Body Fat Terms | Men | Women
Body fat percentage is thankfully gaining more popularity as an effective marker of overall health and fitness instead of the BMI Index.
While I’ve written extensively about body fat percentage in numerous articles including Ideal Body Fat Percentage Chart, 5 Ways to Measure Body Fat Percentage, and Ideal Body Weight Formula among many others, I’m hoping this article will help tie everything together by creating visual representations of what a given amount of body fat looks like for men and women.
I searched thousands of images in order to create this article. Most of the images I purchased from stock photography websites, but others are in the public domain (at least I hope). If one of these pictures is copyrighted, please let me know and I will list proper attributions, or replace it if need be.
Body Fat Percentage Basics
To best understand the descriptions in this article and how the pictures were chosen, here are some basic body fat percentage terms and concepts that are helpful to learn:
Body Fat Percentage – is the amount of body fat (lb, or kg) divided by total body weight listed as a percentage. For example, a 180lb man with 30lb of body fat has a body fat percentage of 16% (30/180).
Body Fat Distribution – We all have different body fat distributions, or how fat is distributed across our body. For example, some women may have very little body fat on their abs, but a lot on their thighs and triceps, while others will have the opposite. Same thing goes with men, but most men carry fat in their stomachs. I tried my best to show pictures that highlighted the stomach region for men and the hips/thighs/stomach region for women.
Body Shape -Similar to body fat distribution is we all have different body shapes, so two different body shapes may have the same body fat percentage even if they don’t look like it. A classic example is a skinny runway model may have the same body fat percentage as a fit, athletic women.
Age – The pictures in this post assume ages of around 25-35 years old. Most body fat measurement devices will reflect higher body fat levels as the age increases. For example, a 20 year old man and a 50 year old man may have the same subcutaneous body fat measurement (fat under the skin), but the 20 year old may be 15% and the 50 year old will be at 20%. As we age, fat around the organs (visceral) and within muscle (intramuscular) tends to increase and most formulas take this into account.
Muscle Striations – As an individual becomes more defined, the actual muscle can be seen more clearly, which looks like thin rods, referred to as striations.
Vascularity – This is the appearance of veins in different areas of the body as body fat decreases.
Body Fat Pictures Of Men
Men Body Fat Descriptions
Body Fat Percentage Men 3-4%
Bodybuilders can drop as low as 3-4% body fat when preparing for bodybuilding competitions. This body fat level is characterized by extreme vascularity, so that veins are visible over just about every muscle in the body. There is clear separation between muscles, and striations visible on almost every muscle. The buttocks (I’ll spare you a back picture) even has striations, some vascularity, with little fat. If your buttocks doesn’t have any body fat, you’ve got VERY low body fat! Essential fat for a man is around 2%, which is the basic amount of fat a man needs for the body to function (fat protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen).
Body Fat Percentage Men 6-7%
Approximately 6-7% body fat for a man is a bit less extreme than competition bodybuilders, but it’s still hovering at a level that is not sustainable for most men. Around this level, or slightly less, the face becomes gaunt, and your family starts worrying about you. This 6-7% body fat level, which is achieved by many male fitness models when doing photoshoots, is characterized by muscle definition in all muscles and clear vascularity in most muscles including arms, legs, and even abs. Vascularity over the abs muscle is a sign of very low body fat. Clear separation of muscles as well.
Body Fat Percentage Men 10-12%
This is a sustainable level for most men where you should be able to see your abs, but they will likely not be as defined as a man in the 6-7% body fat range. This body fat range is the classic beach body look that most men want and many women love. While not very defined, there is separation between muscles, some muscle striations potentially in the shoulders, or arms, but striations are not showing on every muscle. Vascularity is typically limited to the arms, with a little possibly on the legs.
Body Fat Percentage Men 15%
The 15% body fat level is usually within the “lean and fit” category in most body fat percentage charts. The outlines of muscle can be seen, but there is no clear separation between them. Vascularity is usually a bit more limited as are muscle striations, which are typically covered by a thin layer of fat. The overall shape is still there, which can create an aesthetic appearance despite less muscle definition.
