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First progress photo of 2012 cut; Goal change?; AtLarge Nitrean sale!

Thursday, January 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


I want to thank everyone for all the positive feedback I’ve received on my new “Fat Loss 101” series of articles (the latest, “Maximizing fat loss progress” was published yesterday). I’ve truly enjoyed writing these articles. The words come effortlessly, probably because fitness has been a major part of my life for almost a decade now, and it’s something I continue to be passionate about. When people tell me that the new “101” series has helped them get excited about fat loss, health, nutrition and muscle building that means a great deal to me. Even after all these years when someone emails or posts to the forum describing how they’ve changed their lives through health and fitness I get the exact same rush that I did when I first started this site back in 2003. Those are the stories that help keep me inspired to get up every morning and write these blogs. Thank you!

About 2 weeks into my 2012 cut: around 187 pounds / 10.4% body fat here. Planning to cut another ~20 pounds?

About 2 weeks into my 2012 cut: around 187 pounds / 10.4% body fat here. Planning to cut another ~20 pounds?

I had another excellent workout (chest/triceps/delts) yesterday afternoon, adding weight and or reps to every exercise for the third consecutive week of my cut. My strength continues to increase, and my energy level continues to be very high.

During yesterday’s workout I snapped my first progress photo of 2012. I’m about 187 pounds and 10.4% body fat here. My abs are showing a little bit, but are not very defined at my current body fat percentage. Like most men, my abs don’t really start to look cut up and defined until I’m in the single-digit body fat range.

I’m only a little more than two weeks into my cut right now, and I’m very happy that by this Sunday it’s highly likely that I’ll already be below 10% body fat. This is definitely the leanest I’ve ever been at the very beginning of a cut!

I need to talk about my current goal, and how that might not be the smartest goal I’ve ever set…

My goal for this cut is to get very light for mountain biking: 165 pounds (or less). According to last Sunday’s stats I’m presently 187.6 pounds @ 10.4% body fat. That means I have slightly less than 20 pounds of fat on my entire body right now. In order to get down to 165 pounds, muscle loss is obviously inevitable (even if I were to finish my cut at an impossible 0% body fat :lol:). I’ve been considering the wisdom of losing muscle just to be light, and I’ve decided that doing so would be a real bad return on my investment. That’s not to say a little muscle loss (from the “show” muscles) would be a bad thing, but I absolutely do NOT want to lose strength. Losing strength just to be a little lighter would be highly counterproductive from an athletic standpoint.

So here’s what I’m thinking. I’m going to continue to diet down and get as light as possible, but as soon as I start losing strength I’m going to pull the plug. I’m positive that I’ll be able to continue dieting down to 7% body fat (or even less) without sacrificing “functional” muscle, but I’m going to be very guarded about lean mass loss after that point. I don’t know where I’m going to wind up at the end of this cut, but I’ve decided that purposely losing muscle (especially at the age of 43) would be extremely foolish.

Running low on Nitrean or Nitrean+? You’re in luck, AtLarge is running a sale on both now through Saturday. Check out the details here!

John Stone Fitness Comments

10 Responses to “First progress photo of 2012 cut; Goal change?; AtLarge Nitrean sale!”
  1. I’ve been contemplating the same thing. My goal of 170 lbs would leave me with about 5 lbs of fat which is roughly 3% BF based on my last BF reading, a more realistic goal would probably be 175 lbs or about 6% BF for me. I’m going to do the same thing, get as light as possible but I think 170 lbs would be near impossible for me. I missed commenting on yesterday’s blog but I wanted to say that JSF and Bodyshop have been invaluable tools for me in my health and well being and I wanted to thank you John for making them available to me.

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  2. Mountain biking for weight lifters can be somewhat frustrating also because of the type of muscle fiber that has been cultivated from weight training. Weight training cultivates type II fiber while mountain biking is primarily served by type I fibers. I know that as I’ve added muscle due to weight training I’ve lost a little bit of speed, or perhaps it’s just because I’m getting older.

    Dedicated weight lifting isn’t a deal breaker for those who are out there to have fun, but it will definitely limit one’s competitive ability to race if all other factors are equal.

    My guess would be that you still have a great amount of potential to gain type I muscle tissue since it’s gained at such a slow rate. I’ve general found (and heard from other racers) that 5 years of consistent mountain biking will max out your type I muscle fiber genetic potential.

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    • In your first paragraph you hit on why I like my very high (320 rep) leg workout so much. All those reps are ideal for developing the slow twitch (type I) fiber present in the legs.

      Your last paragraph make a lot of sense. In fact, it makes me feel better about something that was eating at me a little bit. Even though I’m in very good cardio shape, my friend John (who I ride with at the Chuck Lennon trails) is a faster and more efficient rider than I am. He’s also a much more experienced mountain (and road) biker, and has a lot more miles under his belt than I do.

      Also, a random guy I rode with at the Santos trails utterly destroyed me, and not just from a technical skills standpoint: his raw power and speed were light years beyond my level. He told me he’d been mountain biking his entire life, but it still stung my ego to be so devastatingly outclassed.

      I wish I’d started riding when I was a kid, but there’s nothing I can do about that now. All I can do is just keep mashing the pedals and continue training as hard as I can!

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  3. Hey John, in any of your fat loss articles, have you ever touched on the difference between “caloric deficit” and “eating below maintenance” for people? I checked through them and didn’t notice anything. I’m thinking most people may not be totally consciously aware of the distinction. I think when most people think of dieting and losing fat, they’re thinking that they need to cut their food intake to really low levels and starve – i.e. below maintenance. When really, they can still eat a decent amount, but increase their activity level and thus obtain a net caloric deficit in the process. Then there’s the whole G-flux thing, but I think that’s slightly different situation.

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    • I’m not sure I follow you. What distinction? Eating “below maintenance” and “caloric deficit” are, by definition, the exact same thing.

      If your activity level rises and supports the ability to consume a greater number of calories without gaining fat, then your caloric maintenance level rises correspondingly; ultimately you still have to eat below maintenance if you want to create a caloric deficit.

      As you may have gathered, the thrust of my “101” articles is general fat loss philosophy and motivation. The specifics on how to create a proper diet for your goals (and the dangers of starving yourself to lose weight) are already covered extensively in the beginner sticky threads (among many other places here on JSF), so I didn’t really see the point in going in that direction with these articles. 🙂

      G-flux is, IMO, way beyond the scope of what a beginner needs to concern him or herself with when trying to lose fat.

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