Saturday, 14 July 2012

Fat Photographer No More!

This will be my only post on this site regarding weightloss and exercise.

At the start of this year I hit a worring weight, 102.4kgs (16.1Stone or 226lbs) I was the typical, Fat bald photographer that I didn't think I was. On the BMI chart that took me to 31BMI which is OBESE.  My job as a property photographer requires me driving around a lot and I am constantly needing change for parking.  I would make excuses that I needed to buy a Mars bar so that I could get change. I counted it all up, and I found out I was eating around 1000Kcal extra a day of just junk food. But I was going to the gym, and lifting heavy weights, and I made more excuses that it was ok because I would be burning up those calories when I lift the weights. Wrong.

I had to stop making excuses and take control, stop thinking that I was just big and muscly when in fact I was just very fat with a bit of muscle.

Now I am 84kg (13.2Stone or 185lbs)

This was my motivation as this was me when i was at university, working out, doing parkour and had hair

Here is my tips for weightloss if you need any.
it is split into 4 Catagories, none of which are exclusive to the other.
1) Motivatoin
2) Goals
3) Pitfalls

1) Motivation

The Start!

 Firstly if you are reading this and you are not totally ripped and fitter than 90% of the adult population, then the cold hard truth is that you are FAT. Get over it. Actually don't, be disappointed that you are not treating your body as the most precious item you can ever own. The important word I use here is Body, not your cravings, not your hunger or your general comfort.  The human body was designed to take a beating, day in day out, it needed to so it could survive.  For some reason we think that exercise is something we do inbetween when we sit around doing nothing. Its not, its something we should be doing all the time and the sitting vegging infront of the tv should be something we do when we are physically knackered, not just cos we have finished our 9-5 or even our 9-5 and 1hour in the gym.
 Secondly, get over the word FAT, if your offended by that word and cry internally when someone says you are the fxxk up! Face it, don't hide behind ideas that your strength or your fitness are ok and your bones are big and your partner likes a bigger bodied person, bullshit.  Just remember every time you go to a pool or a beach and your partner and yourself are constantly looking at the people with a lot less FAT than you.  Thats the reality of where you should be.

If you cant admit that you are fat, then you cant start loosing weight.
If you think you just need to loose a few pounds. your wrong.
You need to have a fit body. You need to have some discomfort in your life for a while.
You need to look at yourself every day and think to yourself I look awesome!

Get a photo of yourself fatty, don't pose or pull in your gut, dont flex your puny muscles and dont shoot from your best angle. Take a cold hard look at yourself in the mirror and squeeze your fat around your belly between your fingers, or hands or if your really fat between your elbows. Look at how it moves look at it wobble, Jump up and down (if you can) do a slow motion video capture of your flab jiggling about.  Its yours, all yours! Be disgusted by it.
 And there aint no cheap, easy, relaxing or lazy way to get rid of it. No magic pill, no electrical pulsating device, no single exercise machine that is going to make it fall off.  Your going to have to work it off both physically and mentally! and do you know what, Getting rid of it is going to hurt, be uncomfortable, make you hungry, cause you to get grumpy, fart more hell you may even piss the bed but in the end YOU CAN DO IT. Just stop being a pussy and quite making excuses!

Get an Idol.  and dont choose some douchbag who has been ripped their whole life and genetically are superior to 99.9% of the population. Find people who inspire you, not just with their physical abilities but their motivation, their determination, their information. Dont follow a dumbass and dont court someone who is negative.  Make a facebook photo page or go oldschool and get a pinboard and put up pictures of people with bodies you want to have, have some fecking consensus with it though, dont have a Ryan raynolds and a Ronnie Colman picture side by side it aint going to happen.

Music. The intensity in the gym in total goes through the roof if a Rocky theme tune comes on. so get your ipod filled up with your best songs, be they motivational, visualistic or building up.  I chose some tunes from EPIC Soul Factory which are a free from some online thing and they are all the super dramatic tunes you get from things like batman etc.  Swedish House mafia for when i am running, and Glitch Mob (we can make the world stop) when doing weights.  Good tunes can really help you focus, get your act together, and push out that extra 10meters, that extra hard pull or the last rep on the whatever machine you are using.

