T Nation

Low Bodyfat% On Extremely Skinny Guy

So I just joined this boxing club at my university. (I’m no boxer, but am down for new things and now I love it.)

After training one day, some guys got onto the discussion of bodyfat. My coach said he was at one time at 6%. I was like wow, because that’s a really low. He then he said, “well I’m probably around ten or so now.” Now this guy is about 5’6" or 5’7" and weighs 200lbs, 40 years old. He has sort of a powerlifters’ build. He is an amazing boxer, and has boxed for prolly 20+ years. He has a gut, but his abs are so strong that when he is pumped you can see a little definition.

So while I am thinking to myself this guy has got to be a little more than 10, probably more like >15-20, this other guy who is probably 5’10 and can’t be more than 145-155lbs says he is at 5%. My draw drops. I shut up, cause I didn’t really feel like getting into a discussion. (I was ready to go eat.)

My thoughts are that this is pretty much bullshit. Good guy, but doesn’t know what he is talking about. Without considerable mass, your body most likely won’t get that low. Right? I mean, this guy is SKINNY.

Then there’s the coach. He is built like a short little hoss. But as a boxer, his muscles don’t have the development of a weightlifter. With his short on, he has a gut. But, when he takes his shirt off, he is solid, chest and abs. Plus, this guy has strength and endurance like no one I’ve met. He can WAAAY outperform and outlast all of us guys who are all around 20. Of course, we’re all beginners :slight_smile:

I am thinking this guy more than 10%. He is 200lbs and only is 5’6.

What do you guys think? Do powerlifters have low bodyfat without looking like it? Thoughts?

bump.

No thoughts?

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
… this other guy who is probably 5’10 and can’t be more than 145-155lbs says he is at 5%. My draw drops. I shut up, cause I didn’t really feel like getting into a discussion. (I was ready to go eat.)

My thoughts are that this is pretty much bullshit. Good guy, but doesn’t know what he is talking about. Without considerable mass, your body most likely won’t get that low. Right? I mean, this guy is SKINNY.
[/quote]

I think that’s pretty common among ectomorphic body types, in fact that’s one of the traits, low bodyfat.

[quote]TravisCS84 wrote:
Without considerable mass, your body most likely won’t get that low. Right? I mean, this guy is SKINNY.
[/quote]

Sure you can have extremely low BF% and have little muscle. look at Lance Armstrong who is 4% BF during his peak performance. look at any elite endurance athlete, they are all under 6% BF with little muscle.

My friend last year told me his body fat percentage was .3% in high school. I told him he was wrong and that is physically impossible. Then he told me he did cross country and swam all the time.

He told me he measured it using a water displacement thingy.

I told him he was retarded and he made up some number.

The moral of the story is…

my friend has no clue what he is talking about and neither do your training buddies.

Touche Hawkson.

hey, if they think that then they think that.

in my head i am 8%, and look like brad pitt. my girlfriend in ms jolie and i drive a proker (porshce).

You can have a lot of muscle mass and have a low bf %. That’s not what this is about. Listen, 99% of the people that work out will tell you they have single digit bf% when they are usually 6-7% higher than they estimate (that’s including the people on this board). Almost everyone says their a lower bf% than they really are. Most have no clue. This subject is a real pet peeve of mine. Everyone thinks they’re 8-10% bf. I have had guys that lift and have pronounced guts tell me their like 10% bf. It’s laughable.

Not to brag, but I hover at about 6-7% without even trying. Alot of people just getting into the game cant believe that bf% can be gotten to go that low, but seriously, it can. In high school during wrestling season I was at 2-3% at 143,and thats wihout the puking and other extreme measures. With years of training and learning how to manipulate all of the factors that contribute to performance, a low bf% is completely attainable. One of the keys that may give people a head start besides genetics is just never having gotten fat in the firts place.
As for the swimmer at three tenths of a percent, he may be having problems with moving the decimal point.
All this talk about calling bullshit on these guys and blaming genetics sounds like the pussies way out to me. Don’t engage in self sabotage. In fact, other than admiration and training tips, you shouldn’t even be concerned with what others are doing. While you call bullshit and blame genes, these guys are getting leaner and you are getting fat and weak!

