How fat do you look? Or: the gap between bf% and look and speed

Hey everybody.

As many of us I’m on the ongoing pursuite to a faster cyclist. I do some strength work 2-3 times a week for the whole body. Currently my Tanita says im at 19.5% body fat. Its not geat but I got under the 20% mark. From what I read I think I should aim for under 15% (10% would be the optimum). My primary goal is to get a flat stomach. I was always overweight. Every pound I drop now leads to a knew weight I just had once in my lifetime. When I grew up and got still heavier. I’m pretty happy with my cycling performance and feel great. To tuck my shirt in my pants without an bump from my belly is the ultimate goal. :smiley:

But if you take a look at pictures of people of different bf% you can see very different body composionts. Yes. I know all the things about differten measuring methods and all these urban myths. But You can see really fit people with very different %.

I don’t really know what I’m aiming for in this top. Maybe some of you could share their experiences. Do you know your bf%? Does it correspondent with your picture of your own? Do you have a higher % but are very happy and fit and fast? Do you have a flat stomach but a high bf%?

Whats your relationship with your bf%?

Thanks for sharing!


For me, I look trim around 12% to 13% and look bloated and chubby in the face and neck around 15%+

My face is the thing that changes dramatically the most with fat loss and gain. My belly fat goes easily and so does the fat in my legs. It’s my upper back that’s really hard to lose. Weird as hell! I went down to just under 11% this summer and I looked like the walking dead. Really unhealthy looking and feeling. But maybe that’s because of how quickly I was losing the weight. No power either so a bit pointless go that far that fast.

Some people can look like they’ve got a 6 pack with over 15%, but not me. Really depends on where the fat is stored and your height and body composition generally.

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Thanks for your thoughts.

Walking dead. :smirk: But you mentioned somthing important: time. It could play a great role if you lose or gain weight and try to maintain it and it was a rush for your body.

I look fatter when I lose weight because it tends to go quicker everywhere except around the middle so I look more pear shaped. I’ve dropped 20lbs (173 -> 153) since this time last year by first getting back into regular exercise and dropped 3-6% BF ( 18/19 -> 12/13) according to my Tanita scale. Any less than this I start to look like a wraith EXCEPT the goddamn love handles are still there.

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Yeah, I’m exactly the same.

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Oh. Thats not cool. I think I heard somewhere that if you where a heavier you would never get these shredded look cause of the fat cells, that wont slim down. But I think thats not your problem at 12%. But I know what you mean. Your shoulders look better, your arms looking more in shape. And your belly is still there.

I’m 20% body fat @77.5 kg. 5ft 9” and look slim enough when clothed. Most of my subcutaneous fat is around my waist and belly (IMO) as my arms and legs look fine. Aiming for approx 10-12% BF by Mid April. I think if I lost another 2-3% my six pack will start to become visible

Maybe I got the estimate wrong, but at your height and weight you must have a lot of subcutaneous fat. I’m just a little taller than you and I think I have a long way to go to get anything looking similar to sixpack. :hamburger: :wink:

I am 5’8 at 68kg, abs are nowhere to be seen ))


I’m also 5’8" approx 68kg and my abs are making a tiny shape on good days. Nothing incredible but I can see shapes! :smile:

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According to my garmin scales I am currently

20.1% BF
4.4kg bone mass
31.2 kg muscle mass
58.3% water

Maybe I have flattering lights in the bedroom :joy: but I can see the sides of my abs and have a visible adonis belt. I don’t jiggle that much if I jump up and down either!

Just to add to this, my scales (Omron Korada Scan) say I’m about 14% BF, the gym scales indicated very similar.

I’m 47, 6’1", 75Kg, 19%bf.
very flat stomach but not an ab in sight.

The trick to a flat stomach is doing planks - it tightens your core muscles and firms everything up. A thin coating of skin/fat over the top of it doesn’t look as bad if the underlying body is firm.

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I do boxing training so hopefully have a bit of muscle under there somewhere!

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Today’s measurement from my Renpho scales are:

6ft (183cm)
21% body fat
70kg fat free weight
67kg muscle mass

I’m still well over my ideal and looking to get down in the <15% bf range. I’ve got a little belly but you would be hard pushed to say I look fat.

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From what I understand one has to go under ~10% to start seeing a hint of of a six pack. Even when I was flirting with 10% (5’9.5" and 147lbs) I wasn’t didn’t see definition around the midsection. I also believe that the scale I have is somewhat optimistic in it’s reading and the 10-11% it was reading was probably closer to 12-13 in actuality.

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Its always the light. :laughing:

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It would go aroung 10% as well. My tanita in non-athlete mode shows about 19%. IF this is right it supports the 10%. Theres a long way to go…

10% it is then! #newtarget

Currently 6’3", 165 lbs, 9.6% body fat per my scale

I look very skinny to non-cyclists as I have a typical cyclist upper body. I carry nearly all my fat around my waist. When I drop from 11% (post Thanksgiving) to my normal 9-10% range I have definition on my lower abs but not the upper as I still carry that fat around my middle.

I can get as low as 162-163 lbs and maintain my FTP at around 360, but I have to be extremely attentive that I’m properly eating and fueling my workouts when I get to that number

In response to the original question - I’m a bit confused by my own body fat percentage. For as skinny as I am I think I should have a lower body fat % and I have the discipline to cut my weight further, but I hit some limits on power when I go any lighter so it feels strange that I require nearly 10% body fat. Could be vague from my scale - perhaps a dexa scan is the only way to get an answer