T Nation

body fat %

I was wondering about body fat %. I am 6’2 180 pounds. My friend used calipers to test during a lab and arrived at a % of 6.7% I have a sloid 6 pack and neat 8 pack and eat clean. My Kineseology teacher (who claims he was 2% in high school) says this is too low and should be over 10%. I thought if you could see ab definition that you would be around 5. Any body clarify this a bit? thanks

Groove has these mind calipers that you might want to look into. The price is a little steep but it’s so damn accurate, it’s worth it. Just ask the Toque.

Cross, do you have any photos that you can post in the appropriate forum? We might be able to better estimate your percent fat via that route.

As far as questions on the accuracy of the most recent skinfold testing:

  1. How many sites did he assess?
  2. How experienced/skilled was the technician?

As far as ab definition being an indicator of low single digit bodyfat percentage (i.e. 5%), this is false. Different individuals store fat in different places. For example, some individuals can see the sixer in low double-digit fat percentages (i.e. 10-12%).

Now, for your Kinesiology professor (I’m hoping that Kines isn’t your major if you can’t even spell it!:-)), his 2% figure is slightly off, but that’s beside the point. He should know, however, that a male has essential fat stores of 3-4%. Regarding his comments about your fat percentage being too low, he’s right if we’re talking strictly about health. However, as an athlete of aesthetics, attaining and maintaining around 6-7% fat is completely fine, although you may feel like shit.

At your height, current bodyweight, and current estimated fat percentage, I would recommend that you focus on adding lean muscle mass, Cross.

I suggest you go buy a fire retardent suit 'cause man, you are going to get flamed for this post.

Trying to guess someones bf from a pic is hard enough but from a description is impossible.

Do some reading b/c your kin teacher is an idiot. It’s not possible to be only 2% bodyfat. I’m not sure what a given individual could get down to but a general statement could be made that anything less than 4-5% is not possible to remain at for a long period of time. Also, do yourself a favor and read some for your own benefit. If you see abs you could very well be 12% or whatever. It depends where you store fat. Legs? Arms? Back? Love handles? 5% bodyfat means your shredded everywhere, competition level of bodyfat. In addition, a male individual could easily be healthy or very healthy even at bodyfat levels as low as 6%.

2%? Most pro BBers compete at around 2-3% but only are able to hold that low of BF for very short periods of time. Your body will hold about 5% around vital organs thats why it is dangerous/unhealthy to keep a very low BF% for long periods of time. 10% is a good training average to aim for, 6% is a little low to keep year round and would make it extremely hard to put on any large amounts of LBM while maintaining that low of a BF%. But keep in mind most caliper readings are subject to a 3% ± variance but are fairly acc. in showing your change over time when tests are duplicated. ie… a person may really be 10% when they start a diet and caliper readings show them at 7%, and over a 8 wk period caliper reads may show them at 3% when they are really closer to 7% which still shows a 4% change.

Hope that helped, and by they way ask your teacher to show the class a pic of what his 2% looked like.

later Guru X

Take a look at my pics in the Pictures forum. What do you think my bf% is?

I might have body dysmorphia but it is much higher than it appears in the pictures. Lighting, tanning, scenery, body hair… it all plays a major role.

Do not go by the calipers or scale, they are worthless. Go by the mirror and your clothes. Trust me, this comes from lifelong ex 275+ lb fatass who is trying to accomplish something.

Ditch the numbers. I have yet to learn this…

It sounds like your KNES teacher is just pissed off that he’s no longer 2%, if he ever was. There’s nothing wrong, or bad about being 6.2% bodyfat. In fact most people on this board would probably love to be at 6.2%. If you were below 2 or 3% it may be considered a health problem. However, I’ve yet to meet a guy who seriously suffers from being too lean. I mean as long as you can afford to eat and you don’t have an eating disorder, it’s not going to be a problem. So if you’re one of those guys who stays lean without trying to hard, eat a little more and pack on some lean mass. And try not to rub it in too much. :wink:

Your teacher is an idiot. Most competition bodybuilders are 4-5%; he’d probably be dead at 2%.

You can be perfectly healthy at under 10%.

For most people, 12% and under is the cutoff point for beginning to see your abs. This will vary depending on body fat distribution.

As I was corrected in one of my other posts (see brother and I in photo forum) 2% BF is impossible. Additionally, testing body fat percentage is not very accurate. There are many variables and much could be the person that is testing you. However, I do feel that it can help you measure your progress. But make sure when doing so keep as many of the variable constant i.e. person testing, time of day, sites used, etc.

Can’t tell you what your body fat percentage is without doing the measurements myself, but you’ll be fine.

As for your kinesiology prof, he’s wrong in this area. He may know a lot of other stuff, but just didn’t hit the nail on the head with this one.

You should start to see abs around 12 in most people. Mine come out nice at 10. Anything less that 8-9 is for a purpose generally. ie contest. I doubt your teacher was 2% for long. That is a dangerous level. He’d have to be a rediculous ecto.

Here’s one for you: Who cares!

Why do people obsess over numbers? If you look lean, isn’t that all you really want?

I’m with Ike on this one.

HAHA…I agree with Ike on this one. But then again, I am at 7.765% BF and I really want to get down to 6.539%…what is the best way to do that?

For me I can see my abs anywhere under 10 %, and being able to maintain low body fat has to do mainly with your body type and obviously diet. I’m 5’10 and now 172 lbs, and my bodyfat is probably somewhere around 6-7. I got it tested with calipers at my school and went from 8.9% to 4.2% in a little over a month with ECA. And honestly, I had no idea that it had gotten so low. I cant gauge my bf because I see myself everyday so I never see a drastic improvement. And I probably could have stayed around 5% if i wanted, but now I am trying to bulk up and have to eat constatantly. It all has to do with your body type, diet, and just how much excercise you do daily. I would just tell you to quit worrying about the percentage, and just worry about overall size and the way you look. Because like everyone says, thats all that really counts.

Tony the Tiger…LOL, baby! You might consider cutting back on the Frosted Flakes, though:-)

Ike and Machinery, I’ve echoed these same sentiments earlier. Actually, in the same thread that Cravell mentioned earlier (his on the photo thread).

We’re told not to go by numbers on the scale, and subsequently instructed that body fat percentage is what we should be most concerned with, as it’s the true measure of progress. Actually, the true measure of progress is…

How much ass you’re getting.

A buddy of mine, who is ripped, went to get his BF% and the trainer did a 7 site test and then punched the numbers into a computer program and take a guess at what the body fat was?

a) 5.4%
b) 2.3%
c) - 2%

Ok i’m sure u guessed c and u’d be right! How fucked is that? But you know what the best part was? My buddy actually believed it!

Know what the sad part is? He still does!