Tell Everyone Your Plan.
If it is to loose weight, gain muscle, increase strength, up your fitness. Doesn't matter. just make sure you advertise it to everyone, friends, family, work, random guy behind the bar.  The more you tell the more support you will have, the more you will have giving you tips, advice, bro-science and most importantly, encouragement and support, and if you are not fulfilling your goals, then a little bit of a constant reminder when the person keeps asking you "hey hows the marathon run training going"or whatever.
 My plan was tell the world via youtube and blog the shit out of it.

Spend loads of money! On food.
Your body is the most important thing you own. So cut down on the chocolate and crisps and use the money you have saved to spend on good, delicious food.  Stop going to the bargain bucket section in the shops.  Think of every bit of delicious and expensive healthy food you buy as an investment. also the more expensive it is the more you will savor it and less likely to constantly gorge on it.
Before when I would shudder at the cost of some salmon from M&S I now see it as a brilliant treat of goodness that is worthy of my dosh.

Photo/video progress.  each week or each fortnight or each what ever, take another photo or do another video where you look for changes, look for developments or just report on your progress. If you have had a bad week then say it dont hide from it and pretend it never happend.  Everyone loves a good transformation photo or video and it can be super rewarding when you look back at yourself months before to where you are now (or will be)
I never intended on doing a transformation photo or video but wish i had when i finally got my shit together. I am just using frame grabs from old photography videos i put up.

Buddy System
 This goes with the telling everyone section,  If someone you tell also shows some interest in your goal, get them to be your buddy/little angle on the shoulder, ask them and get them to ask you how your progress is going, make little challenges short term goals for eachother to reach, and what ever you do, make sure you do it better than your buddy.  Additionally, though, if your buddy is a chatty bugger, ditch them. Get someone who is there to workout to challenge you to motivate and push you, not to distract you and talk about work and lovelifecrap.

If you need motivation or inspiration, go buy Rocky 2,3,4, and Warrior on DVD and if you want a motivation and a little cry google the story of Rick and Dick Hoyt.  gets me every time and makes me want to get off my ass and run a marathon!

Get outside in nature.
Gyms can be intimidating, boring, repetative, and annoying when you have some douch wanting to use your machine and they are standing right behind you while you are doing your superset with only 9seconds rest inbetween sets.  Nothing gets my rage up more than someone asking to use my machine while i am doing a workout on it.  Equally nothing pisses me off more than seeing some pansy sitting at the machine looking at the weights longer than they can even hold a weight for.  RAAAAAAA, but I digress.  The point here is that all exercise is not just for the gym. Go outside, run in the hills, get away from the town for a while. Be a badass and go hill walking and take a massive rock up with you to the top of the hill.  Go swimming in the sea or a loch or lake, take inspiration from the 10year old kid who does real water swimming in scotland during winter without a wet suit!  Climb a tree,, chop down a tree. Cycle in the highlands and get chased by 15,000 midges. Shovel snow. Run in the rain and see if you can get fast enough that the rain hurts. Slide down wet grassy hills, go rock climbing. rent a kayak. Get some ideas.

2) Goals
Having one goal is a pretty poor effort in your plan to get a better body.  Saying that you want to just loose weight sucks balls in terms of motivation and adherance.  Break down what ever your goal is down into tiny little goals and make them flexible. ie if it is to loose weight, say 10kg, then what you have is 10 smaller goals of loosing 1kg a week or a fortnight.  But that is a sucky goal to have.  Your body weight can fluctuate like a butterfly in a tornado. Drink too much water one gym session and your up a kg, do a massive shit another day and you are down.  So make yourself a bunch of performance goals, ie to be able to run a distance, then to run a distance in a slightly faster time, or run further, or row, or cycle, or lift weights, or do pullups and so on.  Heres some of mine.

