distance jogging) is very popular in the mainstream fitness community, but most of us meatheads look down on it. Reason being, and I personally agree with it, is that this type of cardio burns muscle. Notice how muscular Olympic short-distance sprinters are. But notice that the long-distance runners (like the marathon runners, or 5K and 10K runners) are all skin-and-bone.

    And for most people, long-distance running is also not an effective way of burning fat. Especially not for someone like you who's at a more advanced fitness level, and you just have a little bit of bodyfat here and there to shed. Steady-state, long distance running won't do it (sprinting, otoh, is awesome. A few short, fast sprints...excellent fat-burner and muscle-preserver). Of course, the military forces you to pass a test, so you probably force yourself to run a 1.5 mile on a fairly regular basis so that you don't fall behind on that. And you have no other choice. icon_sad.gif

    This reminds me of when I was growing up...Illinois is the only state where P.E. is a requirement, and gosh, I always sucked at running the mile. I always sucked at running, or long-distance running I should say. It's that mainstream mentality that this is somehow an assessment of physical fitness. I was able to do more chinups than almost everyone else. But I couldn't run the mile. They didn't fail you, or anything like that. But the state wanted to test all kids on these stupid tests. Long story short (because I tend to talk a lot, lol)...different people have different physical strengths. I've been gradually getting leaner since fall, and NO running. Not even sprinting. I just walk more. And my lifting workouts contain some lifts (or some supersets) that get my heartrate going. I eat clean (clean bulking), and I've been gradually getting leaner. I got chunky for a while. I never posted my chunky pictures here on RJ. I still had the muscle mass, but my bodyfat shot up at one point to maybe around 18%.

    In any case, you asked about swimming. I don't know much about that activity. If you love it, definitely do it. The "ideal body" picture that you posted could totally pass for a swimmer. Swimmers look lean. They're not huge, but they have decent musculature. And I don't think it's steady-state cardio...swims are short, and your heart rate goes up and down. So if you enjoy swimming, go for it.
  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 15, 2014 5:50 PM GMT
    kittenpaste,

    I should have done this a long time ago. I just glanced at your profile, and if those pics are current, you look like you have zero bodyfat. Of course, that's impossible (you would die if you had NO bodyfat), but you don't have the "fat rolls" on your sides and back. I think it's in your head; I'm not being mean, just direct. You're obsessing over something that's not there.

    Why is the picture that you posted more of an "ideal body" than yours? Is it the muscle mass? Because as far as bodyfat, you practically have none.
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 15, 2014 6:56 PM GMT
    It's more that image I'm going for. A nice, large chest, in-ward curving waist with nothing soft at the sides and visible serratus(spelling?) muscles on the rib cage, skinny but firm arms and a nice butt. I have dates on all the photos - my latest one was from February. I started noticing this problem again in late March.

    It may all be in my head, with my body image issues.. but it just doesn't feel like it.

  • jjguy05

    Posts: 459

    Apr 16, 2014 12:33 AM GMT
    Kittenpaste,

    There's no guarantee you'll look exactly like him, because everyone's genetically different, but you can look just as impressive simply by lifting and eating for it. You can grow your pecs, your triceps, your biceps, yes your serratus (but not by much). Etc. You have no visible bodyfat. The "inward curving waist" (v-taper) will come from growing the lats, chest, traps, and arms. Not from reducing your waist, because your waist can't get smaller.

    We all have areas of ourselves we want to improve, but I can tell you that your "fat rolls" only exist in your head (I mean this in the most friendly and sincere way), and you need to understand human anatomy better. A lot of what makes a physique look impressive is illusion. When people who have no background in anatomy/bodybuilding look at an impressive physique, they don't think "oh, that guy's traps are perfect, his lat width is amazing, his inner/upper pec development is impressive!". They just see a good physique, but they don't know why. This is why a lot of guys that are starting out only do chest and biceps, and -if they make any gains- end up looking awkward. (I remember this one waiter I had at an Indian restaurant...huge chest, but no development anywhere else. Forget the legs; the rest of his torso had no development either. Looked awkward as fuck). Same with you and your comment on your waist. Do you really want your waist to be smaller? No, you just need to grow the chest/back/upper torso.

    It's great to look at someone that has the general look you're going for, and use that as your inspiration. But don't obsess with looking exactly like someone. I have an idol too: bodybuilding pro Mark Dugdale. He's my height, my weight, but obviously he looks infinitely more impressive and developed than me. But we have similar body types, he's not too huge like Dorian Yates (and the juicing alone isn't what makes Yates so massive. A lot of it is genetic). Dugdale's just the general look I'm aiming for. I'll never look exactly like him, but he's the direction I'm going towards. There's lots of guys here on RJ too that are around my height, are about the proportion I'm aiming for, and they inspire me to keep it up. But I'm not gonna obsess with looking exactly like someone else. Because it's not gonna happen.

    And you have almost no fat. And my personal recommendation: unless you do it for animal rights reasons, start eating meat and animal products again. There's no health or physique benefit to going vegan over being a healthy meat-eater....emphasis in healthy meat eater that eats fish and chicken (not fried) and turkey and the occasional lean steak and NOT Big Macs or Wendy's Burgers or breakfast sausages or loads of bacon or anything battered and deep-fried.
  • KittenpasteCo...

    Posts: 245

    Apr 16, 2014 7:47 AM GMT
    I don't think you read my profile beforehand but thanks for all the input.