The Truth About 10% Body Fat

Image by: woodleywonderworks

By Craig Ballantyne

Time to discuss the truth about body fat. Readers always ask me, “What percent are you?” and “What % are you all year round?”

Well, here’s the answer and the truth will surprise you. I’m 10%. In my opinion, you want to be around there to see your abs.

(NOTE: Because of physiological gender differences, a lean woman with abs is 16% – but will have more fat in the lower region.)

Yep, I’m 10%. Not 8% like many think. After all, I shake my head at guys who tell me they are less than 8% fat all the time. Very, very, very few people are 8% fat. Be skeptical when someone claims they are single-digit fat percentage.

Don’t Get Obsessed

But don’t get obsessed with actual %, because it is hard to measure accurately. If you can’t measure it, just focus on hip & waist measures and progress in before and after photos (take these every 4 weeks).

By the way, I’ve known people to get results with almost every type of program and diet. Your job is simply to find the right diet for your personality and lifestyle and to use a fitness program that you like – so you stay consistent – that has some amount of resistance training.

If you are struggling, then write down your sticking points. In addition, create a baseline set of measurements, including height, weight, and circumferences of the waist, hip, arms, and thighs. Then take a before photo of yourself. These are more important than body fat measurements.

If you insist on knowing your measurement, I truly believe the cheapest and easiest way to find this out is to go to a respected, veteran trainer in your area and ask them to estimate it simply by looking at your belly fat.

Seriously. A great trainer will be just as accurate as those inaccurate hand-held (and expensive scales) that people have in their homes.

Once you’ve done that, consider the data as your baseline. Your next step is to turn your body into one giant experiment. After all, two legends believe self-experimentation and measurement is vital for success.

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“What gets measured gets managed.” – Peter Drucker

So here’s what I want you to do:

The 4-week experiment

Write down everything you eat for the next 4 weeks and record how you feel after you eat these meals. Make the connection between food and mood/energy. Do this short experiment to help you eat better for the rest of your life.

Most training and nutrition experts that I know have been recording their workouts – and often diet – since they started working out. These records are powerful and become the blueprint to helping you lose fat.

Record your diet and workouts, and you’ll learn a LOT about yourself and what works for your fat loss.

[Ed. Note: Craig Ballantyne is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and writes for Men’s Health and Oxygen magazines. His Turbulence Training for Fat Loss program has helped both men and women with weight loss and fat burning. For workouts that will melt belly fat, check out Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training Program.]