"Soft in some places, lumpy in others. It's ghoulish. You are a ghoul."
September 29, 2009 6:24 AM   Subscribe

My Disgusting Body And You: For reasons I can't divulge, I will be appearing nude in public come November. What can I do in a month so I look my naked best? I don't have a gym and really can't afford one, and my time is going to be pretty tight for the first two weeks in October...

1- I'm a 25 year old 220 pound dude shaped like Judah Friedlander.

2- I kinda went to hell this summer for work and other reasons. I'm pale, my upper body strength is shot completely and my clothes are starting to rebel. My motivation to move around has been nil, hence doing the nude thing to force myself to do something.

3- I already eat pretty well, not a whole lot of processed food and lots of veggies. More than willing to cut out the big things like beer and bread and fried foods. My problem is that I'm never hungry. Ever. I eat maybe one meal a day. Everyone says you have to eat little meals to up your metabolism but I just can't force myself to eat that much.

4- As I said before, no gym, but a big empty floor and 2 ten pound weights. Also, cause of the money situation, I can't do classes or anything that costs money.

5- Anything else I should be doing Right Now to ensure I look Super Great Naked in a month? Start scrubbing off the foot calluses or full body moisturizing or what?
posted by The Whelk to Health & Fitness (39 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

Groom/shave (not just your face, but don't look like a baby).

Get a haircut.


Do sit ups and pushups whenever you can! A good thing to do if you have cable or watch TV is to do situps / pushups during the commercial breaks. Before you know it you've done a few hundred pushups over the course of an evening watching TV.

posted by CharlesV42 at 6:34 AM on September 29, 2009

Having just lost 30 pounds for my wedding in 6 weeks, I can tell you it can be done.

1) Make sure you eat breakfast. Pot of greek yoghurt, 0% fat should do you. Dull but high protein.

2) NO CARBS. AT ALL. Just high protein white meat / fish and vegetables. Try and eat regular small meals, e.g. 5x per day. Cut out all the booze.

3) RUN. RUN. RUN. I went from lumbering a mile to now doing 8 miles a day quite comfortably. It's amazing how fast you can build your fitness if you're dedicated. Make sure you have good running shoes (this may be a problem given the money situation) but if you're going to blitz the running you NEED to make sure you have the right ones for your feet.

4) Lots of crunches. Basically as many as you can do before failure. Every day.

You will have no fun for the period of time, but the results will astonish you.
posted by momentofmagnus at 6:34 AM on September 29, 2009 [4 favorites]

Eating little meals to up your metabolism is a crock; the only reason (IMO) to do it is if you NEED to get calories in (ie, you're too skinny) and you need an easy way to do so.

IANAPT (I am not a personal trainer), but it seems you have 4 weeks, I guess, so spend 3 days a week doing 30 mins of bodyweight exercises (work up to that if you can't manage it): pushups, squats, lunges and starjumps will do. Do 1 set of each, then rest, then repeat for 3-4 times.

3 other days going for a 20-30 min run/walk.

Excercise more and your appetite will come back, but keep off the beer and junk food, and in 4 weeks you'll at least look better than you do now, and feel better.

Anyway, most people look average when they're in the nuddy :)
posted by mahke at 6:35 AM on September 29, 2009

Also: run, do situps and pushups as close to before you will be appearing as you can. Muscles appear a lot more defined after a good workout session.
posted by milestogo at 6:35 AM on September 29, 2009

I don't know whether that's a possibility for you, but you could start going to a public swimming pool once or twice a week from now on. This will not ensure that you look "Super Great Naked", but will definitely lead to improved acceptance of different body types, hopefully including your own. Going swimming has definitely improved my own body image issues. Also, you will get used to running around (almost) naked and feel ok about people seeing you (almost) naked.

Bonus: Swimming is good for your body, relaxing, and definitely great for upper body strength, even if you do it just once a week.
posted by The Toad at 6:41 AM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

You may be shocked how quickly results show when you do curls and work on your shoulders every day (EVERY DAY!). Pushups, too. Just a centimeter or two added to the upper body goes a long way, and makes your shirts fit better, too.

You should try and get a couple of fifteen or twenty pound weights in addition to the ten pounders you have.

posted by General Tonic at 6:43 AM on September 29, 2009

Get a tan. Pale does not look as good as tanned, when the lights are on.
posted by Midnight Skulker at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

Run, run, run. No beer, no fried foods, way less bread. Start the day off with a punch of protein, and don't eat after 7 pm. But seriously - make cardio a daily thing.
posted by pintapicasso at 6:45 AM on September 29, 2009

You have a month. You don't have nearly enough time to significantly change your body. But, you can get on your way.

