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Sub 15 and sub 12 % body fat tips and tricks

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January 25, 2018

Lots of depressing posts of late, but this post got me going about body fat.

Now i know i could post this in r/fitness or wherever some of you will point me too. But I have a better understanding of this crowd, regarding age, and time limitations that i wanted to post here.

I'm 5'11'' and 168 pounds, last BF estimate was 15% and I am up on muscle and down on fat so i think i am 13 - 14%. Loving it, feel better, look better, IOI's etc. Wife noticing attention. Its all good. Still a small gut and not enough veins / definition for my liking.

But I want to go lower - at least 10 - 12%, if nothing else just to have achieved it once in my life. So my questions for you all:

  1. What special tips and tricks do you have to get in that range

  2. How hard is it to maintain? I eat very clean and low volume, and at gym 5 days per week. Minimal alchohol. Some other fitness, swimming, cycling, watersports. Generally pretty active, but sitting based job.

EDIT - I'm 39

Post Information
Title Sub 15 and sub 12 % body fat tips and tricks
Author simbarlion
Upvotes 7
Comments 57
Date 25 January 2018 03:54 AM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit askMRP
Link https://theredarchive.com/post/204904
Original Link https://old.reddit.com/r/askMRP/comments/7stear/sub_15_and_sub_12_body_fat_tips_and_tricks/
Similar Posts

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red7 points8 points  (7 children) | Copy

Dont get hung up on body fat %.

It is far more important to be proportional IMHO.

At least this is what I tell myself since 10% BF is HAF to maintain when moving large numbers of plates is your primary goal.

I have been 180 and the body of a cardio nut. I am now 215 and bust thru door ways unless I turn sideways.

Its all what you want. In my experience women would rather have a larger muscular guy than a skinny cardio nut.

And since I have been both, I am believe I am qualified to speak on the matter.

PS: women do not care about veins. Only you and other bros do.

[–]mrpCamper4 points5 points  (1 child) | Copy

PS: women do not care about veins. Only you and other bros do.


[–]Rian_StoneMod / Red Beret6 points7 points  (0 children) | Copy

Well, they do care about one vein.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (4 children) | Copy

Lol hamster.....you can be very athletic and strong with low bodyfat and over 15 most lifting men look fat in clothes

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

Lol hamster

Glad you picked up on the sarcasm.

I was feeling a little frosty this morning.

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

im sure turning sideways to go thru doors in XL waist size with no definition makes one frosty

[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (1 child) | Copy

im sure turning sideways to go thru doors in XL waist size with no definition makes one frosty

[–]red-sfpplusHard Core Red0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I wouldn't know.

[–]Alphaphux2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Try ThermoFX, try Keto diet, try intermittent fasting (I.e dinner at 6pm, next meal lunch)

Every 1% is twice as hard as the last, it’s a long hard slog. Just keep lifting and eating right and it’ll come to you

[–]Reach180Red Beret2 points3 points  (0 children) | Copy

Too much focus on BF% sometimes, not enough on muscle mass.

At 5'11" / 168. I think you're barking up the wrong tree if you want to look better.


Jump forward to 8:54

5'11, 194 @ 11.4%

Now jump forward to 11:19

6'1, 240 @ 15.4%

Which looks better?

If you watch the whole video,the 1 or 2 guys with BF% under 13% look quite underwhelming.

Bigger bang for YOUR buck adding muscle. Where as 6'1 / 240 guy in the video would get a bigger bang by shedding a few lbs.

[–]SepeanRed Beret2 points3 points  (5 children) | Copy

You absolutely need to weigh your food, track your calories and track your weight every single day (what matters is the 1-2 week moving average of your weight). It gets real finnicky when you get low, the margins are small and slipping is easy.

NEAT is a real issue when you get low and after prolonged cuts. You move less and that drops your burn by hundreds of kcals. You'll probably need to actively schedule walks or something like that to keep it up.

Energy levels in general is a real problem, and following that failing motivation. Hit your targets and get your cuts done. There's a time limit on how long you can do this so don't fall behind.

Lyle McDonald's protein-sparing modified fast is great to get the last pounds off imo. You can cut around .5 pounds per day on it, and on top you'll lose a ton of fluids. If you can sustain a cut for long then that is great, but I'd rather do a rough 10 days than a month or two.