Body Fat Percentage Men 20%
Separation between muscles starts to blur, almost no vascularity, or striations can be seen, typically there is a small stomach pouch of fat, the look is “soft” but not very round. Most guys I come across in NYC are within the 20-25% body fat range. Other parts of the country, or world, that range may be skewed higher or lower. A 5’11”man who weighs 180lb and has 145lb of lean body mass (the average) will have 20% body fat.
Body Fat Percentage Men 25%
There is little to no separation of muscles, no vascularity, or muscle striations, waist begins to increase quite substantially with a waist to hip ratio as high as 0.9 (waist circumference/hip circumference). So a 5’10” man may have a 36+ inch waist. This man may have a little neck fat, but may not look like he has 25% body fat in normal clothing. Over 25% body fat for a man is considered obese, and over a 40 inch waist is considered abdominal obesity.
Body Fat Percentage Men 30%
There is more fat all around the body at the 30% level including waist, back, thighs, and calves. The waist looks larger relative to the hips, and the stomach will likely be protruding over the waist noticeably. There is no muscle separation.
Body Fat Percentage Men 35%
As men get heavier and heavier gaining more fat, most of the fat is funneled right in the stomach. The 35% level is characterized by more significant protrusion of stomach fat over the waist. This is the beer gut kind of look. Waist circumferences can be 40+ inches for a man with 35% body fat.
Body Fat Percentage Men 40%
Similar to the 35% level, even more fat accumulates in the stomach and waist region, so that waist sizes can approach 45 inches, or more. At this level, basic every day activities like walking up stairs, or bending over to pick something up becomes increasingly difficult. This body fat level is approaching morbidly obese, which is characterized by a BMI over 35. To put it in better perspective, a 5’11” man who weighs 270lb and has 160lb of lean body mass has 40% body fat.
Women Body Fat Descriptions
Body Fat Picture Descriptions Of Women
Body Fat Percentage Women 10-12%
This is an extremely low body fat level typically attained by female bodybuilders. Essential fat for women is round 8-10% compared to 2% for men. Why the difference? Women have more fat in breast tissue and the area surrounding the uterus. This level of body fat is not considered safe, or healthy for women who will be unable to menstruate. Striations of muscle, separation between muscles, clear vascularity are all noticeable at this level. The women in the photo is likely at the higher end of the range at 12% body fat because she is not too vascular.
Body Fat Percentage Women 15-17%
This is still considered a very low body fat for women, which is similar to the 6-7% body fat for range men. Many bikini and fitness models will reach this body fat level and some may not be able to menstruate. Muscle definition in the abs, legs, arms, and shoulders is apparent, there is some vascularity and some separation between muscles. Hips, buttocks, and thighs generally have a little less shape because of the low body fat.
Body Fat Percentage Women 20-22%
This is body fat percentage is usually in the “fit” category of most body fat charts and is typical of many female athletes. Some definition in the abs is apparent, there is body fat on the arms and legs, but it’s not too pronounced. There is minimal, but some separation between muscles.
Body Fat Percentage Women 25%
This is on the low end of what’s average for most women and is characterized by a shape that is neither too slim, nor overweight. Curves in the hips are usually more apparent along with more fat in the buttocks and thighs. A 5’4” women who weighs 130lb and has 97lb of lean body mass has 25% body fat.
Body Fat Percentage Women 30%
While most men have fat funnel into their stomachs, as the body fat of most women (but certainly not all) increases, this fat tends to accumulate in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. At 30% body fat, the hips, thighs, and buttocks are more pronounced and round. This is considered the high end of average for women in many body fat charts.
Body Fat Percentage Women 35%
The hips become even wider at this level of body fat and the face and neck will appear rounder and more full. Hip circumference can start approaching 40+ inches and waist circumference of 32+ inches. Some belly fat may start protruding over the waist as well.
Body Fat Percentage Women 40%
The hips and thighs grow larger so that hip circumference can reach 42+ inches, waist of 35 inches, and thighs over 25 inches.
Body Fat Percentage Women 45%
The skin may begin to lose its smooth appearance as more and more fat accumulates. Hip Circumference can may reach 45 inches+ and waist circumference 35+ inches. The hips may become noticeably wider than the shoulders.
