“There was a time when a fool and his money were soon parted, but now it happens to everybody.” –Adlai E. Stevenson

One of the worst feelings that I’ve ever experienced is when I feel as though someone has played me for a fool, and fleeced me out of my time, my money, and my trust. The Dang-Its know what I’m talking about; have a listen to their song,

Make A Fool Out Of Me.

One of the most common ads I see on the internet is for these miraculous, weight-loss, muscle-building “solutions,” usually accompanied by some spectacular before-and-after photos. Here are a couple of examples, all associated with attempts to sell various types of supplements.


(Images credit: Mickey at comment #2 and Nutrex’s Anabol-5.)

You’ll see what looks like some amazing results, won’t you? Someone carrying a fair bit of extra weight, maybe looking bloated in the “before” picture, followed by them looking happy, pumped up, confident and ripped in the “after” picture. While common sense and any experience with diet and exercise will tell you that a simple supplement is highly unlikely to play a major role in such a transformation, these ads are literally everywhere.


(Image credit: Frankie at comment #4.)

And I’ve written in the past that one should not take these “after” photos too seriously without looking very carefully at the “before” photos, first, at the very least. After all, one can do dramatic (and unhealthy) things to their body to radically cut one’s weight — such as dehydration — in a relatively short amount of time. Did these people get significantly stronger and healthier, or was all that muscle there all along, and did they just do something to shed some excess weight?


My take, when I see a before-and-after photo set like this?

This before-and-after photo set? It’s the difference between how bodybuilders look in the off-season and when they’re ready for competition. How can you tell? Look at how strong the guy in the “before” picture is. Yes, he’s got a fair bit of extra fat on him, but his thighs are huge and muscular, his arms are thick and strong, and his chest is significantly broader than his midsection.

Most of the “get ripped in 4 weeks” ads that you see do exactly this for before and after photos. Fitness isn’t about that to me, it’s about being healthy and strong throughout your daily life, regardless of where it takes you.

I always advocate for people to try and be healthy for the long-term, and to not fall for these fads and insincere promises. But I never thought that these before-and-after photos could be taken in the same day, just five hours apart! Until, that is, I saw this amazing (and slightly disgusting) video from Furious Pete. See for yourself!

(Video credit: Furious Pete’s YouTube channel.)

Most of you, I’m sure, are savvy enough not to fall for promises like this, but the capability of the human body to go from such a dramatic “before” to “after” (or in this case, after-to-before) in the same day surprised even me! And I hope it entertained you for a bit, too!


  1. #1 James Sweet
    May 7, 2012

    This before-and-after photo set? It’s the difference between how bodybuilders look in the off-season and when they’re ready for competition. How can you tell? Look at how strong the guy in the “before” picture is.

    Yeah, heh, I was thinking, man, I’d be quite happy to look like some of these “before” pictures!

    The only thing that makes me skeptical here is that I’m not sure why anyone would go to so much trouble, since my understanding is that there’s nothing illegal about simply using a different model for the before and after shoot…

  2. #2 OKThen
    May 7, 2012

    Ethan, you’re right; all these guys had muscles underneath the fat.

    And you are correct, it is important to live healthy every day for decades to come.

    And I hate to be ripped off too.

    Having said that, I haven’t bought any books, etc.. regarding something called The Gabriel Method. But I have watch the YouTube videos; because Jon Gabriel made sense.

    Jon Gabriel lost over 225 lbs, so his before and after pictures are really impressive. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O19OAYCueLo&feature=relmfu

  3. #3 Brian Jones
    May 7, 2012

    Wow, that video was insane. I had no idea it was actually that easy to do such a thing.

    Showed it to the wife as well, and she pointed out that where we live (Japan) before/after advertising is illegal. The more you know.

  4. #4 Eric Lund
    May 7, 2012

    I’m not sure why anyone would go to so much trouble, since my understanding is that there’s nothing illegal about simply using a different model for the before and after shoot

    Because it would be obvious that “before” and “after” are two different models, and the marks might wonder if the difference is not related to the product that’s being sold.

    Using the same model also allows the advertiser to throw in a first-person testimonial, which may or may not be genuine.