Carbs and salt make your tissues retain fluids. When I'm lean if I eat a pizza, I gain 2-3 pounds of fluids. Stay clear of that shit on days where you want to see your abs.

You must lift while cutting. Lifting is the key, not cardio. Lifting makes you not lose as much muscle, but keep the volume LOW because you have limited recuperation. Cardio is just torture imo. It's rough when your body is low on resources and it increases hunger, and hunger and the mental game is the most important issue here. If you feel you must do cardio then keep it light.

Forget about maintaining it down there. No one does that. The guys you're comparing yourself to are guys who dedicate their lives to it, use steroids, and they get the pictures taken at the end of a cut. They don't walk around like that all year.

[–]zeno_of_shitium1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Lyle McDonald's

No matter what people say about Lyle, everything he has published has worked amazingly well for me, even though implementing a lot of it is extremely painful on the body and the mind...

[–]simbarlionRed Beret[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Thanks. Was temporarily confused by

Forget about maintaining it down there


[–][deleted] 1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Forget about maintaining it down there. No one does that.

The fuck I dont.

[–]BostonBrakeJob1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

They don't walk around like that all year.

A lot of people don't realize this. Dudes don't even drink water 2 days out from a BB comp. They're starved and dehydrated af going into the shows. And photoshop does wonders for mag. covers.

[–]amalgamator0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

And then read this book to get the last bit of fat off if you want to get shredded at least once in your life - but don’t do it for girls, do it for you and cause it’s hard


[–]BostonBrakeJob1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

Try starving yourself for a few days. Sounds crazy, and you'll lose some muscle mass and strength too. But, if you have a lot of lean muscle built up you're body will basically start cannibalizing itself to try maintain it.

A couple years back, I lost 25 lbs. in the first month after I quit powerlifting. I was also a depressed sack of shit too. Went from 6 meals (plus snacks between) a day down to 1. Sometimes a day or 2 would go by between meals. The weight melted off literally overnight.

It's not healthy. And your hormone levels will probably be all fucked up (mine were anyway). But, you might be able to shed that stubborn fat fairly quickly. Then get back to lifting heavy as fuck and tweak your macros as needed.

Now that I'm back in the gym I'm not going to go crazy with the carbs and all the dirty drive thru food for the easy calories just to get big and strong af, fast af. I still want to do powerlifting comps. But since I've already leaned out I want to build on that and look better while doing it this time around.

Everybody's body is different. You may react different to it than what I did. Like I said...not good, healthy advice here. But if you want to get there quickly it might work for you too.

I haven't read up on intermittent fasting. But from what little I have heard about it, it kind of sounded like a healthier, more scientific way of doing what I just described. Check that out if going days/weeks with little to no food doesn't sound like something you want to try.

[–]zeno_of_shitium1 point2 points  (0 children) | Copy

There are no special tricks to get into the 10-12% body fat range. This shouldn't be hard to maintain once achieved.

If you are tracking calories and the moving average of your weight (you are tracking your weight, right?) is declining then to drop further, reduce calories by 500 per week and continue as is.

I assume your hitting your macro targets and not forgetting to count all the beers.

Looking to get under 10% is a different game.

Edit: I should also mention that even though everyone seems to be a fan of it these days, intermittent fasting is not necessary for getting under 12%BF and I wouldn't personally recommend it. I do much better eating three meals a day and a couple of snacks, plus it also fits better with a family.

I do fast for three days every month and that does help maintain weight loss over the year.

[–]BobbyPeru0 points1 point  (17 children) | Copy

not enough veins / definition for my liking.

Heavy shoulder shrugs, DL, heavy rows, an heavy curls will make the veins pop. If you’re getting good ioi you might want to stay there and let the heavy weights make em pop

[–]drty_prRed Beret0 points1 point  (14 children) | Copy

ioi you might want to stay there and let the heavy weights make em pop


[–]Alphaphux0 points1 point  (13 children) | Copy

I think what he’s saying is don’t worry about the BF% and just let the big muscles and vascularity do the work. For me though anything over 10% BF the only definition (vascularity) I see is as I’m walking out of the gym after a pump (except in my forearms)- but everyone is different

[–]drty_prRed Beret0 points1 point  (11 children) | Copy

Me too. I envy that sweet bicep vein. It's there, but it's off to the side and not nearly as defined as others.