1) Track everything you eat. Everything. You need a calorie deficit. Use a site like Daily Burn to track your exercise and diet.
2) Do cardio every other day. If you can fit in some light cardio in between. Do it.
3) You can try to drop your water weight in a sauna the day before. But don't expect magic.
4) You could do a bunch of pushups, situps, etc to get that pumped look. But with your body shape, it wouldn't make much of a difference.
5) EAT! Living off one meal a day is a great way to train yourself to store each calorie as fat. Be active every day and your apatite should return.

Like I said, you wont look how you would like in a month. But, you could be less Judah Friedlander and more Jude Law in six months if you stick to it.

Best of luck.
posted by munchingzombie at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2009

You cannot healthily lose more than about 10 lbs in 4 weeks, which would itself require you to drop 1000 Calories/day. Without knowing how tall you are, we can't judge how much of an impact 10 lbs would make. Personally, I would choose one or more of these options:
  • Tanning
  • Manscaping
  • Inventing a time machine and going back far enough to lose however much weight I thought was necessary

posted by DU at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2009

Swimming and running are good suggestions to burn fat. Pushups will help build up your pectorals and triceps.

Situps won't do anything to burn fat but will make your core stronger. This has an aesthetic appeal only if you have reduced abdominal fat.

As for the notion of eating a series of small meals over the course of the day: that tends to work if you work out a lot and consequently have a higher-than-average caloric need. Bodybuilders and elite athletes are known for this kind of eating.

Eliminate carbs from your diet, add lots of protein and reduce fat. Also cut out any booze (including wine) as those are empty calories devoid of nutritional value. Avoid fruit juices as well; you can get all the nutrients from eating actual fruits and vegetables.
posted by dfriedman at 6:48 AM on September 29, 2009

Response by poster: Without knowing how tall you are, we can't judge how much of an impact 10 lbs would make. Personally, I would choose one or more of these options:

An even 6 foot.
posted by The Whelk at 6:52 AM on September 29, 2009

There's a couple things you can do besides what is described above, if you don't mind doing things that aren't entirely good for you. You should be able to get a bit less white using a tanning bed or liquid tan, and if you mildly dehydrate yourself over the last day or two it will temporarily make you look leaner. During that period you want to avoid eating or drinking anything that would make you retain water.

If you hadn't exercised before and you are starting, I would be careful with how quickly you ramp up your program. Pay close attention to how you feel, particularly in your joints, and don't increase your intensity too much at once. Exercising combined with diet can have an impact over the course of a month, but it is probably not going to be a miraculous process.

You might even want to consider getting waxed, all things being equal you will look better without stray hairs coming out of odd places.

On preview: I like The Toad's idea about swimming and I might add that you could try hanging out in the nude at home. If you can't just walk around naked, you might want to just go off on a room by yourself and try to become more comfortable with being naked.
posted by jefeweiss at 6:53 AM on September 29, 2009

Moisturize and exfoliate a lot.
posted by oinopaponton at 6:55 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I have been getting rave reviews from a friend about the Couch to 5k program. It sounds a little gimmicky, but it really worked for my friend, and running is a pretty good whole-body exercise. This program is designed to take 2 months, but if you start now, you'll get a lot of the benefit of it by the time you have to....do whatever it is you're going to do :)
posted by Salvor Hardin at 6:59 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

You only have a month, the difference you can make to your weight and shape is negligible.

Grooming, confidence and posture are the three things that will make the most impact - work on those.
posted by fire&wings at 7:01 AM on September 29, 2009 [6 favorites]

If running is too unpleasant or too hard on your joints, buy a (cheap, used) bicycle! The best calorie-burning exercise is the one you're looking forward to doing every day.
posted by availablelight at 7:05 AM on September 29, 2009

What fire&wings said. Learn to stand up straight all the time.

Spend a lot of time naked around the house on your own so you are confident and comfortable with your own body. Learn how you move without the encumbrance of clothing. Most people have no idea how to be, naked. get comfy with it. Few people ever manage and they look ridiculous out of their kit. Becoming at peace with yourself with nothing on, and you can be The Whelk, who just happens to be lacking in the pants department, rather than being OMFG WHELKIE WHO IS PETRIFIED OF EVERYONE SEEING HIS DANGLY BITS!!!1!