  5. #5 Watson Davis
    May 7, 2012

    Way back when I was a regular on the misc.fitness.weights newsgroup (I’m a powerlifter) about 10-15 years ago, a guy named Davin — a bodybuilder — made a set of before and after pictures. 5 minutes after.

    For his ‘before’ picture, he had a sad look on his face and even though he “posed”, he didn’t flex. He had body hair. And he pushed his stomach out and with the lighting as it was, it looked like he had the dreaded mono-ab.

    For his ‘after’ picture, he had a big smile and he flexed his muscles when he posed. He had shaved off his body-hair and applied some oil. He got the lights set up right for the camera. And he sucked his stomach in and flex that so you could see his 6-pack.

    The difference that just that amount of time and care made was dramatic. And he didn’t even go through the nightmare of drinking a bunch of pop and eating a bunch of garbage. 🙂

  6. #6 Sinisa Lazarek
    May 8, 2012

    What I don’t understand with some people, and looking on the net it even gets worse, is their association with weight loss and muscle building (mainly gym). Those two are not in the same category. They never were and should never be.

    Building muscles is one thing, loosing weight is another. In fact, building muscles will increase weight as opposed to loosing weight.

    Therefore the correct regiment for overweight people must be to first loose excess weight, and then build muscle (if they want). For example if you’re 98kg and you want to be 85kg with muscle definition, first thing would be a weight loss regiment for two/three months to get down to 80kg (eating healthy and normal portions), lots of physical activity (not weight lifting! instead, hiking or bicycle riding, swimming etc.). Once you’re happy with your weight and form, ok.. buy a set of dumbells and work the muscle groups you want to build. Your weight will increase, but in the end.. who cares about weight per say, we all want to look good. 🙂

    I get frustrated with people who say they diet this and that and can’t loose weight. Yet their physical activity boils down to taking a dog for a walk, if that. It doesn’t work that way. I remember when I was in the army, we ate everything that a diet person would call “fatty”, but I tracked a minimum of 8km every day. Not running.. just walking, with gear. Plus the usual other “chores” you do there, like getting your whole room with beds and lockers in the yard and back in the room etc. 🙂 With 3 chows a day, I still lost about 20kg in 2 months. It’s just how much physical activity you do. Nowdays when I’m almost 10 hours everyday in front of the computer, I know perfectly well where my 6pack abs went…

  7. #7 OKThen
    May 8, 2012


  8. #8 janvones
    May 8, 2012

    The obvious explanation is that the pumped “after” pictures are taken first and then the athlete goes on a month-long binge and loads up on water during bed rest before taking the “before” picture.

    It’s just like working backwards from your weighed product in chem lab to fudge the mass of your starting reagents. Pick what high percentage yield you like and perfection is guaranteed.

    Taking a ripped athlete off his stride has a much higher success rate than guessing which of thousands will achieve actual stunning results.

  9. #9 Marielaina Perrone DDS
    May 13, 2012

    Nice article.

  10. #10 news article
    February 7, 2013

    Thanks for your post. I have often observed that the majority of people are desperate to lose weight because they wish to appear slim along with attractive. Nevertheless, they do not often realize that there are other benefits for you to losing weight as well. Doctors declare that obese people come across a variety of ailments that can be perfectely attributed to their own excess weight. Fortunately that people who definitely are overweight plus suffering from several diseases can reduce the severity of their own illnesses simply by losing weight. It is possible to see a continuous but marked improvement with health as soon as even a slight amount of weight reduction is obtained.

  11. #11 F. Michael Dedolph
    Meyersdale PA
    June 18, 2013

    Would like to use the image as part of a talk I am giving at the Pacific Northwest Software Quality Conference.

    Not trying to sell any supplements 🙂

    Would that be OK?

  12. #12 Austin J. B.
    Southwest Mo
    November 13, 2013

    Man. Aint yall know, these guys used Anabol. . A type of “legal roids” so the results are all true.. work out every day for 4 weeks and take steroids, you can look like that. But roids make ya weak.. stay natural. Later in life youll be glad you did.

  13. #13 Ruben
    November 27, 2013

    Haha i knew it!, in some cases the difference is just in the six pack, and that can be done easy by eating a bunch of fast food.

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