What connects us all, lifters?
No, not the love of the iron – though hopefully that too.It’s just by how freakin much we underestimate our body-fat percentage, and overestimate our muscularity.
A blurry ab-cage? 15% body-fat!A visible 4-6 pack? 10% body-fat!Anything below that? Single digits!
The truth is, we all like to judge our physique based on how it looks in our favourite lighting, with the best pump, from our favourite angle, on our leanest body-part.That’s why somehow half my facebook friends (myself included) always walk around at ‘sub-12% body-fat’ with an FFMI of 22,5.Then, as we commit to a serious diet, the following starts happening:
- You lose weight, and you look leaner. Then you lose some more weight, and you don’t get as much leaner on your favourite body-parts. Then you lose even more weight, and you still look more or less the same. What the hell?
- That’s the point where you started to lean down from all other areas of your body, where you didn’t even think you stored fat – your back, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes, etc.
- Then, one day you look up, and you’re actually quite diced – but you might also weigh less than you did in high school.
- I have to admit, this also means that in the past I WAY underestimated my body-fat%. When I claimed to be 12%, I was probably more like 16%, and when I claimed to be 9%, I was probably more like 12-13%.
- Is that a bit awkward? Yes.
- But the deal is, the entire internet fitness population is doing the exact same thing.
- When guys say, “I want to be 10% body-fat”, it doesn’t really mean anything. It just means, “I have an idea of how an upper body and abdominals looks like at 10% body-fat, and I want that look for myself.”
- Nevermind the fact that in reality that look might be an actual 12-14% body-fat.
- And at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. What we go for is a certain look, not some arbitrary number.
- So as far as the viewers are concerned, those random numbers I threw out naively, earlier, might as well be correct.
Some additional thoughts on body-weight
Yes, it was a bit freaky and disheartening to see those low numbers on the scale at first.After-all, we all known that anyone over 5’11/180 cm is not a real man under 200 lbs/90 kg, and barely a worthwhile adolescent under 175 lbs/80 kg.
In fact, I think silly thoughts like this are one of the several reasons that prevent many guys from ever getting truly lean.
At the end of the day though, we once again have to remember what the goal was:Is it to make a certain weight or to compete in a ‘who has the highest FFMI’ competition, or to look a certain way?
If it’s the former, stay between 15 and 20% body-fat, lift heavy weights, shoot the occasional selfie and never forget to include your body-stats in your captions.
If the latter, forget about the numbers and use your actual eyesight to decide if you look the way you want or not.