Even if you are a carved Adonis, being freaked out will still make you look like a dork. Practice at being in the raw, as Mother Nature intended, and it'll help as much or more than a bazillion crunches and a diet of pre-gnawed lichen.
posted by Jilder at 7:12 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am not going to touch base on other stuff because it has been mentioned already . One thing I didn't see is an arms workout. You could do for your arms with the weights you already have. It is easy. Do 7 curls at a full extension. Then stop half way (arm at a 90 degree angle) and lift up like a regular bi-curl then return to the 90 degree angle. Do 7 more. Lastly drop your arms to a 180 degree angle and pull them up to a 90 degree angle. Do 7. Repeat til your arms are tired. I did these for 2 weeks and my arms got into serious shape.

Good luck.
posted by Mastercheddaar at 7:21 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Accept yourself exactly the way you are, be confident, and you will look "super great naked" in public. Bodies are beautiful, and all bodies are beautiful naked. In 1990, I appeared nude in the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company production of Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land. I am 5'7" and at the time weighed 320 pounds. It was a wonderful experience.
posted by hworth at 7:29 AM on September 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

You can get a professional spray-tan where they can contour your body to make you appear slimmer.
posted by sinderile at 7:42 AM on September 29, 2009

Buy a flat bench.

Then buy dumbells. I suggest two 15 lbs, two 20 lbs, and 2 25 lbs dumbells. You can get them for about 30 bucks each.

Use them for circuit training, doing it in the morning before you eat.

For example do the following:

Bench flys
dumbell individual back rows (one knee on bench, the other on floor, one hand on bench one hand with dumbell raise to chest from half kneel)
shoulder raises
"C"s (shoulder standing flys)
dumbell tricep extensions
dumbell curls
Crunches from center, left, right

use lighter weights, 15-20 reps each (start slow!) no breaks between exercises, go one into the other. Take 1 minute between circuits then start again. Work your way up to 3 circuits every other day. Do them before you eat and you are going to do great!

Bring a lunch to work.

MeMail me for more details if you need them.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:52 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Even though you only have a month, weight training will help you a lot with the confidence and you will be sucking it in more.

Yoga and/or pilates will help also.
posted by jgirl at 7:53 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

You're going to have a hard time making a big difference with your time and equipment restraints. I'd focus on diet and interval training in order to lose fat. No sugar or alcohol, as few starches as possible. Contrary to dfriedman, don't try to reduce fat -- you can't cut carbs and fat at the same time. Your diet will consist of mostly protein, fat, and leafy veggies.

Don't waste your time doing arm curls or crunches. You could try some of these Crossfit bodyweight workouts (PDF). Installing a chin-up bar would enable you to do a lot more of them. Other than that you'll be running, jumping rope, and doing pushups, squats, and burpees. Those workouts will kick your ass, and help you maintain muscle while losing fat. But it's important to do them as designed without extra rest in between movements -- the point is to keep intensity high by doing these as quickly as possible. Good luck.
posted by ludwig_van at 8:22 AM on September 29, 2009

Use these to get you going, if you need help with structure and motivation:

posted by crickets at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Nthing the grooming: perhaps fake tan (try it with enough time to let it fade in case you hate it), a good haircut, manicure, facial. Exfoliate. Stand tall. There was a reason someone asked you to appear naked; I'm assuming it was because they thought you were just fine as you are.
posted by x46 at 8:49 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Aren't you in NYC? There are practically free gyms you can join. I go to Asser Levy for $10/year and my son goes for free. There are several others throughout the city.
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:57 AM on September 29, 2009

To help with the confidence thing: Do you have a digital camera? Take lots of pictures of yourself naked in different poses, and practice your posture. Find the stances that look and feel the best to you. We don't know whether you are standing still or moving around for your public display, but I agree that getting very comfortable being naked in the meantime will only help.
posted by juliplease at 9:14 AM on September 29, 2009

I'm probably going to disagree with about 90% of the people posting.

1) You don't need to cut out carbs or fat or anything like that. You can eat cheesecake all day as long as you maintain some sort of calorie deficiency by the end of the week. As a man, I do believe it is necessary for you to eat at least 1500 calories a day, but I would suggest only dropping your caloric intake about 500 calories a day for the first week.

You can eat whatever you want, as long as it you maintain a 500 calorie deficit every day. It's recommended that you eat more vegetables and fruit, simply because they fill you up longer. However, if you decide you want to eat a Big Mac, go ahead -- just realize you won't be able to eat anything but celery and lettuce leaves for the rest of the day.