Check out his abs, really. Does he have a 6 pack? Or just have him flex his biceps muscle and see if you can see his muscle fibers under his skin.

My brother in law is skinny as hell, and I would place him at about 7 to 8% easy. He is naturally lean, and can ride his bike for hours on end. Or at least he used to before he joined the Navy.

My forearm is bigger then his biceps measurement, and at 6 feet, if I remember right, he weighed in at something like 145.

Now most people do not have the slightest idea what their BF% is, and for them to even guess is ludicrous.

Oh yeah, I should mention that my brother in law used to have an overactive thyroid he had operated on.

p.s. the highschool wrestling was fifteen years ago, so maybee I’m getting a little fat in my old age.I’ll be 33 in May.

why do people lie about their bodyfat %? Is this some ego thing b/c I dont get it.

Strong men tend to NOT have a very low bf% and I strive to be a strong man.

Dude low BF in strongman can be good, less weight to carry around so you are faster.

I mean look at Pudz, is the LOW BF making him weak…

he’s prolly 10% ,maybe lower cause he has very visible abs.

It’s easily possible to get a low body fat percentage and be skinny. All it is is the number that calculates what % of your body is fat as opposed to skeletal muscle, bone or water.

My brother is a really skinny guy. He was tested at 4% body fat.

He doesn’t even workout. And he eats nothing but junk. Just his metabolism is super fast. ANd he takes like 8 shits a day haha.

At least, I recall when we lived together as younger siblings, he was always in the can pinching a loaf.

It’s also a matter of where you store fat. I have a friend who has really visible abs and so on, but for some reason he stores a lot of fat in the gluteus maximus, leg area. Sometimes his percentage clocks in higher than those with less visible abs.
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I get visible abs at 12%bf

I have no visible abs at 10%. I start to see a hint of the top two.

Some of it depends on where your body stores fat.

This will always be the case, the typical person does not understand what it takes to have such a low bodyfat percentage, for a male essential (bare minimum) bodyfat is 3-4%, for 99% of the population your diet, training, and lifestyle need to be near dead on to achieve such levels.

[quote]mindeffer01 wrote:
Not to brag, but I hover at about 6-7% without even trying. Alot of people just getting into the game cant believe that bf% can be gotten to go that low, but seriously, it can. In high school during wrestling season I was at 2-3% at 143,and thats wihout the puking and other extreme measures. With years of training and learning how to manipulate all of the factors that contribute to performance, a low bf% is completely attainable. One of the keys that may give people a head start besides genetics is just never having gotten fat in the firts place.
As for the swimmer at three tenths of a percent, he may be having problems with moving the decimal point.
All this talk about calling bullshit on these guys and blaming genetics sounds like the pussies way out to me. Don’t engage in self sabotage. In fact, other than admiration and training tips, you shouldn’t even be concerned with what others are doing. While you call bullshit and blame genes, these guys are getting leaner and you are getting fat and weak!

[/quote]

Case in point to my post above. So basically you got so ripped that all you had was the essential fat around your spinal cord, heart, and vital organs that is necessary to sustain your life? Considering that a male will have at a MINIMUM of 2-3% bf just from essential fat surrounding your organs. Forgive me for doubting your high school bf estimates. And how did you verify these numbers: from a caliper test? The ones that have an error rate of + or - 4%. Did you get a hydrostatic test cross-referenced with a DEXA test?

I’m sure you were 2-3% bf in your own mind. Were you very lean? Sure I believe that. Maybe 5-6%. Were you 2-3%? Highly doubt it.

mindeffer, considering 3% is essential for the body, and that nobody ever attains a bodyfat % that low, I have to side with Randman.

And its not because I’m a “pussy” or jealsous; I think you were missing the point of the discussion.

I always thought that there had to be a certain level of muscle for the body to allow that much fat to burn off. The human body is made to take priority of fat over muscle. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m not.

Another thing, I have to agree with Randman, that a lot of people misperceive themselves to be super low. At 6% percent, you should be seeing fibers and striations. Below 6%, I better be able to see striations on your ass.