Have you ever wondered what percentage of body fat you need to be at to see your abs? If you are into fitness, or have ever cut weight to achieve your best look, then you have likely pondered this question. And although this number and exact percentage is different for everyone, there are some good general guides to get you close. This article will cover those.
As a general rule, 10% body fat for men (14-17% for women) is the key number to really show your abs. You will start to see the definition of your abs before you get down to 10%. However, to really see the definition of your 6-pack, then 10% is your best target number.
Getting to 10% is simple, but it’s not easy. And always keep in mind that most of the work and heavy lifting is done in the kitchen, not in the gym.
Many people have the opposite perception of this important fact. You can do ab work and core work every day for hours, but if your diet is full of fat and unhealthy foods, then it’s a nearly impossible journey to get to 10%
The Fundamentals of Getting to 10% Body Fat
Reality is, to cut weight and get to 10% body fat you simply must lose excess fat on your frame.
And the most effective way to do this is to consume less calories than you burn over a given period of time. And that period of time of course depends on your starting point.
If your body fat percentage is 25% or higher, then that is defined as obesity. So the journey will take longer but it’s still totally achievable. Whereas if your body fat is 15%, then you are very close to your target and it will not take as long.
However, if you have ever cut weight and reduced your body fat to 10%, then you likely know that the last 5% are oftentimes the most challenging. If you are obese, or severely obese, the weight falls off rather quickly when you start dieting and cutting weight. The first few months it’s possible that you might lose 5 pounds a week just with small changes.
But as your body adapts and becomes more efficient, and your metabolism changes to adjust to the reduction in calories, it is natural for the process to slow and become more challenging. But look at this as a positive thing, as your body is becoming more efficient.
Reduce Carbs…But Not Entirely
Most people trying to get extra lean need to reduce their carbohydrate intake. Carbs are a major stumbling block for many people, and the key to getting to 10% body fat is reducing carbs.
Cutting back on carbs has plenty of health benefits like losing weight, and it can also get you closer to getting your target % body fat. But how does one actually do this when most of us have diets that include a lot of carbs?
Here are some Diet Tips to get you to 10%:
1 – Enjoy healthier drinks.
Sugar-sweetened drinks like soda or iced tea are high in sugar and carbs. If water quenches your thirst, but not your craving for something tasty to drink, add lemon or sugar-free sweeteners like Stevia, Erythritol, or Xylitol. This will make your iced tea or water pretty tasty!
Also, fruit juices contain lots of carbs and so much sugar. Even those that claim they’re 100% fruit! So, you might as well eat the actual fruit so you can have some fiber too.
2 – Low-carb snacks can also make you feel full.
If you get really hungry a few hours before a meal, enjoy a quick fix of low-carb snacks like nuts and cheese—make sure you have them in small servings! Protein bars (100 to 250 calories) also work really well.
3 – More veggies, less bread and potatoes!
Especially when eating out, a lot of meal choices include bread and potatoes. Check with the restaurant if you can replace these high-in-carbohydrate foods with healthy vegetables instead. Healthcanal.com has compiled a list of the healthiest vegetables with detailed nutrition facts that you may find useful. White bread and pasta are considered simple carbohydrates, and are on the no-go list when you’re cutting to get shredded. Not to be mistaken with complex carbs, such as brown rice and whole wheat bread (which are healthy and necessary).
4 – Load up on protein.
This will make you feel full because of the “fullness hormone” PYY that’s released by protein. It reduces the feeling of hunger, and can help stop certain cravings of more food. Have at least one of these with breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
Lean meats (sirloin steak)
Poultry (white meat chicken – grilled, no skin)
5 – Read food labels and count carbs!
Choose food items that have lower carb and sugar content, and also watch your calorie count. A good target is a calorie deficit of 200-300 calories per day.
You’ll lose fat, but not too fast where you start to lose muscle also.
You can even try out using nutrition trackers – look for available apps on your phone. These trackers will help you keep count of your carbohydrate intake.