Monday, January 03, 2005

Before Pictures

I took a before picture today.

No, you can't see it.

Well, not yet anyway. For right now, it's just going to sit there, festering.

Before pictures are not meant to be shared. If you want to know how bad the situation is, check out the "Tale of the Tape."

Some of you may not know that there is an art to before and after pictures. When you see a "fitness contest" in a magazine featuring before and after pictures of people, you may not know those people are fitness models. Just like some people make a decent living by winning writing contests, some people make a decent living by entering fitness contests.

Most bodybuilders go through two phases in their training: a bulking phase and a cutting phase. During the bulking phase, they eat tons of calories, so they can gain weight. They want to gain muscle, but they know their body isn't that specific about where it packs the calories, so it gains a lot of fat as well. When they hit the peak of this phase, they snap a "Before shot."

From that day on, they cut back like mad, trying to trim that fat while keeping the muscle. Naturally, some muscle gets lost, too, but overall, they end up looking hot and winning the contest, while you busted your tail back home, thinking the contest was meant for "amateurs."

Some of the keys to taking a good before picture:

Load up on sodium for a few days before you take the picture. Also, drink a lot of water. The increase in sodium will increase water retention.

Look sad. Don't comb your hair.

Try to position your arms in such a way that they are partially obscured by your belly. This will hide your already-buff arms, making them look smaller, and make your belly seem even bigger.

While you don't want the "before" picture to look professional, try getting your professional photographer buddy to take the picture. He's probably got a lens with a slight "fish-eye" distortion, which will make you look even rounder.

To be honest, I didn't do any of these things. I may have looked sad and not combed my hair. But basically, I just stuck a digital camera on top a dresser, took off my shirt and set the timer.

Truly, though, I mean it about you not seeing it yet. "Before" pictures alone are just depressing.

It is now my job to start producing some pleasing "After" photos.

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