 J) Weight
Right I did just say dont use weight but for me I did, but i used weight as my marker for fat loss, as all the exercise i was doing was promoting muscle retention so that all the weight i should have been losing was fat.  Weightloss is just my byproduct from exercising and controling my diet, but it is a nice thing to look at when you see it constantly dropping.  I aimed for 1kg a week or a fortnight (ie 2.2lbs) and that i think was reasonable.  If you are already heavier then you may be able to loose more at the start, if you are lighter you may loose less.

What a beast of an all over body exercise! Rowing uses everything and can be a massive cardio exercise.  I gave myself 2 challenges with the rowing machine 1)how far can I go with the settings set at max in 1 Minute and 2) How far can I go in 3 Minutes.
Its meant to be.  But simple does not mean easy as each time I am busting my balls so hard that I struggle to breath for hours aftewards, I call it heartattack central.  So maybe be careful with this one but it is a great measure of both strength, endurance and cardio development.  I am currently rowing 367m in 1 minute and 906m in 3 minutes (from a stand still start)

Every time your foot hits the ground while you are running you are exerting the pressure of 6-8 times your bodyweight on that one foot/leg try and do that in a squat! no chance!  However as you are fat running is not going to be enjoyable, it requires a lot of effort and you cant do it sitting down like rowing or cycling.  But tough luck, do it, it is awesome, even better is learn the Pose Technique or be truely badass and try out barefoot running, it will destroy your calves but make you so awesome.  Running machines in the gym, should be used as they are named, for RUNNING! jogging is for outside, walking is for everything between sitting, Running is also more aweome done outside but difficult to measure your performance. Also always have it on a gradient, somewhere between 1.5 and 3degrees minimum. 
I use the running machine a lot for my warm up, I ramp it up to 14kph and gradient 4 for 400m then back it down to walking and measure my heart rate, once is drops below 130bps ill take it back up to a faster speed and a higher gradient,  the aim is to get my heart pumping fast and hard and also get it dropping fast between sets. normally I bearly do more than 1k, or 6minutes on the running machine to warm up but i am always sweating, blood pressure up, and core temp raised.  Then off to do the weights.

Little girls can do it, why cant you?  Rocky does it, and so does every professional boxer and MMA. and check their bodies!  Skipping is something that can be done anywhere at any time, requires little space or equipment and can have you sweating buckets in minutes. That is if you can even skip for a minute.  It will destroy your calves, and you will have whip marks all over your arms and back.  Learn to do doubles and crossovers. Once you can do doubles and carry on normal single skipping like a boss, you look like a boss, all the girls and gympansies will be in awe of your awe-some-ness.

Lift them. 
Your a man arnt you? or a tough girl?  So lift some weight repeatedly.  Strength (not muscle size) is very important for everything, Build it. Nuf said.

This goes against all advice you will hear...everywhere. But how often do you hear people saying, oh your over doing it, you'll burn out.  Have you ever burnt out from exercise?  Your one hour a day or every second day do you think your body is going to just give up and burn out?  NO. What do you think olympic athletes do?  Train a couple of times a week? No they train 7 hours a day... EVERY DAY. And they dont burn out!  So go on challenge yourself to find out where your burnout level is. 
I have been doing the gym in the morning every day before work, and several times after work as well. Some muscles are sore one day so I workout other muscles the next or do some cardio instead of strength training. 
The biggest factor for burning out is Stress! and that is usually just crappy MENTAL stress.  Again, the human body has evolved over billions of years since jesus to deal with shitloads of physical stress. The only mental stress we had was being killed or dieing of hunger which usually were supported by a bout of physical stress (ie running away from being killed or running after and killing)
Its only our sucky modern day lives where Mental stress, time management, party planning, job hunting, insurance paying, tax dodging, law breaking, monogamy fails, etc that has put a shit load of mental stress in our lives where we can be stressed to the max and not do anything physical.  One of the biggest prescriptions for stress... guess... exercise!  go figure!

