Can You Have a Killer Photoshoot Without Dieting, Water-Shedding, or Tricks?

Abel James - Fat Burning Man

Yes, you can.

Here’s what happened: It was a normal Thursday. I was doing my once-a-week resistance workout in the backyard. Alyson was scurrying about, blogging on her soon-to-be-released gluten-free blog. And our camera was out.

“Hey, mind taking a few pics of me in the backyard? I could use a few more exercise shots.”


As this was completely unplanned, there was no time to prep.

No tanning beds, no water shedding, no crazy lighting, no crazy dieting, and no camera tricks or photoshopping. In fact, the night before I’d had a particularly indulgent dinner (along with a generous helping of homemade cookies for dessert and – a bit too much – red wine).

(Don’t believe it was unplanned? Just look at how ridiculous those shorts are. Not photoshoot shorts…)

Here are a few of the shots.




And lest you forget, before I understood how my body worked (eating low-fat, reduced calorie, mostly vegetarian), I looked like this in my early 20’s:


What’s the point of showing you this?

I used to think I had terrible genetics, and that’s why I was getting fat and sick despite running 30 miles a week and eating a super “healthy” diet. Now I know it’s not about genetics, and you can’t use them as an excuse. It’s about your lifestyle.

You don’t need to be miserable and starve yourself for weeks for a photoshoot. In fact, don’t do that. That doesn’t sound like fun at all.

Real food works. That you don’t need to starve yourself, be miserable, or exercise all the time to look and feel great. That, if you understand the way YOUR body works, you can look great by living well. (To read about how I eat and train, check out my book, The Wild Diet.)


If you’re interested in learning our approach to fat loss, muscle-building, and living well, check out the LeanBody 30-Day Fat Loss System and the LeanBody Community.

Eat real food, enjoy your life, and let us know if there’s anything we can do to help you along. You can do it!


Discover how to drop fat with chocolate, bacon, and cheesecake. Plus: learn the 3 worst foods you should NEVER eat and the 7 best exercises for rapid fat loss. Click below to to claim your FREE gift ($17 value)!


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  1. What’s up Abel. Awesome post and great pics man. I can absolutely relate as i’ve been on the “Fat Burning World” for a good year already. The Freedom is amazing. By the way, i made the Banana bread with your recently posted recipe. I made 3 for mothers day and they were awesome! Big hit with everyone. I love your podcasts and listen to all of them. We’ll keep on keeping on my man…I’m trying to do my part and affecting people in a positive way. My modo is: Improving the QUALITY of your life through Nutrition. Check out my website…

  2. Great post Abel. Those are some solid looking adjustable dumbells you have there – are you able to share the brand?

  3. I am about 2.5 months into my new healthy lifestyle. It’s crazy the difference when you actually learn to eat better and do real research. I’ve always been about 30lbs overweight but more importantly always feeling like crap. I worked out everyday and tried all the “tricks” in the book. Never once was I intelligent enough and motivated enough to actually try to change the way I eat. 2.5 months ago, I was 5’11” 224lbs. I am currently at 191lbs (and going strong) but most importantly WAY more energized. I havent changed really anything to my workout. I listen to your podcast every week to get more ideas and to keep myself inspired. Keep up the good work Abel! You are helping a ton of people out.

  4. awesome pics Abe–now you just need to tan the rest of your body. LOL just kidding man–you are beast and I luv the podcasts. Keep em coming brotha!

  5. Hey Abel! Loved the post but I really am writing to say thanks for all you do! I love your podcast! One day I had been listening on my phone and my 8 year old daughter picked it up and saw your picture. She wanted to know who you were so I told her you record a podcast that I listen to about how to be healthy. Later that night she got my phone and found your picture and showed my husband; she said, “See Dad, I told you she likes guys with big muscles.” It was hilarious! Anyway, thanks again! And I can’t wait to start following Alyson’s gluten free blog!

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