T Nation

18% BF -> 10% Realistic Goal?


Hey guys, this is my first time posting to T-Nation, but I have been an avid read for over a year and a half. Well here goes...

Right now, I am currently 5'8.5'. I weigha 200lbs in the morning on an empty stomach. I have been told through caliper testing I am at 18% body fat. I want to know if I am interpreting the data correctly. This basically means that I am carrying 36lbs of body fat (200lbs x .18[18%])?

So if this assumption is correct and I want to diet and train down to 10% BF, I would have to lose 16lbs of fat (200lbs x .08 = 16). Is this a correct assumption? I only ask because I am planning to go to Cancun for spring break in March so roughly have 5.5 Months to lose 16Lbs of fat if I am interpreting the data correctly. Essentially, I'll have to lose 16/5.5 = 3Lbs/ monthly roughly.

Is this accurate? It seems very very feasible to make this body composition change, but only if I am understanding the science correctly. Let me know guys, thanks!


Well, the ratio changes as you get lighter. If you lose 16 pounds of fat you'll be at 184. You'll still have 20 pounds of fat which would put you at close to 11%, which is close but not quite 10%. If I were you I would just drop the fat until I acheived the look I was aiming for. If you have over 5 months, that is PLENTY of time to lose enough.


I didn't consider that the ratio changes, good call. I agree that it seems pretty feasible to lose 16-20lbs of fat in 5 months simultaneously training and dieting with just enough cardio, but not at the expense of lean muscle loss.


If you have five months, I really don't think you'd even have to diet all that hard to reach that goal. This is where I'd use something like Berardi's "Don't Diet" approach. No need to go all crazy since you have plenty of time.

Maybe as you get closer to March and you realize that you need to lose a little more, you can do a harder diet for a month.

Otherwise, just train hard and clean up your diet. Maybe slightly increase your overall activity level.


You could probably pull that off in a few weeks, so yes it's easily attainable in 5 months.


So my interpretation is right in that if I want to lose 8% fat more or less is about 16lbs? BTW chitown your profile image is boss haha


yeah I totally agree... Im a little surprised you (the OP) thought it would take 5 months plus of dieting to reach 10% BF. Since you have all that time you will not need to get too drastic at all with your strategy.


Well to be honest, I've lifted for a decent amoutn of time (3+ years) but never aimed to be ripped or even close to it. I always liked bulking and lifting for strength/power. This is the first time I've ever made a serious attempt to lean out.


I hate to be the one that shits all over everything..but you probably have more than 20 pounds to lose. When you lose fat, you're also losing water and some glycogen along with it.

Since this counts as "lean mass", you'll need to lose probably something like 30 pounds to hit 10%. It's still MORE than doable in 5 months, but it's not as easy.

Wasn't there a physique clinic guy who was a little like that. He had to lose way more weight than he thought


I was waiting for someone to have the dissenting opinion! lol. Actually though, I was 216 June 2008 and lost 16lbs since then to get to 200.

However, I got stronger as I lost the weight so I did it right. I think I lost alot of water weight/some fat then so now I think it's a straight shot, hopefully lol.


I calculate it as 17.777 lbs of fat to lose.

I probably didn't do it the simplest way, but the calculation was (200 x .82) to get your lean body mass, and if you want 10% fat then 164 will be 90% of you weight so the left over fat is 18.222 lbs. Your current fat minus the fat you'll have left, 36-18.222, is what you need to lose, thus 17.777.

Unrelatedly, shookers's comment explains to me why my bf% went up after a two week diet last summer. I thought that the person who did it must have messed up, but I hadn't considered the effect of the drop of water and glycogen.


You can easily lose 16 lbs in 5 months or whatever. However, the challenge will be you will need to simultaneously gain 16 lbs of muscle if you want to stay at 200 lbs. Losing 16 lbs and getting to 184, requires hard work but very doable (indeed doable in 2 months if you work hard). Losing 16 lbs of fat, gaining 16 lbs of lean mass and being 10% BF at 200 lbs, much harder and probably not doable in 5 months especially if you have already been training for a while.


Totally realistic goal however you may not look the way you want at 10%. You may want to go lower.


I went to be 10% BF at 184 or possibly 8% at 180. I'm not trying to stay at 200 w/ 8-10% BF. Gaining 16 lbs of muscle mass in 5 months is pretty damn hard unless I'm doing gear.