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Body Fat Descriptions Of Men

Body Fat Percentage Men 3-4%

Bodybuilders can drop as low as 3-4% body fat when preparing for bodybuilding competitions. This body fat level is characterized by extreme vascularity, so that veins are visible over just about every muscle in the body. There is clear separation between muscles, and striations visible on almost every muscle. The buttocks (I’ll spare you a back picture) even has striations, some vascularity, with little fat. If your buttocks doesn’t have any body fat, you’ve got VERY low body fat! Essential fat for a man is around 2%, which is the basic amount of fat a man needs for the body to function (fat protects internal organs in the chest and abdomen).

Body Fat Percentage Men 6-7%

Approximately 6-7% body fat for a man is a bit less extreme than competition bodybuilders, but it’s still hovering at a level that is not sustainable for most men. Around this level, or slightly less, the face becomes gaunt, and your family starts worrying about you. This 6-7% body fat level, which is achieved by many male fitness models when doing photoshoots, is characterized by muscle definition in all muscles and clear vascularity in most muscles including arms, legs, and even abs. Vascularity over the abs muscle is a sign of very low body fat. Clear separation of muscles as well.

Body Fat Percentage Men 10-12%

This is a sustainable level for most men where you should be able to see your abs, but they will likely not be as defined as a man in the 6-7% body fat range. This body fat range is the classic beach body look that most men want and many women love. While not very defined, there is separation between muscles, some muscle striations potentially in the shoulders, or arms, but striations are not showing on every muscle. Vascularity is typically limited to the arms, with a little possibly on the legs.

Body Fat Percentage Men 15%

The 15% body fat level is usually within the “lean and fit” category in most body fat percentage charts. The outlines of muscle can be seen, but there is no clear separation between them. Vascularity is usually a bit more limited as are muscle striations, which are typically covered by a thin layer of fat. The overall shape is still there, which can create an aesthetic appearance despite less muscle definition.

Body Fat Percentage Men 20%

Separation between muscles starts to blur, almost no vascularity, or striations can be seen, typically there is a small stomach pouch of fat, the look is “soft” but not very round. Most guys I come across in NYC are within the 20-25% body fat range. Other parts of the country, or world, that range may be skewed higher or lower. A 5’11”man who weighs 180lb and has 145lb of lean body mass (the average) will have 20% body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Men 25%

There is little to no separation of muscles, no vascularity, or muscle striations, waist begins to increase quite substantially with a waist to hip ratio as high as 0.9 (waist circumference/hip circumference). So a 5’10” man may have a 36+ inch waist. This man may have a little neck fat, but may not look like he has 25% body fat in normal clothing. Over 25% body fat for a man is considered obese, and over a 40 inch waist is considered abdominal obesity.

Body Fat Percentage Men 30%

There is more fat all around the body at the 30% level including waist, back, thighs, and calves. The waist looks larger relative to the hips, and the stomach will likely be protruding over the waist noticeably. There is no muscle separation.

Body Fat Percentage Men 35%

As men get heavier and heavier gaining more fat, most of the fat is funneled right in the stomach. The 35% level is characterized by more significant protrusion of stomach fat over the waist. This is the beer gut kind of look. Waist circumferences can be 40+ inches for a man with 35% body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Men 40%

Similar to the 35% level, even more fat accumulates in the stomach and waist region, so that waist sizes can approach 45 inches, or more. At this level, basic every day activities like walking up stairs, or bending over to pick something up becomes increasingly difficult. This body fat level is approaching morbidly obese, which is characterized by a BMI over 35. To put it in better perspective, a 5’11” man who weighs 270lb and has 160lb of lean body mass has 40% body fat.


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