Body Fat Percentage Women 50%
The will likely look like it has dimples more fat accumulates. Hip Circumference can may reach 45+ inches and waist circumference 40+ inches and thighs above 30+ inches. The hips will likely be noticeably wider than the shoulders. To put it in better perspective, a 5’4” women who weighs 200lb and has 100lb of lean body mass has 50% body fat.
Given how confusing measuring body fat percentage can be, I hope seeing these body fat percentage photos was helpful!
I’d like to know, are those lower fat percentages tightening their muscles or are they relaxed?
@Thomas – they are definitely flexing at those lower body fat levels (3-4% and 6-7%) and probably “pumped” as well, meaning they did some lifting before the photos were taken. The 10-12% and 15% are likely flexed (but not pumped), but the rest are in my estimation unflexed.
I was going to say — when I used to run cross country in high school I was 8-9 and my goal right now is to hit 10 and stay there. The difference, or the difficulty, with the above 6-7% picture is that guy is a beast. A lot of runners get that low, especially with cross training, lifting, etc, but were never that huge. Picture the rock climber guy on the Clif builder’s bar. Super lean, definitely toned or ripped, but without that bulk. The serious muscularity that the model above has makes it hard to objectively compare with the 15% and 20% pics, and even the 10-12%, though that guy definitely trains.
I live in Denver, too, and in CO you see a lot of leaner people that aren’t man-beef from just living more actively.
Great article as all ways Marc !
As a man, I´d love to be 10-12% level.But looking the chart..I feel that I´m around 20-22 % and just an opinion..women between 10-22 gosh..smashing! But reality is that getting there is so hard,with all the temptations 🙂 Foods that is.
nice to know
Nice article, Marc. Thanks for including pictures of males and females.
What body fat percentage are you at typically?
At which percent body’sfat would one see jaw definition?
What body fat percentage did you get to when you saw a bicep vein?
Do your shoulders look better and defined as bf decreases?
One thing I’m skeptical about before starting built lean is that I might just become a skinny scrawny guy at low body fat as I have no lifting experience. Should I bulk up and then start built lean
@Nic – To answer your questions:
What body fat percentage are you at typically?
Usually around 7-8%
At which percent body fat would one see jaw definition?
Fat underneath the chin should start to subside as a man dips below 20% body fat and heads toward 15% body fat. Everyone is different, but that’s what I’ve seen countless times.
What body fat percentage did you get to when you saw a bicep vein?
This varies a lot for guys, and also depends if you are pumped in the gym. If you are working out, the biceps veins likely come out around 15% body fat, but again, it really varies based on body fat distribution.
Do your shoulders look better and defined as bf decreases?
One thing I’m skeptical about before starting built lean is that I might just become a skinny scrawny guy at low body fat as I have no lifting experience. Should I bulk up and then start built lean?
I understand your concern and I think while valid, it also may be about misperception. A lot of guys who are let’s say 5’10 and have 145lb (pretty average) fear they will get scrawny if they lower body fat. In my opinion, a physique becomes more aesthetic with lower body fat when you can see some muscle definition. You may not have 16 inch arms, but your overall body shape should look impressive at a lower body fat percentage. I wrote about this concept more in this article => Top 3 Reasons To Lose Fat First Before Building Muscle. Ultimately, it’s your call what will work best for you and thanks for your interest in my program.
I’m definitely interested in trying it out and seeing what happens. So in general, you’re saying that a physique with low body fat is more attractive than one with more muscle but also more fat? I don’t know because I’m not involved in the fitness industry but would love to hear your take.
Additionally, how long did it take to go from your before to your after picture on this website (~20% to 6%); was this done by your version of the Built Lean program?
Would someone (theoretically) notice a big change in how their face looks going from 14% BF to around 7-8% BF or have the gains as far as facial appearance been maxed out around 14%?
If it is the case that facial appearance improves at lower body fat levels, then I would most certainly love to join the Built Lean program!
