A quick THREAD on…
BODY COMPOSITION 💪🏿
I’ve been lifting weights and playing with my diet for over 21 years.
I was a bodybuilder from ages 19–25, and then I gradually scaled back into a lifestyle that was equal parts fitness, laziness, and apathy.
I am currently 40 years old and in great health…
But what I like most is that my VITALS are IMPROVING despite my age.
One area of improvement—my body composition—inspired this thread.
Even at peak muscle mass at age 25, I dealt with inflammation that affected my physique.
Specifically, I had a “soft, rounded” muscletone instead of the more ripped and vascular look that—to me, at least—looks more primal (and therefore natural).
And this was despite having 6-pack abs and all that—I just never looked HARD.
I didn’t care too much about this, but…
I did find it mystifying that my body never seemed to get anywhere near the striated, vascular look.
🚨 VANITY ALERT 🚨
And annoyingly, I always had this little bit of visceral fat on my bottom 2 abs that never seemed to go away.
(To have a badass vacuum, this has gotta go.)
I’ve tweaked just about everything you can imagine in my diet over the past 21 years.
I’ve also experimented with extremes:
• No red meat
My body went through lots of changes, but one thing remained the same: Lil bit o visceral fat
I was never motivated to solve this issue on its own, so I told myself the story that this was simply my body composition 🤷🏾♀️
Fast forward to my 30s, where I got lazy about my diet…
• Muscletone went to shit
• Early onset dad bod tummy pooch
• Lots of casual drinking
4 months before my 38th birthday—and sick of the way I’d let my physique deteriorate—I made another drastic dietary change:
I started eating a TON of red meat, and specifically, a hell of a lot more BEEF FAT.
(It’s sorta keto, but it’s really just a focus on satisfying fats.)
For me, the fat from red meat emerged as the GOAT—your mileage may vary (but honestly probably not much).
Anyway, I noticed big changes right away:
• Most inflammation GONE
• Improved vascularity
• Rapid weight loss down to a stable equilibrium
Buuut one thing remained…
You guessed it—the damn visceral fat.
It wasn’t much, mind you, but it was still THERE.
Quick aside: Ramping up my fat intake enabled me to undertake intermittent fasting (IF) between 16 and 18 hours EVERY DAY.
Obviously, this makes it a lot easier to eat less (and less often)
Despite this, my story persisted—I just have a “soft” body composition with a little bit of visceral fat.
Oh well, we can’t all have model physiques 🤷🏾♀️
Or can we? 🤔
Now we reach March 2020—perhaps the most infamous month in modern history…
To-go margaritas are now a thing in Texas 😱
And I am the number one customer by a mile.
Two spicy frozens with Grand Marnier floaters…every damn day.
Life is good! I work and play all day, cop a killer buzz in the evening, and then pass out like a rockstar 🤘🏿
I kept this up for an entire YEAR!
Granted, I still worked out, improved my fitness, and generally did all the right things.
But I certainly didn’t see any progress with my physique, and that visceral fat became the unwanted tenant who no longer pays rent but refuses to leave.
Now we reach March 2021, and I am one month away from a court date for my divorce.
In an attempt to reclaim some personal sovereignty over the stress of the divorce, the lovely @OlgaPechnenko encouraged me to scale back the drinking and start eating more meals at home.
No more wine; barely any margaritas 😔
Meanwhile—and perfectly in character—I deny the stress is having any effect on me whatsoever 💅🏿
But my stress level is so high that nothing really changes.
Inflammation went down a little, but that was it.
The divorce finally happens, followed by 60 days of upheaval and uncertainty over the eventual decree.
I would never have admitted it at the time, but looking back, I guess it’s fair to say—that timeline SUCKED.
But on June 28, ALL of that negative energy got released.
And my body started responding almost instantly!
By July 4, I was legitimately ripped, and one thing in particular caught me by surprise—
The visceral fat was…almost gone?!?
I remember walking shirtless past a mirror and having to do a double-take:
“Oh shit, I’ve never seen THOSE lines before!”
Nice definition in the lower abs and also on the obliques.
I had only ever seen this once before in my life—I was 21 and wanted to see what I might look like if I went into a caloric deficit to try and get into competition shape 😂
But I still didn’t know WHY I experienced this body composition change so suddenly.
Was it the alleviation of significant stress?
Was it the massive scaling back in drinking? (12-15 drinks per week down to maybe 3)
*looks in mirror*
Who cares when you’ve got a 6-pack? 😁
In August—and after 45 days of enjoying my leaner physique—I got a Whoop.
As you may know, Whoop slaps you in the face with negative data about drinking.
Simply put, drinking is terrible for your heart.
And that’s terrible for your sleep.
And THAT will kill you.
Today is day 40 of my Whoop experiment, and now I understand:
DRINKING is what caused my body to hang onto that visceral fat for all these years.
DRINKING is what gave me a soft look and made it impossible for my body to become striated and vascular.
This was the ONE unexamined variable of the past 21 years.
(I like to cop a buzz, what can I say?)
I never fully bought the narrative that drinking works so directly AGAINST certain fitness goals.
Surely you can overcome that stuff with effort, right?
Perhaps you’re one of these naturally striated freaks with a crazy high metabolic baseline.
Here’s the thing—that doesn’t persist throughout your life, ESPECIALLY if you’re a man and let your testosterone levels drop too low.
I let myself be blinded by guys like this…
“He’s ripped. He parties. No reason I can’t accomplish the same thing.”
Here’s the deal:
It’s one thing to be ripped in your 20s.
Quite another to be ripped in your 40s.
Your margin for error is much smaller…
But this turns out to be incredibly clarifying.
Perhaps most fascinating is my body’s new response to alcohol:
If I drink, I will experience inflammation and gain 3-6lb (mostly water).
Within 72 (sober) hours, all of that is gone, and everything is back to normal.
It’s wild to observe the effects with this perspective.
At this point, it’s undeniable—
For me, drinking creates inflammation and a “poofiness” that never really goes away.
The only solution is abstinence (which I f*cking hate, tbh)
But there’s a REWARD—
My body composition changed in a way it never had before!
Prior to this experience, I thought I just had a snowflake body composition and had to accept it.
What a bunch of nonsense—
I’m a primal beast!
And now I look like one, too 😏
So here’s the deal, fam:
If you’re serious about your health, get a Whoop.
Be open to examining ALL your habits—not just the ones you are open to giving up.
Drinking may indeed be your biggest obstacle.
I don’t like it anymore than you do, but it is what it is.