Another example regarding how much stress your body can take from physical work.  Look at your job, how much do you sit on your ass? lots i suspect, unless you are a PT.  One of the fittest times of my life was when I was working as a Removal Man, lugging boxes and boxes of books, fridges, washing machines, wardrobes etc up and down floors and floors.  It Knackered me the first month.  But by month 2 I was doing that 9-6 and then still going off to the gym again aftewards, my body lapped it up and could take even more!

Biggest rule to avoid burn out?  Sleep, an i am not meaning the 8hours you get from 1am till 9am. but studies have shown that you get the greatest spurt of growth hormone (the good stuff) when you go to sleep at 10 compared to 12, so rule in life is try and be in bed at 9 and have an hour chilling, then try and go to sleep at 10. Doing this means that waking up at 5am is not half as difficult because you will already have had 7 hours and those 7 will have been much more GH filled meaning you are much more recharged.

Cut shit out COMPLETELY!
Chocolate, crisps, beer, harribo, cinema popcorn, the odd glass of wine, followed by the rest of the bottle...everynight. The Chocolate milkshake, the McDonalds, the Subway footlong, the non diet fizzyshit. 
The tip here is to cut it out, not cut down on it. Cutting down does bugger all.  Eating cutting your junk intake from 1000kcal to 300kcal still does nothing your still taking in 300kcal of shit which you dont need so grow some balls, stop being a child in a sweety shop and stop buying yourself 'treats' you dont deserve them.
The only time you do deserve them is after you have given blood.

3) Pitfalls

The road to a healthier body is not a straight one, it has lumps and bumps, cliffs and forks. You may find that you want to work on cardio and cut out the strength work, you may get into adventure running or take up some impact sport. OR you give up and go right of the cliff back to marshmallow squishy heaven! (thats you i am describing not the sweet).
The trick is to see where your pitfalls are, identify them before you fall into them and take ahold of any slipups you have and factor it into your progress as a learning tool. (or dont bother and just be fat and soak up your sugary type 2 diabeties around the corner)

Sweet tooth
I am a mega pussy with sweet shit. I blame my mum. She fed me that squeeze sugary condensed milk as a child and I was hooked like a junkie.  So I am aflicted with the dreaded sweat tooth. But also I love my greesy batterd sausage rolls my burgers my pies and my Favorite Chips n Cheese with extra barbeque sause.... is your mouth watering like mine is just now?  Bugger seems like i have a savory tooth also.  I blame my dad for that he owns pubs and pub food must have been what he fed me when i got cranky between my sweetie fixes.  Oh all my dietry fails are because of my parents.... WAIT A MINUTE! did someone just slap me with the Bitch stick?  Why the fuck am i blaming others for my weakness. Why dont I just man up, realise what is actually good for me, and show my crap craving conscious whos in charge.  Look at the crap you want to eat and physically say 'No, i am not having you' and go get yourself something healthy and tasty. Not sweet fast and ultimately weak.

Drink Diet fizzy Drinks
The wonderful sweetner Aspartame will cause cancer, liver tumors headaches and generally kill people if too much is taken. Thats what the sugar addicts get us to believe,  They say just have the sugar drink instead. BULLSHIT! NEVER drink the full sugar equivelent pop drink again. Your lardyness is due to to many calories so just cut the shit out.  Aspartame is a billion times more sweet than sugar and has no calories, so it must kill us in another way. But do you know what... So will inhailing the farts you do under your bedcovers, but we all still enjoy it.
The trick is the term Too Much.  Yes too much sugar free crap will kill us all, however Too Much water will also kills you, too much spinach will kill you, too much oxygen will kill you.  Everything will kill you.  Better to die with a hot looking body than just a blubby mess.  However if you can be ultrabadass and live on a constant intake of water, fruit tea, and almond milk or what ever is good nowadays then all the better for you.  For the rest of us sweettooth suckers, fake sugar all the way.
Or try Stevia, pretty much sugar but not calorie loaded.