@Nic – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so-to-speak, but generally the western conception of aesthetics would put a premium on a leaner physique for sure. So yes, a leaner physique would be more aesthetic than a larger body with more fat. It took my a few months to go from 20% to 6% and it was done by using principles of the BuiltLean Program, which is better than what I used myself. I took what I did and refined it over many years into what is available to you. I think there would be some change in the amount of fat on the face/neck, but it would not likely be as dramatic as going from say 25% to 15%.
For aesthetics, a lot turn to classical and neoclassical art. Michelangelo’s David, or Adam / God from Creation in the Sistine Chapel. Those physiques are considered the “most attractive” and they exemplify health. 10%ish and muscular but not huge. Agree with Marc below, though. It’s all about who’s looking.
I think in women things have waaay more variance. Some guys like athletes, some like bodacious, and … google “rubenesque”.
Just want to add my thanks for including both men and women. It seems to me that unlike those of men, the pictures of the women in the middle row (ranging from 25-35% body fat) don’t show as much difference among them. Do you think that reflects the general appearance of women or the lower availability of pictures of women with defined ranges of body fat?
@grrljock – I think the photos look quite different, which is why I chose them. I encourage you to check out the description I wrote for each level of body fat, which should add more detail and help you visualize the differences. As I was preparing for this post, I had about 3-5 photos for just about every body fat level I highlighted.
So what do you recommend?10-12% or 6-7%?
@Zalaba – That’s your call! I can tell you that 6-7% is very low and not very sustainable.
Have to say this was a great great article I shared on my Facebook page. The lady at 25% actually looks really good and may be the general population’s idea of a ” hot body”. That surprised me…would have said she was lower in the low 20’s.
Hope you do a follow up article and group more pictures into the various fat categories, so we can see more examples rather than just of each, age groups would also be nice to see..20-30-40-50 year olds at 22 or 25 or 15 body fat. That would be so useful and since you got so many pictures, you can make use of them. Hope you have time and do this.
Great article. Gee, my body fat has been measured all over the place using under water testing, calipers, measurements, handheld machine, body fat scale and so on…I ammtold anywhere from 17-23% that is a huge range and none of the methods agree even when retaken to see if the numbers are the same. Water testing was retaken and came out different each time..so goes to show that isn’t accurate either,
I go by measurements and how I look in pictures now, but it is nice to see visually how different people look at different body fat levels. Thanks again.
@Nimbette – that’s a really interesting suggestion. I’ll keep that in mind.
I have been a reader for some time but it’s my first post. Thank you for posting this. Now I can finally understand what I am at right now and what I want my end goal to be. I’ve already lost 18lbs and gotten better muscle visibility through your nutrition guide and weightlifting.
@Brandon – super happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing.
Hi Marc – With all the body pics, I was wondering what would be the best way to get rid of body hair…. thoughts?
@Raj – I’m definitely not an expert because I don’t have much chest hair at all, but the few most popular options for guys are using a razor to shave it, an electric razor to buzz it, or get it waxes, which I’m guessing is very painful, but that will create the most clean look. If I come across any other methods, I’ll let you know.
Hey Marc, I really want to get my B.F.P around the 21% scale but i have no motivation and a very tight schedule. Help!
@Frida – I recommend reading my free Get Lean Guide and improving your diet. I would argue you could probably get impressive results with only 10-20 minutes of exercise a few times per week as long as your diet is on par. Losing fat doesn’t require a huge amount of time, but it does require a strong willingness to make changes to your diet.
Thanks for another great article. What would cause a man to register at 10%-12% or maybe even less, but look more like the 15% picture. What are some “solutions” to looking like the 10%-12% or less? Hope this makes sense.
@Eric – Changes in water retention and how you look after a workout can make a big difference in how muscular a body looks. I am contemplating updating the article with this information, but I hope people will read the comment section. So if you lose a bit of water weight, you will look leaner, but it’s only temporary. Same thing with getting a pump after a workout.
Do you have any pics of someone at 8-10% body fat for men? I think this is a manageable range that is slightly more disciplined than the Built Lean range. This range should provide very good ab definition and striation and healthy vascularity. I agree that anything under 7% is very difficult to maintain for an extended period of time. Even body builders and fitness models only reduce to these extreme ranges before competition and photo shoots. A similar range pic for women at 18-20% would be great too. Would like to hear your thoughts. Thank you for a great article.
