This Is What Your Body Fat Percentage Really Looks Like

Cutting The Fat

As fitness enthusiasts working out and being healthy is at the top of our list. The human body can be a great machine if you use it right. But as bodybuilders we know that all the fitness in the world won’t give you quite the same satisfaction if you have nothing to “show” for it. If your body fat percentage is too high, your gains are not as satisfying. There are science-backed methods behind fat-loss and we will give you all the tools you need to customize your own fat-burning routine. There is no one way to burn fat and build muscle, especially for bodybuilders.

The big show is a big part of bodybuilding, and if you can’t quite hit that balance between aesthetics and size you’ll always feel incomplete. The main hindrance between most builders and the perfect ratio, is body fat. Fat can be the stubborn veil keeping all your hard earned gains from seeing the light of day.

Causes of an Increase in Body Fat Percentage

When it comes to what is causing you to pack on the pounds, there are a few things that can actually be the root cause of it. They are as follows:

While the first two on the list are no-brainers, the second two are not as talked about as they should be. Stress causes a raise in the hormone called cortisol, which was found to be directly related to more flub around the waist. A supplement such as ashwagandha is believed to decrease cortisol levels.

Testosterone also plays a large role in body fat percentage, as when you have lower levels of testosterone it is found that you have higher levels of body fat, especially in the abdomen area. High body fat levels can also decrease testosterone levels, as fat cells metabolize the hormone more quickly.

What Does Your Body Fat Percentage Look Like?

But how far are you, and what do you have to do to look like the shredded monsters you see on the internet? Losing stubborn belly fat and weight, while retaining muscle is a 24/7 job. It requires you to eat healthier foods in calculated amounts, train hard in the gym, and sleep more than what you’re currently sleeping now. Here’s what you need to know about how to burn fat. We’ve got your complete guide down below.

The problem is that there’s a lot of talk about body fat but very few actually show what this looks like on an actual person. Sure you know what 5% – 10% looks like, this is the range for most fitness models. But what about the not so flattering part? The beginning, before the contract offers start rolling in?

Shredded midriff

5-9% Body Fat

At 5-9 percent body fat, you’re a Greek God. No really, this is the stage where you would probably be sculpted in ancient Roman Times (Michelangelo anyone?). You’re definition and vascularity are awe inspiring as the nooks and crannies of the human muscular system are all on full display.

How to get there

Genetics.” Yes we know that’s want you want to hear so you can start making excuses but the truth is this takes HARD WORK…sorry guys. If you’re at this stage you either get paid to do this or you should. You’ve sacrificed cheat meals, you’re on a strict diet that involves eliminating certain macronutrients, probably low carb, and each meal is planned out. Ice cream? What’s that? The thing is, losing fat is a science with a lot of nuances and therefore we have many different diets.

Sacrifices You Need To Make To Get Shredded

10-15% Body Fat

When you are around the body fat percentage of 10-15, you’ve definitely got a six pack and vascularity to boot. You’ve got vascular arms and you’re pretty ripped, just not as ripped as the creme de’ le creme class above.

How to get there

Adhere to a strict diet, count the calories going in and out of your body, eat clean for most of the week and then once in a while splurge on some wings. Cheat meal? yes. Cheat day? No. This range tends to fluctuate from 9-12 % as they’re not as regimented as the 5% group.

16-20% Body Fat

At the lower end of this body fat percentage range, you’ve got some vascularity and definition in places but your lower abs probably aren’t popping like you want them to. At the higher end of this body fat percentage range, maybe the top top abs are showing but the smaller cuts in the biceps and triceps can’t be seen. You don’t have a “dad bod” but there’s definitely some fat hiding your shape.

How to get to there

Be health conscious by eliminating major no-no’s like fried foods, burgers, simple sugars, but at the same time you’re still able to have a beer with the fellas on weekends. 80-20 rule is probably best depending on your metabolism.

While many builders strive for the lowest body fat possible you have to remember that to a certain degree fat is good. Your body needs at least 3% body fat in order for your organs to function. A good guide of body fat % is key to long term goals. This means most casual builders will probably fall into the 10-20% range to look cut and still feel strong. Ultimately it’s up to you, all 3 ranges can maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Try Intermittent Fasting

One of the diets and eating patterns that has risen in popularity the most in the health and fitness space is intermittent fasting, often abbreviated to IF. We all know that fasting refers to the abstinence from food, but what else does it entail?

There are various protocols that exist for IF. Some of them include alternate day fasting, which is when you simply fast every other day and eat normally during your non-fasting days. Another type of IF that exists is the Warrior Diet, which is when you fast all day and eat all of your allotted calories in one sitting.

Despite all of the different protocols out there, the type that’s most commonly used in bodybuilding and fitness circles is the 16:8 protocol, also known as time-restricted feeding. This is when you fast for 16 hours and then you have an 8 hour “feeding window”, where you consume your daily calorie allotment. Since this is the most popular type of fasting in the bodybuilding and fitness industry, this is what will be referred to when the abbreviation “IF” is used.

But one thing to remember here is that IF is not a type of diet, technically. It is actually a type of eating pattern. The goal is to consume the same number of calories and macronutrients that you would consume if you were following a standard meal schedule. The only aspect of your nutrition that you’re modifying here is meal frequency, not types or quantities of food.

The times that one would have their fasting and feeding windows are completely up to the individual is why this diet has become so popular. It allows people to be able to make mealtimes conform to their schedule, rather than trying to force smaller, more frequent meals, which has been often promoted in the fitness more recently.

This higher meal frequency theory comes from the common misconception that eating more frequent, smaller meals will “speed up” your metabolism, making you burn more calories at rest. This is simply not true. What matters the most about nutrition regarding body composition goals are the total amount of calories that are consumed, not how often you’re eating.

Fat Burners to Decrease Body Fat Percentage

In addition to a well-adjusted diet and fasting period, fat-burners are proven to accelerate the decrease of body fat percentage by enhancing metabolism, reducing cravings, and increasing intra-workout energy.
The best ones even go the extra mile to protect against muscle breakdown and maintain muscle.

National Bodybuilding Co. Strongest Fat Burner is a great supplement for weight loss and optimizing muscle building. A clean, high-quality, and science driven fat burner allows for optimal benefits.

The right fat burner can accelerate metabolism, increase mobilization of stored body fat (to be used as energy), fight against hunger and cravings, reduce muscle breakdown, improve lean body mass and keep you healthy overall.

Although there is no magic pill, most value products that combine high-quality ingredients, natural ingredients and a proven track record. Our list of highly recommended fat burners rate, research and test brands to ensure you only get what’s on the label, and nothing more. Testing for purity, quality, and safety go hand in hand with assuring you have the best possible Fat Burner on hand for cutting fat or improving your physique overall. Even more important is having a third-party test supplements within a lab for individual ingredients that are all-natural, free of synthetics and or additives.

Body Fat Percentage Wrap Up

Overall, you will look and feel different at each body fat percentage. There are plenty of ways to combat too much body fat, and many of them involve adjusting your diet.

What’s more important? Nachos on game night or a deeper V for your waistline? You be the judge.

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Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.