Over the years I have entered many cutting and bulking phases throughout the history of my weightlifting. My body fat percentages vary wildly throughout the year and even over the years. While many people look at toned physiques as an ideal to strive to, I usually implore people to look elsewhere for body image ideals. Maintaining a low body fat physique is not healthy. Its entirely unnecessary unless its something, like myself, you want to do. Healthy body fat percentages vary by person, age, but it usually sits around 12-15% for men, and around 20-24% for women. Marc Perry over at builtlean.com has a few amazing charts from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) [http://www.builtlean.com/2010/08/03/ideal-body-fat-percentage-chart/].
So where does that leave the average person? Which sits almost, on average, 5% higher. How does one lose that much body fat. Well, it’s not as hard as you might think, with just a few small changes you can drop 5% body fat in just a few short months. And yes, even if you’re already skinny, you are probably still at an average body fat percentage (assuming you have no, or little, muscularity).
Dropping the Fat
So, losing fat can happen in numerous ways. The simple adage I’m sure everyone knows is: Calories In < Calories Needed. Which sounds easy enough but putting that simple way into practice will leave you hungry and you will end up binge eating and wondering why you’re making no progress. So, I have constructed a short list of things a person can do to lose that pesky body fat. I must stress, I am talking about body fat. Not weight, there is a difference.
- Increase your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
There is only one way to increase your BMR and that’s to build muscle. Not a lot, but a little bit at a time can increase your BMR dramatically. The BMR of an average 80kg person, and a lean 80kg person is substantially different. So just by going to the gym and building muscle you’ll increase the amount of calories you require just sitting at your desk.
- Reduce Fats
Most people will tell you that by reducing fat you will reduce your own fat; however, that’s not truly the case. The body needs fat. It helps natural processes work. However, the kind and amount of fat we consume is crucial. I usually use olive oil and sesame oil in my cooking. The problem with fatty foods is not that they have fat but that they are very high in calories.
- Kill Those Calories
You don’t have to go to the gym to increase your caloric expenditures. Even going for a walk or a run will allow you to expend more calories. However, going to the gym and building a muscle base is the easiest and probably most effective. Just be active with whatever you enjoy doing.
- Eat Protein and Drink Water
If you plan on reducing your caloric intake as a way to reduce your overall body fat just remember to make sure you’re eating protein and drinking water. There are a number reasons but one essential reason is satiety. Protein will make you feel less hungry as it takes a significant amount of time to digest. Water will fill your stomach and relieve hunger pangs.
Reducing body fat is hard. But with time, dedication, and motivation it’s achievable. All you have to do is keep at it.
Stay Hungry, Stay Happy, Stay Healthy