@Jason – I think the 8-10% range is a lean, but sustainable range for guys and I’m personally around 7-8% year round. I didn’t do every body fat level because there would be too may photos, but just wanted to give you a sense of what the body fat ranges look like, so that if you do get down to let’s say 8-9% body fat, you will be able to realize it just by seeing the photos of the 6-7 and 10-12. Thanks for the input.
As an older male, I am interested in reducing my body fat so I don’t have the 40″ waist. I am 59, weigh ~180 at 5’9″.
What exercise regime would you recommend. I have not done any weight training in a year now but am familiar with moderate to advanced training.
@Dan – I’m kind of biased, you can consider my BuiltLean Program and also, check out question #5 in one of our Q&A weekly roundups – Am I Too Old For The BuiltLean Program?.
Would you have those pictures available in posters? I’d like to get several if there are.
@Maryan – That’s a really cool idea, but at this time, they are not available as posters.
Nice Article Marc. This is scary. i think my body fat is more than 45%. i’d try to weight it using my weight scale, unfortunately it read as Error. I’ve lost 4kg after 3 weeks following your Get Lean Guide. I’ve started count my calories, change my eating habits and also doing my regular exercise. Just to let you know that your website has a lot of good and useful information on it to help people get lean and also helping obese people like me. Thank you Marc!
@fizaamani – Thank you for sharing and keep up the good work!
I have a question about body fat.
I’m 5’4 and weigh 107 pounds. I recently had a bone density scan and later on when the doctor was going over the scans with me she said that I had a 31.2% body fat percentage. I haven’t gotten my period in a while, and while she said that my body fat was reasonable, it would be good to increase it a little because it might not be high enough for my body. Based on everything I’ve read, this doesn’t make sense/31 is already pretty high, and it doesn’t really match my bmi. Is this possible?
@Alexa – That doesn’t make much sense to me. At 31.7% body fat at a weight of 107lb, that would mean your lean body mass is only 70lb. That sounds really low to me. Most women who are 5’4” in my experience are close to 85lb+. I would consider getting your body fat measured using the skin fold method and see what the difference is. Regarding not menstruating, that’s outside of my area of expertise and could likely be from a number of different factors. That’s definitely a conversation you should have with your doctor.
I got the guide almost a year ago. Started at 190 and around 25% BF. I’m now at 154 and 15% BF. I want to get to the 10 to 12% range, but not loose anymore weight. I think 154 is about as low as I’m comfortable going. I’m 43 and am body weight training. The nutrition part is difficult, as I work in a remote northern camp, and am subject to eating camp food. I’m careful about what I select, but it certainly isn’t as good as being able to cook for yourself.
In order to get to 10 to 12% BF should I continue to increase cardio work or increase weight training? I’m doing 30 minutes of cardio per day, weight training 3 times per week. I would do the Built Lean program, but I don’t believe the nutrition part would be practical here, and therefore not a fair test or use of the program. Perhaps I’m wrong on that.
Thanks for you site and your facebook page. Great work, great inspiration, and a great resource!
@Dave – Really happy to hear you are enjoying the site. That’s awesome. Regarding your results, are you sure you were at 25% when you started? I ask this because your LBM was 142lb when you started and now it’s 131lb, which implies you lost 11b of muscle. Hopefully that’s not the case. In any event, you did lose a lot of fat as well, which is great. I wouldn’t worry as much about the exercise portion as the nutrition portion. The question of increasing strength vs. cardio will likely make little difference in your results if you are looking to lose more fat (it’s mostly diet), but if you are looking to build some muscle, then I would focus on strength training.
Great article. I register as a 24% but I think I look more like the 30%.
Fantastic article. Great stuff!
Hey marc, is it possible to have a good looking round shoulder above 20% body fat?
@Sam – Think that’s really a subjective question, so depends on what you think is “good looking”.
I’m at 15% and definitely wish I looked like the woman in the picture. I’m starting to see upper abdominal definition, but still have a tummy pouch… how the heck am I supposed to get a flat tummy without my body fat percentage getting “too low”
Been following your principles.