[–]Alphaphux0 points1 point  (10 children) | Copy

It’s the reason I stay sub 10% at all costs. Even when I plateau with size or strength it’s all about the cut

[–]drty_prRed Beret0 points1 point  (9 children) | Copy

I've never hit 10%. I intend on it within the next month though.

[–]Alphaphux0 points1 point  (8 children) | Copy

Good luck with it, you need to max out on self control. Have heaps of celery, carrot, string beans, blueberries, almonds and other nuts, boiled eggs and anything else healthy you enjoy always readily available so that if you go for a snack it’s not a cookie etc.

[–]simbarlionRed Beret[S] 0 points1 point  (7 children) | Copy

I am on celery, watermelon, boiled egg, and too much fruit, banana etc. Along with small portion of wife dinner.

Beer is a bit of an issue. 6 cans per week. And to much diet cola. The caffeine is good though

[–]SteelSharpensSteelMod / Red Beret0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

That diet cola is a serious problem - you think it's 0 calories, but it tricks you into being more hungry. I've given it up entirely, and don't miss it.

[–]Senor_Martillo0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

Yes! There's research supporting this too: your taste buds play an important roll in insulin response. Artificial sweeteners ramp up the signals that tell your pancreas to start pumping insulin.


Dump that shit! There's so many flavors of sparkling water now too, there's no reason to be drinking sweetened sodas.

[–]mrpCamper0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

It's hard to incorporate much fruit on a serious cut. The difference between my cuts and my maintenance is primarily fruit.

[–]Alphaphux0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Bananas are high in sugar and best avoided and fruit generally is much higher in sugar content than vegetables... try and swap out your fruit intake for veggie snacks (carrot sticks / celery / green beans / capsicum) avocados are a good source of mono fats as well

[–]Alphaphux0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Make sure you’ve got a good multi vitamin and fish oil supplement as well

[–]straius0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Some people's veins are actually closer to the surface of the skin than others which is partly why some dudes are inherently more veiny. I had not heard of that before a doctor explained it to me years ago.

[–]crimson_chris0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I'd also add in pull ups. I started about a year ago. I could only do two. Now I am up to ten in one set with a 25lb chain around my neck. Arms are as big as ever with veins on both sides and in forearms. And, women do notice veigns. Especially in biceps and forearns.

Edit: And I do no other bicep work (other than DL, OHP, BP).

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

weighted pulls are core excersize.


[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

One thing I like to do when cutting is to switch my rep scheme 4-6 weeks into the cut. For example, say I'm running 4x6 then one AMRAP set for my heavy compound lifts at the beginning of the cut, I will then switch to 4x10 with the weight decreased by 15-20% for a few weeks. I have found that it helps me in a couple of ways. I can usually keep a lot more fullness in my muscles due to the new stimulus, sometimes even adding a little muscle depending on how "on" I am with my nutrition. Mentally, I am not stressing about every set and whether or not I'm hitting the same numbers as before the cut. That may not be as much a problem for others, but it drives me insane and I've abandoned an otherwise successful cut because I couldn't get out of my head about losing strength. YMMV.

[–]PeggedByOwlette0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Getting the lower Abbs to come in and getting the lower back fat to come off is 50% harder if alcohol is part of your life.

Any weight loss coach worth the money will tell you to quit drinking if getting lean is your goal. Booze leads to poor food decisions because you are out and drinking and your body will always prioritize alcohol calories over anything else.

I'm also assuming you are natty so as you cut, if you keep even a bit of booze it can tank your testosterone levels for a couple of days if you are out late one night and have a couple of drinks. You need to maintain your hormone levels at a deficit and it's fucking tough with alcohol on the menu. It's already hard as it is in your 40s to keep a solid testosterone level without replacement.

Honestly trt and a solid diet is what I would do but I'm a fucking retarded sometimes. Dieting down to veins in your abbs is tough. It's really juts a byproduct of a lifestyle. For some, it's not worth it.

