T Nation

How low can you go?


How low can someone's Body Fat % physically go? Naturally or with the use of drugs. I am aware that there is no 100% accurate method of knowing. Just a question. I'm wondering what you guy's think/know.

Any Dr.'s?


Since you asked for a doctor you get me.

I have no idea. Most of my patients are fat, not lean. I can tell you about how high they can go.


He's a doctor in Malaysia. What the hell does he know? The Northwest Territories, now we have some fine medical professionals up here.


This post must have been triggered by my comments on your picture.

The point was not to offend. It's a point I've wanted to make for some time now. I just happened to make the comment to you. And that point is that people tend to grossly underestimate their bodyfat percentage. I'm sure you've seen pictures of bodybuilders much leaner than yourself. What would you estimate their bodyfat percentage to be?

I recently prepped two guys for a recent show and both were very vascular, full abs, cross striated quads, a few weeks out and yet STILL had to drop more weight to be completely shredded.

I'm sure your 'nutritionist' did measure you at 5%. That doesn?t mean you were 5%. There is a good amount of possible error in both method, and the predictive equations themselves.

In the end, your percentage doesn't matter. The fact that you?re in shape does ? right?


But percentage does kind of matter if you're basing your dietary intake on it, right? That's actually why I've always wondered if the diets that do that aren't simply putting too fine a point on things.


Very true, it doesn't matter what BF% your at as long as your in shape.

As well I've noticed that there are a lot of people in this forum who admit that they are guessing at their own BF% (which I think is pretty useless). Pay the $15 and get your body comp done. I know that it's more accuate than guessing.

I've been told that some men have been able to get below 3% with drugs, but I guess that's just hearsay?

Any other thoughts?


Bruce Lee was said to be at 1.5% at one time..........it did come out later that he was not all natural.


Atheletes rarely break ~6% (men) or ~11% (women), so I'd think that's the lower limit for the average Joe/Julie to reach and still be functionable and agreeable in everyday? But I'm no doctor.


I've come across a few places saying 3% for men and 9% for women. They say this is the lowest because it is essential fat that is impossible to shed. But Cas says shes like at 8% or something so I'm not totally sure on this one.


8% on a woman's predictive equation is about 3% on a man's predictive equation, given the same sknifold measurements ... and 3% would be crazy.



I just fiddled with the Jackson-Pollock 7-site equation. To be 8% on a woman's equation you'd have to have a skinfold total of 29mm over 7 sites ... or pretty much 4mm per site. That would be a 25 year old woman at 7.9%. Switch those skinfolds over to the male equation and you get 2.9%.

I don't think so.