Single-digit body fat!

Can anyone achieve this with enough discipline, or is there a hard genetic limit to how lean you can get (while staying healthy)?

Has anyone done it?

I would need to lose something like 18 kilos of pure body fat to achieve TdF levels of skinny (~6%). That is just mind-boggling.

At the moment I would be happy just not to be fat. Which to my calculations would be another 10 kg to achieve 13% BF.

Yes. Anybody can achieve it, but not necessarily while still performing well on the bike.

I did partly what you would have to do. Meaning that I did loose somewhere around 18 kilos of body fat, but that got me down to just into single digits and not TdF levels.

I have already lost something like 30 kilos of body fat… haha.

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Following because I would love to get to single digit BF %. I am close now at 12%



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Is there a reason why? If it’s just because of TDF pros then …? It’s your goal, it just caught me off guard cause a lot of guys would be happy being 10% body fat with a decent foundation of muscle you get by lifting heavy

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It’s not really my goal, I’m just curious how feasible it is without some sort of genetic gift. I haven’t been that skinny since I was like 10.

I’d guess anyone, or at least the vast majority, is capable of achieving it. I know plenty of people who have set the goal and failed (either never got that lean, or got lean but got unhealthy along the way), but invariably it’s because they can’t maintain the discipline necessary for long enough to get there. Don’t know anybody who was doing all the right things and hit some kind of genetic limiter.

Whether it’s worth it is up to you. I’m normally in the 12-15% range which is lean enough to be competitive at the front of most races I do. I’m not going to win any long mountain climbs, but I don’t do many long mountain climbs in races! It also enables me to be generally happier in life as I’m not watching everything I eat, I can indulge fairly regularly, I don’t have people asking if I’m sick or telling me I need to eat more, and I’m still leaner than most of the population. I wouldn’t worry about it, you’re quite a way away anyway so likely have some low hanging fruit in terms of improving body composition. Do the easy stuff like cleaning up your diet and training regularly, aim for better not perfect. As and when you hit a plateau where you’re not getting any leaner, then decide then if you’re happy with where you are vs prepared to make further sacrifices to go further.


It’s definitely feasible then. Eat less, ride more!

Genetics have replaced Fate in most people’s mind, and is essentially treated the same as Fate for all but that tiny minority genuinely hitting their limits.

Whether you have a limit or not should be of no concern, and should not hold back your efforts, until you get somewhere…!

Then there is the question of whether you want to get to the human extremes, do you want to be healthy or at the limits of your performance?

Personally I’m 44 and dropping from 19% BF to 13% would be more than enough for me. Good luck :+1:


My “why” is to optimize my power to weight ratio on the bike.

I mean, genetics are a huge part of fate.

Even the part of people that lets them hit their genetic limits is partially genetic.

Conveniently the recent podcast discusses this similar topic and why optimizing power to weight by focusing on the weight side of the equation may be counterproductive.


Latter part of 231, IIRC.


I think that anyone can do it, but it is a lot easier when carrying a good bit of muscle.

I’ve been there (69kgs. 8% bf) as the result of sheer willpower. Almost no sugar of any kind (that’s right, including fruit), around 150g of protein per day, lots of green vegetables (no corn), and no days off for the better part of a year. I did P90X almost every day, ran a few times per week, rode bikes for fun.

I maintained that level of lean-ness until I turned 40. It was an interesting experiment, but I cannot recommend doing this on purpose. At low levels of bf, I was susceptible to illnesses. I probably had a cold every three months. I was not fun to be around because I didn’t eat like anybody else, was always hungry, probably grumpy, and too ‘focused’.

If you want specifics of my diet, hit me up.


Sure if you want to share it, I’ll definitely give you a thumb’s up

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SMH why people are asking why.

Last season I got down to 8-9? I put the question mark there because I measured via calipers and an Omron bf scale so its not completely accurate. I didn’t experience a dip in performance at any point but I’m sure at some point I would.

I tracked everything and ran a negative deficit. I ride a ton, so even when I don’t track I’m running an inadvertent deficit.

It is definitely feasible but you need to be careful doing it, be committed, and consider whether its worth the sacrifices.

Don’t obsess over it - dropping too much weight too quickly is not healthy and will affect your health negatively. Also chasing some unachievable target is bad for your mental health and motivation.

Clean up your diet gradually and keep on training as you do. I say gradually as any sudden changes are unlikely to stick in the long run. If you love nibbling on chocolate often for example, don’t cut it off completely - most people relapse sooner or later and get stuck in a vicious cycle - it’s not a good place to be mentally. It’s good to still have a “cheat meal/snack/day” now and again to help against the mental struggle.

Eat little and eat often. Instead of eating three big meals a day, break some of them into smaller meals and snack in-between. Try to keep the snacks healthy - for example a bunch of nuts or fruit, instead of a doughnut or a piece of cake.

Calorie counting - some people swear by it and will tell you it’s necessary. While you do need to be on a deficit to lose fat, weighing everything and using a calorie counter is a lot of faff and enough to put a lot of people off. But if you eat similar meals throughout your day, it’s easy to calculate things once and do a rough estimate from then on. Simple sugars should be avoided and you need a good supply of protein.

Do a bit of weight training. You don’t need to become a beefcake, but having more muscle will help you burn more calories by increasing your metabolism. The big lifts (squat/deadlift/bench) will increase your testosterone levels too. Certain exercises will help you on the bike as well.

Rest well - sleep is underrated.

Finally, you really need to ask yourself why you want to be down to single digits body fat and if it is worth the effort. Pros we all love to watch have entire teams behind them with all the science and budgets to do meal/training planning and prepping for them. For us mere mortals with jobs and families it is hard to do (but not impossible). Also maintaining that level of body fat 100% of the time is borderline impossible without being committed to the cause.

Genetics do play a slight part of it, yes, but with the risk of sounding cliche - “hard work beats talent, when talent doesn’t work hard”

Age also plays a part in it, but don’t believe people that tell you “oh, because you’re x years old you can’t do this”. You certainly still can, if you put the work in.

During winter season when I follow my TrainerRoad plans indoors (low volume - 3 days on the bike) and do weights 3 times a week I find myself dropping below 10% easily when eating clean. I tried to maintain it during the warmer months too, but I found myself having to say “no” to plans with friends, or leaving parties a lot earlier than I normally would, just so I can feel fresh or have the time to get my fix on the bike or in the gym. I’ve also upset the girlfriend previously, having a go at her for buying me sweet treats while I’ve been trying to eat clean. So it’s not really worth it depending on other factors in life.


but you did your best, and forgot the rest.

i did it with Insanity and some running, got to 9-11%… but couldn’t keep it up. I like food too much