[–]CopyAndPaste20150 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

1) Keto and IF

2) see 1. At least low carb diet and calorie intake control is required.

[–]Senor_Martillo0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy

I'm interested to hear how you guys adjust these routines for injury prevention and long term stability too. At 42, I'm trying to find the program that results in decent bulk and stable bf of 12-14% without fucking up energy or hormone levels, and doesn't risk blowing out rotator cuffs, ligaments, etc. I've been knocked out several times, for months at a time, with injuries and that shit is no good for anyone's MAP.

[–]crimson_chris4 points5 points  (0 children) | Copy

I am 42, but have been lifting since middle school (brother and I had our own bench).

I don't do max reps anymore - not worth it. I do my own program - 3x6. I hit the whole body 2-3 times a week with super sets.

1) DL (275 to 315) + OHP (135) |
| 2) Squat (275) + Pull Ups (with 25lb chain) | 3) Bench (225) + Jump Lunges

I suppliment that on other days with sprinting, 4mile runs, bootcamp or a Spartan class at my gym. My biggest reco is for guys (especially over 40) is to start doing yoga for injury prevention.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

Stopped reading at "think my bodyfat is....."

Yea....its always materially higher than we think

[–]McLearner0 points1 point  (3 children) | Copy

I will sort of hijack the thread to talk about BF%
Me : 36y/o, 6.1", 164lbs.
SQ 105 / BP 72 / Row 94 / OHP 66 / DL 187
Rather clean diet, no smoking/drinking, currently adjusting to more prots.
Weekly schedule : 3x lifting sessions, 3h tennis, 150km biking.

On topic : Navy's formula gave me 12%BF 3 weeks ago, now down to 10% since I started 5x5 and stopped high volume/low weights dumbells-at-home.
(Waist at navel : 31 in / Neck at narrowest : 15 in)

But I still have my (rather small but there) little gut and I don't really see abs either.

Since I started 5x5 I noticed some more definition here and there (mostly on biceps on thighs) but I have not gained a single cm anywhere.

I am a bit confused.

I am very slowly gaining weight (< 1lb / week), sooo it means I am loosing fat but not gaining muscle ?

[–]PitchingGranite0 points1 point  (2 children) | Copy


Best bf% guide I've seen. At your height and weight and those lifting numbers you need to be bulking. Just don't go crazy with it.

[–]McLearner0 points1 point  (1 child) | Copy

I've read multiple times that the bulk/cut routine tends to prevent attaining golden ratio-ish physiques.
Is that total BS ?

[–]PitchingGranite0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

I'm no expert. Haven't ever read about golden ratio, I'll check into it.

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children) | Copy

What's your age? It likely matters in terms of base stored body fat your body wants to maintain.

Contrary to some comments in here, I have no problem maintaining sub 12% body fat 11 months out of the year (and you can pry thanksgiving-Christmas weight gain from my cold dead fingers). I don't weigh my food but I do count calories, which are at 2800 base and I add any extra from workouts if I'm looking to maintain...and don't add them in if I want to lose weight. Protein: 175g Carbs: 315g Fat: 90g. I eat 7 meals a day averaging 400cal each to stave off hunger...but I'll admit it's tough at times.

I still lift decent (just hit the 900 club, shooting for 1000) but there is quite a plateau of potential because your lifts and protein intake go mostly to maintaining muscle, and I'm fine with that.

The trick is get fucking hobbies and stay active. I lift 5 days a week. I run 6 miles or bike 18 miles almost every day in the summer and maybe every other day in the winter. Rock climb once a week. Swim in the summer. Just bought a jump rope. Just started a martial art. Chase your dog around a field. Chase your kids around a field. Take them on a nature walk. Just do SOMETHING. LOTS of something. What the fuck is "Some other fitness". Are you doing it or are you not? I can drink once or twice a week...it's usually 2 beers but it comes right back off. I drink 1/4 bottle of alcohol and then go to a Rave and dance my ass off. Come out covered in sweat. That liquor didn't have a chance. If you're going to sit down and read or watch football or get on reddit...get on the stationary bike and do it. If you plan on drinking, plan on how to burn it off or fit it in your calorie plan. I want to say the last 5% is hard but it's really not. Do it.

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