A super ripped male body builder who is minimizing body fat percentage could have a percentage down as low as 3-4%, while a super ripped female body builder who is minimizing body fat percentage would only get as low as 8-9%. A male athlete could be in fantastic shape and have 10% body fat, while a women at comparable level of athleticism and appearance might be at 18-20% body fat.
How to measure:
– Compare with pictures
By having an accurate list of pictures and comparing a picture of yourself, you can determine somewhat closely what your body fat percentage is.
– Take measurement
US Navy measurement I have found, as have others, that this method isn’t incredibly accurate as it can very easily overestimate your body fat. Considering it only takes a few points of data, this is not surprising.
How to drop %:
Lift heavy things – When you strength train with heavy objects (or with intense body weight training), you get stronger and keep the muscle mass that you already have. On top of that, you also push your metabolism into an “afterburner” effect which burns extra calories even after you are done working out.
Sprints – When you run sprints, you create a similar afterburner effect with strength training, meaning extra calories burned after the completion of your workout.
Eat less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day – When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, it no longer has steady access to its preferred source of energy, sugar (which all carbs become once they’re consumed and processed by your body). It now has to pull from fat storage to fuel itself.
Follow the Paleo Diet – I am biased here, but this is the diet that I follow whenever I need to drop weight. I recently dropped from 13-14% down to 10-11% in back in March for a vacation. I had only followed this plan for three weeks (heavy strength training, Paleo Diet, and working out in a fasted state). As you get very low, I would recommend cutting on almost all fruit and nuts and focusing on just consuming protein and vegetables.
Work out in a fasted state – Although advanced techniques to get to super low body fat percentages are beyond the scope of this article, here’s another tactic if you want to drop the last few percentage points: strength train in a fasted state, and don’t consume your first meal of the day until AFTER your workout. This is a technique used by LeanGains and guys like Vic Magary and Anthony Mychal. I’ve been training in a fasted state with zero issues on energy.