Once you start exercising regularly, trust me, you will be hungry, probably all of the time. I used to be the same as you -- I would not want to eat more than one meal a day. That completely changed when I started doing aerobics 4 times a week.

2) There are full exercise videos available online (like Youtube). Use them. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day. Try 10-15 minute segments if you can't do it all at once. I see a few people recommended running. Running is great if you like running. As someone who hates running, I suggest finding an exercise regimen that you enjoy so that you stick to it. If it's running, great -- but not everyone is a runner. All I know is that If I used running as my method of exercise ... well, eventually, they'd have to lift me out of my house with a crane.

3) I don't think there's anything wrong with being pale, but I'm biased (I hate tanned skin unless it is due to genetics). I'd moisturize regularly, however. Also, if you have any back hair, remove it. All of it.
posted by nimufu at 9:40 AM on September 29, 2009

The absolute fastest way to lose weight is a Protein Sparing Modified Fast (PSMF). It is pretty extreme, and involves taking in between 800 and 1000 calories per day. It's what they use in weight loss clinics with extremely obese patients.

Medifast and Optifast are commercial versions of this diet, which you probably can't afford. But if you Google around, it's a very cheap diet and requires NO exercise since you're taking in so few calories.

I have done it and a friend of mine has done it and it definitely works. Kinda does a number on your metabolism, but you could easily lose 8-9 pounds (mostly stored water) the first week and 3-4 lbs per week after that.
posted by hamsterdam at 10:08 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

I second biking. I lost my love handles fairly quickly when I started biking 10-20 miles a day. It's fairly easy. Find a bike, a trail and go!
posted by dietcokejunkee at 10:24 AM on September 29, 2009

Take a look at some of Martin Berkhan's ideas at leangains.com

Intermittent fasting (14 to 40 hours) along with eating "paleo" is one of many effective approaches to loosing bodyfat while retaining muscle without significant exercise.
posted by zentrification at 11:02 AM on September 29, 2009

Two words:
Velocity Diet

I have done it (twice now) and there is no better way to look better in one month's time. It will be a reasonably miserable month, but if you stick to it, you will shock the shit out of even yourself. The website has all sorts of before an after shots on there that you can take a peek at.

You have to buy a fair amount of food/supplements up front, and it seems expensive, but at the end of the month, you realize that you actually saved money on food. Also, since there is little or no cooking, it works even better for busy people (it is bizarre how much time during the day we spend on food shopping/prep/cooking/eating/cleaning).

Like I said, miserable month, but if you do it, I will guarantee results.

Good luck man, do it to it!
posted by milqman at 11:11 AM on September 29, 2009

ooooo - are you posing for Spencer Tunick? If you are, no one will notice your individual body anyway!

(not that improving your health and self-image is a bad thing, of course)
posted by pinky at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Youtube has lots of body weight exercise videos that should give you a great start. 45 minutes 5 days per week should be plenty to look GREAT in 8 weeks, as long as you eat well and add some cardio.

I'll also give a plug for Billy Blanks Ultimate Boot Camp -- one of the few workout vids that really pushed me.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:32 PM on September 29, 2009

Run. Walk everywhere you can that you would usually drive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. No fried foods. No beer. No bread. Limit your meal intake - use smaller plates and bowls and tell yourself "no refills." No sugar soda. No fruit juice, just fruit. Drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep. Keep reminding yourself how awesome you're going to feel and look at the end of this period, because you will, indeed, look and feel awesome. Good luck!
posted by Lynsey at 1:54 PM on September 29, 2009

Your public library also has fitness videos and books, so if you can't find one you like online, check the library.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:35 PM on September 29, 2009

I haven't tried it, but I love the idea of shovelglove. What worked for me was fitting more exercise into my life in ways that seemed productive as something other than exercise: hand-grinding wheat for flour, gardening, walking instead of taking the subway, etc. But it needs to be a lifestyle thing, not a monthlong thing.
posted by rikschell at 4:14 PM on September 29, 2009

Fake tan is your friend. Trust me don't go too nuts, but seriously get yourself sprayed right beforehand. If you can't even afford the $30 to do it, you can get the at home ones for pretty cheap. Get the towlettes (better than the spray for even coverage) meticulously rub everywhere and then, this is very important, do a second coat with lotion. Immediately afterwards. Everywhere. Rub it in good. Air dry. You don't want streaks. I would do a test run.
posted by whoaali at 11:11 PM on September 29, 2009

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