My New Goal: Get Below 10% Body Fat
Jul 10th, 2012
My latest goal = get below 10% body fat.
This may come as a surprise, but I’ve actually never been someone that’s too incredibly concerned with my body fat percentage at any given time.
I typically monitor my fat loss by taking a simple stomach circumference measurement with a tape measure each week to make sure what I’m doing is inducing a loss in body fat every 7 days or so.
There isn’t anything wrong with this approach, except that it doesn’t allow for me to quantify my losses in terms of body fat percentage.
A while back I purchased a set of body fat calipers as a way to get an idea of my body fat percentage. I used them a few times and they’ve been in a cabinet in my dining room collecting dust since then.
Just out of curiosity I busted ’em out today to see what my current body fat percentage is. Since I typically don’t monitor my body fat percentage, I only had a vague idea of what to expect, based on more research than first hand experience.
Most of my research has shown that men will typically have visible abs at around 15% body fat. Since my abs are easily visible, I expected to have a body fat percentage of slightly lower than 15%.
My caliper measurement confirmed my estimate by indicating that I currently have a body fat percentage of approximately 14 percent.
Besides now knowing my body fat percentage, I’m glad I took the time to measure it, because it sparked the opportunity to realize my next goal… Get below 10% body fat!
By the way, if you currently don’t set goals for yourself, it’s time to start.
Whether your goal is to add 20lbs to your bench press, lose 30 pounds of fat, or whatever else, you need to decide what it is you want to accomplish, develop a plan to accomplish it and stay committed until you’ve achieved your goal.
Remember, “He who aims at nothing inevitably hits it.”
Plus it just plain feels good to accomplish something you set out to do!
Calculating How Much Fat I Need to Lose to Get Below 10% Body Fat
Before setting out to reach my goal of getting below 10% body fat I wanted to quickly calculate how much fat I’d need to lose to get there.
Back in May I posted part 2 of my journey back to getting ripped. In that posting I provided an overview of my latest 5 month fat to ripped transformation, along with my transformation photos.
My latest photo within that posting shows me at 183lbs with decent muscle definition and visible abs. During the 2 months or so after that photo was taken I’ve pretty much just maintained those results as I’m currently weighing in at 185lbs and still have easily visible abs.
So, I’m going to use my 185lb starting point to get an idea of what my weight will need to be to get below 10% body fat.
To do this I’ll start by calculating the pounds of body fat I’m currently carrying on my body by multiplying my total weight by my current body fat percentage as follows:
185lbs x 0.14 = 25.9lbs of body fat
After taking a quick break from writing, I just created a simple spreadsheet to approximate what my body fat percentage will be as I continually lose fat. Here’s a screenshot of the spreadsheet:
As you can see from the shot on the left, I’ll need to lose about nine pounds to get below 10% body fat.
Of course, this is assuming that I’ll be losing nothing but body fat (i.e. experiencing zero muscle losses), which is probably a little unrealistic.
Although, I plan to use my usual secret weapon for losing fat without losing muscle – following a nutrition plan of maintaining nothing more than a slight caloric deficit – so I don’t expect to lose much in the way of muscle mass.
In case you want to download the spreadsheet shown to the left for your own use, you can right click here and select “save link as” to download my body fat percentage calculator spreadsheet.
Note that you’ll have to know your starting weight and body fat percentage to use it. To determine your body fat percentage, it’s easiest to get a set of calipers.
I use the Accu-Measure calipers. They are easy to use, affordable (get a set for around $5 on Amazon) and come with a chart that will tell you exactly how to use your measurements to determine your body fat %.
Once you know your body weight and body fat percentage you can simply enter them into the green cells at the top of the spreadsheet and the rest of the calculations will be done for you so you can get an idea of how much fat you need to lose to reach a certain body fat percentage.
If you want to carry the calculation out further, simply highlight the 3 cells in the bottom row and drag them down accordingly.
Alright, now that I know I’m going to need to lose nine pounds or so to reach my goal of getting below 10% body fat, I can shift my attention to the plan of attack…
My Nutrition Plan to Get Below 10 Percent Body Fat
Back in April I attended a strength and conditioning workshop put on by Jason Ferruggia at Renegade Gym in Watchung, NJ. I frequently visit Jason’s blog, and even though I don’t agree with every philosophy he promotes, I know that he’s a trusted source of honest information.
While at the workshop I received a copy of Jason’s book, The Renegade Diet. I read it cover to cover in two sittings and found it to be an innovative approach for feeding the body to lose fat and/or build muscle.
At the time of reading the book I was in the middle of my five month transformation and following the diet that’s part of the system I developed for getting ripped.
Since I already knew from past experience that my system was extremely effective at inducing the results I desired, I decided to stick with it. But I made a mental note to give the instructions in Renegade Diet a try at a more opportune time.
During the past 2 months of maintaining my results I’ve implemented some of what the Renegade Diet entails, but now I’m going to commit myself to it 100% while I work on reaching my goal of reducing my body fat percentage to be below ten percent.
After I achieve my goal, I’ll be writing a detailed review of The Renegade Diet for this site.
Training to Get Below 10% Body Fat
My weight training will be typical of what I usually do: 5 sets of each lift, train to failure, train each muscle group every 3-4 days, do 20-30 minutes of cardio after weight training, etc.
The only thing I’m planning to do differently is to integrate more high intensity interval cardio into my training. This is more for the cardiovascular benefit than the fat loss benefit, and also because my elliptical and treadmill cardio workouts are starting to get redundant and boring.
Doing some interval sprints will be a nice change of pace!
By the way, cardio is something that people put way too much thought into. The important thing about cardio is that you do it, and you do it often.
I recently posted an article, in which I facetiously claim to end the cardio debate once and for all, and also give some interesting insights as to my take on the different methods of using cardio to lose body fat.
How Long It Will Take to Have Less Than 10% Body Fat
As long as my body fat is being reduced on a weekly basis I’m not going to get too caught up in how long it takes me to reach my goal of getting below 10% body fat.
Especially since I’m going to be careful not to restrict my calories to a significant degree in order to prevent muscle loss.
That being said, experience tells me it will take 6-10 weeks to reach my goal, so I fully expect to get below 10% body fat by the end of September – which is a good thing because my wife and I are expecting our 3rd child at that time 😉
Update: Click here to read my update and see how I achieved my goal of getting below 10% body fat sooner than expected.