Hope the picture comes out. What would you say I am for bf%. I’m 52 years old.
@Marc – Looking great man! If you were 20, I would say somewhere around 12%, but given the algorithmic change in body fat percentage as you age, probably around 15%. Let’s say 12-13% because the algorithms are not perfect.
I liked this article a lot! I would like to ask your help about a few things…
1: Could I under body fat percentage 8% without diet? (still cut out fastfood, stuff like coke, chocolate and sweets) but without having to watch every single calorie.
2. If I have to diet in order to get abs would it be healthy for my age (13 and 7 months)
3. I estimate to be around 14-15 body fat percentage, but i never took an actual measurement. How long would it take for me to get under 8% body fat?
4. If I diet, will it stunt my growth?
I weight 55kg , and am about 172 cm tall.
After having a look at the pictures again, id be happy with a 10% body fat percentage level, i feel lower than that would be unhealthy for my age.
1: Yes. I do think creating a food journal at least initially is a smart idea to learn more about your eating habits.
2. You should check with your doctor
3. Generally, around 0.5% to 1.0% of total body weight lost in fat per week is standard, so in your case, somewhere around 0.75lb per week until you reach your goal body fat percentage.
4. If I diet, will it stunt my growth? That’s an interesting question. If you don’t get the right vitamins and minerals, it may affect your growth, but you should check with your doctor before starting a new diet.
VERY helpful. Thanks!!
is it true that when you lose body fat (not body weight) your face look in good shape?
i lost 30 lb weight but not sure how many % fat i lost and my face looks the same even after loosing all that weight, so what do i have to do to lose fat from my face? my face is big and round. any help would be nice! i just liked your facebook page and will be looking for more help. thanks.
I’m 5,9″ tall with a weight of 153 pounds. My body fat percentage is between 12-15%. I want to start the BuiltLean Program but worried that after I lose all my body fat I will just look skinny when I have a top on. Do you recommend starting the program now or waiting till I go up to around 170 pounds then start it?
I apperciate your time and would love a response
@Kristian – I know I answered this through our support center already and you purchased the BuiltLean Program, but wanted to answer this for everyone else who is also following and interested in the answer:
“I think this article will provide more information than a short answer could => 3 Reasons to Lose Fat First Before Building Muscle. This is my opinion. Ultimately, you need to figure out what will work best for you.”
Very helpful. “A picture is worth a thousand words”– truly appropriate here. How do I wish myself to the desired level is the only question left to be answered.
Who in the world is that woman in the 15-17% picture, or where did you get it? Dream body right there
hai marc hi i am danish you r doing a good job well done but i need ur help welll my age is 17 years old and i am 95 kg my hight is something around 5.9ft and body fat something 25-30 % and i just want to loose wait and get ripped i just try some gym and leave it after one month so please tell me what should i do should i do some gym workout and how much time should it takes to get 15% body fat and get some muscles for me and what to do to get this body fat please tell me man i seriously need ur help reply fast….
thanks in advance
@Danish – the first step I would recommend is checking out my free Get Lean Guide. Then check out the ideal body weight article, where you can calculate your ideal weight, then assume you can lose 1-2lb of fat per week and that will tell you how long it will take to reach your goal. Finally, consider that losing weight is about changing your habits. That’s what is really key!
thanks for the article and the free e book, I would love to be around 10-17% but looking at your examples, I’m about 25-30…. but when someone outs their mind to something, amazing things can happen!!!
Glad you enjoyed the article and e-book! It’s so true – you can achieve some amazing things when you dedicate yourself to a goal. Keep in mind though – women need more body fat than men. We have a higher amount of essential fat (10-13%), which is necessary for our hormonal balance and fertility. Dropping too much body fat could negatively affect your hormones, fertility, and energy levels. Therefore, we recommend that women aim for a body fat percentage between 17-24%. You might find that you’re really happy with your physique and performance when you reach that mid-range.
-Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor
i participated in a marathon 9 months back and unfortunately stopped working out and going to the gym 5 months back, at which time my weight was 75 Kgs and my body fat percentage was 15% [my height is 6 feet 4 inches]. i just started working out after 5 months, and my body analysis showed that now im 80 kgs and my body fat percentage is 20%. Honestly, i was surprised and shocked. I wonder how difficult it would be for me to get back to my normal 15% fit fat percentage. i was hoping if you could help with it or come up with a quick fix to the damage done!!
You can absolutely get back to your ideal weight and body fat percentage. The keys to accomplishing that will be your nutrition and getting into an exercise routine.
Nutrition has the biggest effect on your weight and body composition. If you want to lose weight and fat, you’ll have to eat a deficit of calories. I recommend keeping that deficit on the small side (about 250-500 calories per day), which helps keep your energy levels high, keeps hunger levels in check, and helps you maintain lean muscle while primarily losing fat. If you cut too many calories, you could experience hunger and cravings, decreased performance, low energy, fat retention, and muscle loss. Track your progress. A good goal is to lose 1-2 lbs per week.
We recommend eating a diet comprised primarily of whole foods, so fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and healthy fats & carbs in moderation. These foods tend to be more nutrient-dense, satiating, and lower in calories than processed and packaged foods. And if you drink alcohol, we recommend reducing your intake to 4 drinks per week or less (or eliminating it all together) while you’re focusing on achieving your physique goals.
While you’re eating at a deficit, doing full body strength workouts at least 3x per week will help you maintain lean muscle while primarily losing fat. We’ve found strength circuits to be the most effective method at building a lean and strong body. If you’re interested in following a workout and nutrition program designed specifically for fat loss, check out the BuiltLean Transformation program. This program takes the guesswork out of exercise and nutrition so that you know exactly what to do and eat each day to reach your goals.
I hope that helps! If you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at [email protected].
-Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor
I say that picture chart is highly inaccurate. I measure at 12.7% body fat but according to that picture chart I look more like the guy at 20% – 25%
Hey Sergio – What measurement method are you using for 12.7% body fat? I think these body fat photos are work well for most people, but they are not perfect for everyone.
I’m down to 14% bodyfat but there is very little muscle definition to my abs, but really better on my arms and legs. What should I do?
That’s a really common question, George. My best advice is to continue to focus on fat loss until you achieve the level muscle definition you want. Different people will achieve a visible 6-pack at different body fat percentages. It’s all dependent on genetics. Your genes determine where your body sheds fat from first, and where you’ll hold on to it longer. There’s not much you can do about that, except continue to lose body fat until you see your abs. For more direction, check out Marc’s article on How to Get Ripped & Cut. He shares some great workout and nutrition strategies to get leaner and more defined. Hope that helps!
-Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor
Ok, I am just beginning and know I probably have body fat percentage at about 50%, but I have this excel spreadsheet template which uses weight/measurements to estimate your lean body weight. This is the calculation it uses: =(([@[Weight (pounds)]]*0.732)+ 8.987)+([@[Wrist (inches)]]/3.14)-([@[Waist (inches)]]*0.157)-([@[Hips (inches)]]*0.249)+([@[Forearm (inches)]]*0.434)
But with my weight and measurements it is putting my lean body weight at 174 and my body fat percentage at 28% with a BMI of 38. Who, what, where, why???? Any insight?
Hi Shannon – how much do you weight and how tall are you?
Hi Marc, I am around 20.7% bodyfat and I can see the muscle definition mostly when I am lifting weights, but I want to get my body fat down to 18% in the next month before I leave for vacation. Is this doable? I have been following a program that has me doing full body workouts 3 x week and cardio (mostly hiit) 3 x week. Just want the extra to get that last little bit off my body to show more definition… I am almost at where I want to be!
Helena, it’s great that you have such a solid base of fitness! Right now, it sounds like you want to lose the last 5 or so pounds of fat before your trip. That’s going to require you to tighten your diet up even more. We have a great article that discusses effective strategies to get ripped, or tone up for vacation or an event. Check it out: https://www.builtlean.com/2011/05/11/how-to-get-ripped-and-cut/. Give those tips a try, and if you need more help getting vacation-ready, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected].
-Kristin, BuiltLean Coach & Managing Editor