Know your Calories (My Fitness Pal: APP)
Quick way to shock you into learning how much you actually need to eat each day is by having something that tells you the calories you are consuming and what you need.  Myfitnesspal is some app for my phone where I can scan in the barcodes of all the food i am eating and it has a list of all the details of the nutritional content, fat, protein, calories, carbs vitamines etc. Very handy to know and also very shocking when you see you accidentially consumed more than double your daily amount of sugar in one meal from subway.  Get it Use it, and try and follow it.  If you get it add me as you can add others on it somehow.

Expecting too much too soon.
Do not think of this as a quick fix, do not think of this as a DIET, or something to do for a month for results before a wedding or what ever.  Think of it as changing your lifestyle and your mentality to food.  Minimum time you should be thinking here is 6months before doing the reveal of your new body.  This goes for most things, including weight training and cardio.  Doing a new weight training routine for a month is nothing, doing it for 3 months... thats the start. once you have done 6 months then it is definitly time to move onto the next routine or goal.
So for me the goal was to loose fat, and find a 6pack.  6 months in, I am so very close that I am happy enough to start my next goal which is to build up my strength.
If you give up just after or before 3 months then just face it and give up on ever trying you clearly are a pretender.

All Diet Suppliments WORK!
Again this may be against most advice but the truth is  that all diet suppliments work.... when you follow the instructions.  The hillarious bit is that on the instructions with any diet suppliment it says :works in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet and exercise:
NO SHIT!  There is even some shit out from the Kardasians where you drink some ;Detox juice: and only eat a small amount of veg and fruite for a week and bingo you have lost 4lbs! yeah no shit sherlock, only eating a couple bits of veg and fruit for a week accompanied with a super caffinated drink will get everyone dropping pounds (of shit). 
But the word is Diet Suppliments, not Diet pills, The pill does bugger all on its own, They can fractionitly increase your heart rate, maybe lower your hunger, stabilize your blood sugar or what ever but unless you are busting your ass in the gym and restricting your calorie intake nothing is going to change.  However what is better as a fat loss suppliment than Coffee and Green tea?

Start Now
Procrastination is for pussies, people who say I am going to start the diet after the weekend, or who claim they will go to the gym 3 times evey week starting at the start of next month... What ever.  Pull your socks up, stop giving all the chat and put your trainers on and go for a jog tonight.  Oh but it is raining? Diddums.  Give your excuses to someone who cares. oh wait a minute, noone does.

Cheat days
Great question people ask when starting a diet and exercise programme (or life style) when do i get cheat days and how much can i eat?
Here is my take on it. Unless you are ripped, you dont deserve cheat days.  If you are going to have a day off, make it a day off with a light jog, or an intense sauna and cold shower workout to start the day, or make it a fasting day if you are doing nothing or do a big gym session at the start of the day if you are going to be filling your face with crap later on.  Cheat days are thought to be days when you can eat what you want and sit around doing nothing watching tv, playing computer games. Wrong. 
Social Obligation days:
This is the closest thing i get to a cheat day.  Invited to a party? Got a wedding, barbeque in the park, Family gathering. Dont be a douch and turn your nose up at the cocktail sausages because it is 3grams of fat and it will ruin your diet. it wont.  Dont turn yourself into a social outcast because of your aims.  Just factor it in and run off whatever crap you consume or again do a workout before hand.  Summer is a difficult time for me with weddings almost every weekend but i can do a 10 ton workout in an hour at the gym in the morning at 7am... so that is not an excuse.

Diet food
Dont be fooled by diet food. food is not ment to be diet fat is important to you, unsaturated fat can actually help burn fat and saturated fat is needed for a lot of healthy hormone production.  Dont automatically reach for the LOW FAT crap in your shops.  No, insted read the nutritional info and look for the ones with the least sugar.  Carbohydrates are not the enemy either but sugar (the simplest form of carbs) is.  Make your body have to fight to get its energy from the food you consume.

In the end it is your life, you can slob your way through it and never challenge yourself out of your comfort zone.  But challenging yourself, giving yourself a little bit of discomfort and a little bit of hunger with undoubtidly make you a better person.  Life is not meant to be easy, and generally life is difficult for a lot of us but that is usually through things we have little control over, ie the economy, love life, work etc. So take control of one thing you are in contact with every day. Your Body.  With every challenge you give it, it will come back stronger and healthier and ready for more.

