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Fitness Standards: How Fat is “Fat?”

nicksaiz65

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Yo guys. Beach season is coming up, it’s time to start getting ready for it. I’m smack dab in the middle of my cut. It’s going well. At this point last year, I estimate that I was in the high 20s to low 30s in BF%. Chubby af lol.

Now, my estimated BF% is 23-24%. I’m going to continue this diet for a couple more months, and then take my pics before I do something of a maintenance phase.

When it comes to fitness, I’m absolutely a numbers guy. I love numbers. I think it’s the best way for you to measure your fitness and bodybuilding progress. I wanted to know, using BF%, what is the point where I can no longer consider myself “fat” or “chubby?”

I’m personally thinking it’s once you drop below 20%. That is also considered a “normal, healthy” range. But I’d like to hear a hard number from you all as well so that I can set a goal appropriately.

Once I hit the threshold of “not fat,” then I can really focus on aesthetics. And then I can take my time getting there, instead of having to be so aggressive with my cut.

I’ve also attached an Athlean-X Bodyfat chart.

So, I’d love to know what you all think. What is the hard BF% number to be considered not “fat?”

 

DonJuanjr

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16-19 percent. Though if you were as high as in the 30s, then you have to account for the excess skin. You can be lean, but still have the excess skin that will not be flattering. For some, surgery is the only way. Unless you want to jump on tren and dnp. Dnp can be dangerous...
 

nicksaiz65

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16-19 percent. Though if you were as high as in the 30s, then you have to account for the excess skin. You can be lean, but still have the excess skin that will not be flattering. For some, surgery is the only way. Unless you want to jump on tren and dnp. Dnp can be dangerous...
Ah, I thought as much.

So my first step is getting to/below 19% by summertime, then taking my (highly flexed) pics for Instagram this year lol. If I can get lower, I’ll do it. But I at least want to be 19% by early July. I’m doing a quite aggressive cut.

After I maintain some, I’ll cut down again to 15-16%. Then I can alternate bulks and cuts within that range, building my strength, never going above 19%. I can cut further each time, letting my Bodyfat slowly creep down each time until I reach that coveted 10%.

I’d never consider hopping on the Juicy Juice until I can squat 315, bench 225, and deadlift 400. I’ve squatted 315 with a belt and benched 225, both for reps, but I’ve NEVER done a 400 lb deadlift. Not even for a one rep max. My deadlift was always atrocious for some reason. Maybe it’s because I did Stronglifts 5x5 and you don’t deadlift much on that program.

Just getting these thoughts out in the open. Appreciate you confirming.
 
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DonJuanjr

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If you start at 23%, you should be able to reach 19% by July. After gaining a lot of fat on my last bulk, I got up to 21%. I dropped down to 15% in three months.
 

nicksaiz65

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If you start at 23%, you should be able to reach 19% by July. After gaining a lot of fat on my last bulk, I got up to 21%. I dropped down to 15% in three months.
That’s another advantage to doing an aggressive cut instead of using these teeny tiny deficits.

If you go a bit overboard with your bulk, it’s easier and quicker to get it back under control. Well, “easy” in quotation marks because cutting is always a bytch:rofl:

IF is the only way to make it tolerable I’ve found lol
 

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FlexpertHamilton

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To me the only acceptable level of body fat is where you can visibly see your abs, doesn't have to be super defined 6pack but just having some definition and a relatively flat area. A flabby/jiggly torso is a terrible, terrible look for guys.

I also go off waist size. 30-31 waist is ideal. If you need to wear a 32 or 34+ size pants, you need to lose weight.

I really don't see the point in getting your BF % measured, same goes for weight. A visual examination is all you need to go off of.
 

nicksaiz65

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To me the only acceptable level of body fat is where you can visibly see your abs, doesn't have to be super defined 6pack but just having some definition and a relatively flat area. A flabby/jiggly torso is a terrible, terrible look for guys.

I also go off waist size. 30-31 waist is ideal. If you need to wear a 32 or 34+ size pants, you need to lose weight.

I really don't see the point in getting your BF % measured, same goes for weight. A visual examination is all you need to go off of.
I find for me, using concrete numbers is a lot better than the visual eye test lol.

Even if the test you use to measure your Bodyfat isn’t perfect, it’s consistently inconsistent so you can use it as a measuring stick. The most accurate way is to get a DEXA, probably. But I’m using BIA cause getting a DEXA is inconvenient lol.

I like using the test because numbers won’t lie to me. But the mirror will. One day I look fat in the mirror, the next day I don’t haha.

Using a test like BIA gives me the peace of mind so that I know I’m at a good spot(i.e. not fat lol.)
 
