T Nation

Bodyfat %

I’m planning to compete in my first bodybuilding contest in Sept. 2002. I was wondering, for an ALL natural bodybuilding competitor, what percentage bodyfat can he realistically be at to show the greatest amount of mascularity and cuts? What’s the average bodyfat% natural bodybuilders usually enter contests at? Any feedback will be appreciated. Thanks. BigJ

First of all: Have you checked out a few shows? If there is one coming up before your show, I would go and ask questions to the competitors in the audience.

Okay, as for BF%. I know you see alot of us spewing out our BF% - but alot of these other people are not competitors. For a BB competition, it's all about How You Look. The judges don't run up on stage with calipers to see who's the lowest or who's got too much.

You should be using the mirror to gauge your progress. That is the most important tool for a competitive bb at about 8-wks out to the show. I've said in a previous thread that I've seen women backstage saying they were around 5%, but man, while yes, they looked ripped, they were FLAT. FLAT does not win you shows, being full, hard and cut does. I do know I like to begin about 10-weeks out from a show at 8%. After that, I use the mirror. I use the mirror under a variety of light sources (natural, whatever's in the gym, bright flourescent, etc), to get a good idea where I'm at.

I hope this helped. And where's this show at?

You really should go check out a show or two. It is not the % of bodyfat that wins a show (although it does play a part). It’s really a matter of timing with your training/nutrition. If you go in there looking flat and weak, you’re dead meat regardless of your bodyfat %.
Posing routine, color, muscle fullness/hardness, etc… They are all important factors.
Good luck in your show (and have fun).