## Monday, September 9, 2013

### Waist-to-weight ratios in pictures: The John Stone transformation

John Stone is a bodybuilder and founder of a bodybuilding and fitness web site (). There he has provided pictures and stats of his remarkable transformation, which were used to prepare the montage below.

John’s height is reported as 5' 11.5". Below the photos are the months in which they were taken, the waist circumferences in inches, the weights in lbs, and the waist-to-weight ratios (WWRs). Abhi was kind enough to provide a more detailed plot of John Stone’s WWRs ().

Assuming that minimizing one’s WWR is healthy, an idea whose rationale was explained here before (), we could say that John was at his most unhealthy in the photo on the left.

The second photo from the left shows a slightly more healthy state, at a reported 8 percent body fat (his lowest). The two photos on the right represent states in which John’s WWR is at its lowest, namely 0.1544. That is, in these two photos John minimized his WWR; at a reported 14 and 13.8 percent body fat, respectively.

When we look at the WWRs in these photos, it seems that he is only marginally healthier in the second photo from the left than in the leftmost photo. In the two photos on the right, the WWRs are much lower (they are the same), suggesting that he was significantly healthier in those photos.

Interestingly, in both photos on the right John reported to have been at the end of bulking periods. Whenever he entered a cutting period his WWR started going up. This suggests that his ratio of lean body mass to total mass started decreasing just as soon as he started cutting. I suspect the same would happen if he continued gaining weight.

Which of the two photos on the right represents the best state? Assuming that both states are sustainable, over the long run I would argue that the best state is the one where the WWR was minimized with the lowest weight. There whole-day joint stress is lower. This corresponds to the photo at the far right.

By sustainable states I mean states that are not reached through approaches that are unhealthy in the long term; e.g., approaches that place organs under such an abnormal stress that they are damaged over time. This kind of damage is essentially what happens when we become obese – i.e., too fat. One can also become too muscular for his or her own good.

Chuck Currie said...

Personally, I think he looks healthiest, more like an athlete, or athletic, and less like a body builder, in the second picture.

I would like to know how he got from picture one to picture two in six months.

Cheers

Kindke said...

he definitely looks best in last picture, small waist and wide shoulders, this is the male version of what makes females attractive, i.e. narrow waist and wide hips.

Zorica Vuletic said...

Chuck, I also prefer picture 2. Oops. He is a bit sinew-y, but good muscle w/o the bulk. The second best picture is the last one. Idk why, but I like my guys a bit skinnier w/ a bit of muscle.

I think picture 2 and 4 might be difficult to maintain long term. I think in the end he would end up in between the two of those pictures.

Zorica Vuletic said...

p.s. I don't know why, but I tend to prefer a leaner look the same in females. (Pls don't think of gross hollywood actresses). I just don't know why I prefer this body type. I like muscles (non-BB kind). I know it's not the most feminine to have too much muscle, but I'm so attracted to lean sinew-y for both sexes. Ah well. Individual variation in preferences.

p.s. Ned, do you think such an individual preference reflects what one can have the propensity to have in themselves terms of body type? Yes, I can store fat in typical female areas and I am happy for this, but I am overall very muscular w/o much effort. My legs and arms are a bit longer in proportion to my torso, too. Not to make myself sound like a freak and/or monkey. :P

Anonymous said...

Pic #2 is clearly a "starvation physique". Males should not have ribs showing THROUGH their pectoral muscles. Looks clearly unhealthy to me.

Anonymous said...

By the way, Chuck, the answer to your question is "starvation". Chronic calorie deficit, with no refeeds, will do that.

Zorica Vuletic said...

Anon: I do feel a bit ashamed as to why I say I like it...idk why. Sigh. But I'll take a mix of 2 and 4 as the 'best'. :) I don't like ppl (or myself) to be in a starvation mode. So it's why I prize my female appropriate fat placement (and really soft/smooth skin). But ya, other than that it's sad to say that I'm strangely attracted to that. :S

Also, there was this guy I only saw pics of who was similar to pic 2 and I also thought he was good looking. The sad truth is though (21), that he totally does drugs. :( Oooo boi. (He's young so hopefully he out grows the drugs).

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student information system open source said...
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Ned Kock said...

Well, what is attractive is not always healthy:

http://bit.ly/1dKVe0h

John himself is very critical of that period in the 2nd photo.

Ned Kock said...

Two comments above deleted – spam.

Ned Kock said...

Another interesting observation on attractiveness – big muscles in human males tend to impress other males way more than females.

This may be a form of intra-sexual competition, similar to big trains (aka tails) in male peacocks being use to secure advantageous positions in leks.

Zorica Vuletic said...

Wait, now upon second inspection of the pictures, I think that the guy's chest is too skinny. I think that's the only major area that looks 'too thin'. As I stated, I think a mix of 2 and 4 would ultimately be the best outcome. :)I didn't really notice his ribs sticking out through the chest the first time. Weird. :P

dearieme said...

"Assuming that minimizing one’s WWR is healthy"; that's a hypothesis worthy of testing. How might it be done?

Ned Kock said...

I don’t think what you see in photo 2 from left are his ribs; more likely they are his “pectoralis major” muscles.

Ned Kock said...

There is a “gulf” in terms of health effects between maintaining leanness in these two states: (a) high levels of calorie expenditure through physical activity, comparable to the levels of many hunter-gatherers (and Mark Sisson’s); and (b) calorie restriction at low levels of physical activity, comparable to the levels of many urbanites.

If calorie expenditure is limited by a sedentary or semi-sedentary lifestyle, calorie restriction can reduce nutrient intake to unhealthy levels. In those cases, a certain amount of extra body fat (not much) may be healthy:

http://bit.ly/12DjSab

Ned Kock said...

Hi dearieme. The analyses would have to be nonlinear, given the theoretical premises:

Assumptions behind it: http://bit.ly/1bNpljQ

An illustration of the nonlinearity: http://bit.ly/14IpjHw

David Isaak said...

The main conclusion I draw from these photos:

WWR seems to determine how tan you are.

David Isaak said...

The main conclusion I draw from these photos:

WWR seems to determine how tan you are.

Sachin Elecwire said...
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Param said...
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Tom said...
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Ned Kock said...