What Is My Body Fat %?

Age: 32
Height: 5’10.5”
Weight: 215lb
Goal: 10% body fat, plan on completing in mens physique in 18 weeks.

Based on a caliper I received an average reading of 17.5%. My dexa scan said 32%, and my gym scale said 27%. Not sure how accurate any of these readings are, so I would like some feedback here.

What do you estimate my current body fat% at, and how much do I need to lose to get down to 10%.


The good news, that is plenty of time to cut.

The bad news… nobody knows your BF and everybody here will have their own take including some asking to hold a shoe. My take, you are in the low 20s.


This one is the only accurate one.

32% - 10%(goal) = 22%
22% x 215lbs = 47lbs
You have 47lbs to lose in 18 weeks… get to work.

Relevant Reading (by our resident @Dani_Shugart):


While I think 17.5% is too low, 32% seems too high based on the pictures. Dexa is prone to error as well. I am no expert, but I think the technicians have to set stuff up right. Possible calibration issues. Just some possibilities on where we could see error that is outside of the claimed error of the machine.

Is it possible to have even a little ab outline at 32%? IDK? I guess Eddie Hall comes to mind, but his muscle mass is way outside of normal (I also suspect he has a ton of visceral fat). There is also a bit of separation between the front and side delt.

Just my opinion, but I think OP is sitting around 25% BF. It looks like his body fat distribution is pretty good (not all in the stomach), which makes a higher % look lower.

OP, what does the US Navy BF% calculator put you at?

Be sure to measure neck at narrowest point, waist is at the navel (relaxed, not pushing out or sucking in). I think it is very rare for someone to be more than 5% off with that calculator.

I’d buy it. Hydration is known to affect accuracy in DEXA scans by up to 3% (I suspect it varies a bit more than this based on actual BF% and absolute weight, likely not the case for OP). Calibration could be off, no way to tell.

As a former fatass, I agree with assuming the worst BF% (which was confirmed by the most accurate of the mentioned methods). My reason is that it gets afforementioned fatass up and moving (talking about myself) much moreso than saying “no, no… you’re not fat - you’re fluffy”.
^I do not believe body positivity is a good thing when talking about bodybuilding competitions. OP walks on stage in a state remotely similar to this, he’s going to hope no one has a camera.

Sorry OP, not trying to hurt feelings.

I had a dude who was enlisted with a 19" neck and a beer gut. like a BIG one. he taped out every single time and was easily 30+BF%.

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Another way to look at it is lean mass. Is it believable that those pictures show an individual with only 146.2 lbs of lean mass. FFMI of 20.7.

I’ll say 32 is possible, but I wouldn’t think that number by looking at the pictures. If it is that high, I’d say OP has great body fat genetics. Like he would have a good 6 pack at 20% body fat. I would assume there is a lot of visceral fat as well (because of outlines of abs and ribs), with little subcutaneous fat on the abdomen.

So, if my job depended on it, I could get my neck to be an inch larger (or close to it), and my waist an inch smaller. I think I could do that without the person measuring noticing.

That in combination with the error of the measurement (I think it is claimed to be like +/-3%) makes what you witnessed understandable.

I think this is reasonable.


:joy: no worries, I have a hard time believing I’m over 30%, not sure if I believe in the accuracy of my dexa scan. I do plan on getting a follow up scan at the end of my cut. I’m thinking ~ 25%. The love handles don’t lie.



I don’t think you’re far off and at that point we are talking semantics. I think @mnben87 nailed it that you carry your bodyfat pretty evenly distributed which helps with the look. I’m the same way, I have a thick trunk with hardly any taper but abdominal definition. You and me both need to work on that taper but I don’t plan on getting on stage. So for you, reducing that girth to get a nice shoulder to waist ratio on top of leaning down for stage is key.


I’m curious where you got the DEXA scan done and how long ago it was compared to the pictures. I agree with others that you don’t look like you are 32%, more like mid 20s.

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There is fat all over. I’d put you at 25-30%. Show the dexa results.

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10 days ago at my local hospital. The downside was that no one sat down to review the results with me. The person performing the scan didn’t know how to interpret the results, so they just handed me a print out.

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Added, thanks

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Were you well hydrated for the scan? That can impact results.

Regardless of what your actual percentage body fat is, were I in your shoes I’d pick a relatively easy and repeatable method to measure your progress as you cut. For me that was regular DEXA scans combined with a ~$30 Renpho scale. A lot of folks will say just look in the mirror and use a tape measure and while that is certainly helpful, I can easily deceive myself with what I see in the mirror and am not confident that I don’t fudge my measurements.

I will also say that a legitimate 10% bodyfat measurement is a lofty goal and probably something that will be difficult to maintain year round.

Edit: I say all of this also as a former fatass powerlifter. I never got a DEXA scan done at my highest bodyweight, but had I done so it would have certainly been in the high 20s or low 30s.

Great. It’s distributed as I thought. You look like a lower percent because of how you have it distributed. You can get away with more fat vs a guy that is fat mostly in the middle.

For me, mine is all in the middle. My legs and arms are very lean.


I would say I was normally hydrated as any other day, about 1 gallon the day before and nothing to drink in the morning for about 2 hours before the scan.

I definitely have no intention of staying that lean year round. I typically get up to around 220 in the fall/winter and cut down to 205 in the spring/summer every year. This year I would like to push myself and cut down to 185-190lb and complete in mens physique. It is my first completion, and I don’t know what I will look like 30lb leaner from this point. The goal is to come
in around 10%. The competition is purely a motivator to diet down that low, and placing high is not a priority. After 15 years of training I’m just curious what’s under all this comfortable fat lol…It’s a local NPC show, and it’s all just for fun.

I guess we will see what my follow up dexa scan results are.

Thanks for the feedback.

I agree. I’ll say that this is true for almost everything but BBing. You can’t get away with much fat anywhere. A 6 pack with no leg definition isn’t going to work.

Oh yeah. they will call him out in BBing. I’m thinking about getting away with it on the street.

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This might have skewed your results. You are supposed to fast for about 2 hours before the scan but you should be drinking water. If you did the scan in the morning and you had nothing to drink before it, you were more dehydrated than you should have been.

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An entire gallon of water will amount to approximately a 1% difference on a dexa test. So, yes it can impact results, but not to a significant degree.

I agree with @theinneroh on his assessment of your bodyfat. You store bodyfat pretty uniformly across the body which, in my opinion, is a good thing in general. I think your dexa scan is probably close enough to accurately representing your bodyfat.

As far as bodyfat % numbers go, though, I don’t really put much, if any, stock in them. All that will matter is what you look like on stage. I can tell you that my profile picture is me at somewhere in the 190-195 range, at your height. And I was probably… 10ish lbs away from proper competition bodyfat levels. So hopefully that can give you a guess at how much weight you’ll need to lose to get where you need to be to compete.