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DonJuanjr

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Even if the test you use to measure your Bodyfat isn’t perfect, it’s consistently inconsistent so you can use it as a measuring stick.
Exactly. Calipers are good enough. Even if they're not accurate, they're still consistently inaccurate. No matter what, I dropped 7% bf during my cut. Scale, calipers, and tape are all you need. Weigh yourself everyday and log it. You'll notice a consistent progression even though it fluctuates daily.
 

nicksaiz65

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Exactly. Calipers are good enough. Even if they're not accurate, they're still consistently inaccurate. No matter what, I dropped 7% bf during my cut. Scale, calipers, and tape are all you need. Weigh yourself everyday and log it. You'll notice a consistent progression even though it fluctuates daily.
That’s exactly the way to think about it. I never understood why so many people in the fitness space freak out about BF% tests being bang on.
 

svencandy

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You probably too fat. 15% seems to be the upper limit for various reasons. Not just outside but also proper functioning of body and internal systems. Chicken or egg could debate that for years.

What worked for me was loads of potatoes, and protein either from milk, good quality beef or seafood. Knock protein down to 100grams a day and use potatoes and spices to make you full, don't train anywhere near failure, save that for a bodybuildinf cycle, which you shouldnt attempt until you reach 10%.

Just IMO, YMMV
 

nicksaiz65

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You probably too fat. 15% seems to be the upper limit for various reasons. Not just outside but also proper functioning of body and internal systems. Chicken or egg could debate that for years.

What worked for me was loads of potatoes, and protein either from milk, good quality beef or seafood. Knock protein down to 100grams a day and use potatoes and spices to make you full, don't train anywhere near failure, save that for a bodybuildinf cycle, which you shouldnt attempt until you reach 10%.

Just IMO, YMMV
I totally agree with the protein. I’ve never seen much of a benefit going above 100 G a day. Whenever I tried to go much above that, it just made the diet more expensive, less tasty/more miserable, and impossible to adhere to.

If you’re trying to hit 200 G of protein a day, you have to eat super “clean” or you’ll go over your calories for sure. If you end up going to a school/corporate lunch, or your friend orders a pizza: basically if anything unexpected comes up: you’re screwed and you’re not hitting your macros for that day. You have to eat 95% protein foods, and you might be able to sneak in a cookie at the end of the day.
 

Chuck Taylor

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I totally agree with the protein. I’ve never seen much of a benefit going above 100 G a day. Whenever I tried to go much above that, it just made the diet more expensive, less tasty/more miserable, and impossible to adhere to.

If you’re trying to hit 200 G of protein a day, you have to eat super “clean” or you’ll go over your calories for sure. If you end up going to a school/corporate lunch, or your friend orders a pizza: basically if anything unexpected comes up: you’re screwed and you’re not hitting your macros for that day. You have to eat 95% protein foods, and you might be able to sneak in a cookie at the end of the day.
If you want a good recommendation to spice up things like chicken and seafood, I highly recommend this.

5fa26223-0b79-439e-bab0-df884219fd4c.9d42adecd1905e06190c4c46c9d81aa5.jpeg
 

nicksaiz65

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If you want a good recommendation to spice up things like chicken and seafood, I highly recommend this.

View attachment 8305
I’ll have to give this a shot. I’m going to the store today so I’ll see if they have it. Currently on a fast though so it could be a couple days before I try it out…

Creole seasoning has been doing me well though, so if it’s anything like that I’m sure I’ll enjoy it.

I cook all my chicken breast in the Air Fryer. I dip it in either Fat Free Ranch, Low Calorie Honey Mustard, or Heinz 57.
 

Kotaix

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Something else to monitor is your resting heart rate and BP. If you can get it under 60 bpm and 120/80 then you can consider yourself to be in good cardio condition.
 

nicksaiz65

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Something else to monitor is your resting heart rate and BP. If you can get it under 60 bpm and 120/80 then you can consider yourself to be in good cardio condition.
How are you tracking your RHR? An Apple Watch, or something similar?
 

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DonJuanjr

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I totally agree with the protein. I’ve never seen much of a benefit going above 100 G a day. Whenever I tried to go much above that, it just made the diet more expensive, less tasty/more miserable, and impossible to adhere to.

If you’re trying to hit 200 G of protein a day, you have to eat super “clean” or you’ll go over your calories for sure. If you end up going to a school/corporate lunch, or your friend orders a pizza: basically if anything unexpected comes up: you’re screwed and you’re not hitting your macros for that day. You have to eat 95% protein foods, and you might be able to sneak in a cookie at the end of the day.
Bodybuilding takes discipline. Guys will look down on "meatheads" but don't realize that most will never have the discipline to look like that.
 

nicksaiz65

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Bodybuilding takes discipline. Guys will look down on "meatheads" but don't realize that most will never have the discipline to look like that.
I could never stick to a program where you’re eating 5-6x a day and basically all you can eat is protein lol.

I’ve seen great results from Intermittent Fasting with some Extended Fasts thrown in, and eating around 100-120 G of protein a day.
 

DonJuanjr

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I could never stick to a program where you’re eating 5-6x a day and basically all you can eat is protein lol.

I’ve seen great results from Intermittent Fasting with some Extended Fasts thrown in, and eating around 100-120 G of protein a day.
My last protein intake is just drinking a cup of egg whites and a yogurt. 100-120g of protein will only take your muscle gain so far. Then you will plateau. Not that getting big is your goal, but when your progress stops. That will be part of the reason why.
 
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