  • Joey Kelly
    21 hours ago
    • what the fxxx are you doing to get a body like that... are you doing that course 'insanity' you know the one where you get the 'i earned it' t shirt. Dom honestly you look amazing man.. what you doing...i feel like a fat bastard looking at your pictures and I'm fit!... even my burd said just now,.. thats what you 'USED' to be like joey.. he'c nice who is he.. am like gtf... lol..

      WHAT ARE YOU EATING???????
  • Dom Bower
    2 hours ago
    Dom Bower
    • hey, thanks for the message, doing just shitloads of gym and videoing it all as well little bit of social pressure helps keep it up ( ) Tell your burd that you are going to easily beat that look, and then tell her to go make you a healthy dinner while your at the gym!

  • Danny Bowes
    9 minutes ago
    • hi dom. have loves watching and leaning from your photog vids.
      fav vids have to be color balance in the snow, painting with light, and the twerly on fire thing. now you have transformed yourself into one of the(we dine in hell) 300. good on you for undertaking your get fit program. i have two questions for ya. why? and do you think you will now be able to keep this up for the rest of your life? cheers.
  • Dom Bower
    about a minute ago
    Dom Bower
    • good question!

      first answer to WHY?
      Cos i was obese at the start of the year, 102kg and eating junk all the time, i figured i was eating an extra 1000calories a day of crisps and chocolate just because i could. my fitness was shit and didnt really like the look of my body.
      I am 28, i have a healthy body, no broken limbs, no chronic pain in anything, and a stable life, i can either just keep being comfy and not bother with my body or take a bit of control and do something that was good for me. and bingo, i started controlling my body.

      2) I would love to be able to keep this up for the rest of my life. as long as i am fit and not in pain i dont see why i couldn't, all it takes is a little effort, and when you see the results every day all day.... a little effort isnt very much to ask for.

    • Hi Dom, btw: i started for 2 year ago also my training and i changed everything very strong. i changed the nutration, i go 3 time a week to sport. i got my fat under 8%. so if i watch you i see me in the beginning. i have fun since i started it and at this time i still have fun with sport!!! so i wish you the best for the future in sports - it is fun! Cheers, M
  • Dom Bower
    about an hour ago
    Dom Bower
    • man! fat under 8% that is crazy, i would love to get there, i think just now i am around 18% so long way to go. I too am enjoying every day in the gym.

  • Michael Ehlert
    31 minutes ago
    • So you reach it .... Low carb, whey and Sports are the best. You are on a Perfect way!!!


  1. Totally enjoying the writeup!

    about to hit the gym and run :D

  2. Good stuff Dom. Can you speak a bit more about your fasting regimen? How often are you fasting/how did you get into the longer fasts you've done? I've read up on "eat stop eat" and "leangains" and anticipate starting 1x a week and see how it feels. I've been eating fairly clean calorie restricted for 2 months with 10lbs down and I'm looking to accelerate now. Recommendations?

  3. A great read Dom, fantastic work. Keep it up. Look up CrossFit, try it. It makes you awesome.

  4. hey dom, ive just started going to the gym. saw ur video on youtube, thanks for sharing. im too is a photographer and yes we are all fat hahaha
    keep it up

  5. Hey Dom... Dunno really why but I just enjoy watching your vids :] By the way have you tried dextrose before gym session ? I my self am quite tolerant for coffee and really don't use pre workout supplements but now for 2 weeks or so I'm taking 50g of dextrose 30 mins before gym and I have to say I really feel the energy. I'm not so sure will it be like Jack3d + beer but might give you some energy. Keep it up m8 !

  6. Grate article.Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  7. Great blog Dom! This post really inspired me to go out and intensify my own workout! I'm currently having a break from the gym, since I busted both my knees from the last training a while back. Now however I think it's time I get back in the gym and get some value for my money! ;)