What is a good bodyfat % for a mixed martial artist? Is there a point when it can be too low for impact sports?? If so what is that point?
Scrappy: I don’t know if there really is an “ideal” percentage. It most likely will be that level at which you “feel” the lightest, quickest AND most powerful.
On a side note: wouldn’t it be GREAT to know what Bruce Lee tended to run? I would GUESS in the 5-6% range (keeping in mind that about 3% is considered “essential”). Just a thought.
I agree with Mufasa for the most part. I’m not to familiar with Martial Arts; are there weight classes at all? Anyways, I don’t think that you can go to low. Your body will hold on to the fat it needs around the organs and such, but it is really going to depend on how you feel. If your already in mid single digits, I don’t think that going any lower will help you physiologically. The stress of trying to get too much lower will only take away from strength and endurance.
I wouldn’t recommend anything lower than 10%. I know it doesn’t look as good but that extra fat means two things. 1) You’re eating enough to maintain energy levels for both training and competition. 2) That fat absorbs and disipates impact. This isn’t sprinting where any weight that doesn’t add power is a disadvantage, in MA/MMA ANY extra weight will increase power.
I wanted to second what Mufasa said. When I was at an Ian King seminar, I asked him if he specifically trained athletes to lose fat, and he said, “No.” He just trains them for performance and feed them well. In most cases, the fat comes off, but if it doesn’t, he doesn’t make it an issue. His quote was, “If he is still a fatty, that’s fine. Fatties win gold medals at the Olympics all the time.”
As a mixed martial artist, you yourself will note that even amongst the top fighters themselves, there is a variable range of bodyfat from the ultra lean, to, well…what do you think about Tank Abbott?! I think he did quite well. Reading the posts here, I would tend to agree that ~8 to 10% is probably quite ideal for martial arts, optimal health, “shock absorption”, etc.
I also do martial arts and I keep around 9 to 11% (partly due to laziness mind you) to “feel good” and still “kinda sorta” see my abs!