Sub 10% BF but still too heavy

Hi all,

I’m 89kg, 6ft2 and from a visually i look c10% BF. In order for me to get to an allusive 4w/kg+ and beyond i need to get down to 85kg, which i think I consider to be a good weight.

Cutting another 4kg of pure fat is nay on impossible. So what do we think of just losing upper body muscle mass?.. How do i target this?.. Any other ideas of getting down to 85?.


Sorry to be that guy, but why?

  1. I wonder how this goal is relevant to your actual performance or cycling needs and why it is an apparent priority?
  2. Are you pursuing this because it will be a direct benefit to your performance goals or is it more vanity of having a “big number” type of thing?
  3. This direction you want to go seems counter-intuitive to me and attempting to selectively drop mass is not a easy thing.

The obvious counter option to the weight loss is power gain.

  1. Where are you in this journey that has you seeking a potentially more tricky option?
  2. I wonder if there are better / easier ways to kick up your power that you have not tried or pushed to the limit already.
  3. Age, prior training history, plan adherence and such all play into the performance you have now and may attain in the future. There’s none of that here, (I understand it’s because you have a different focus in your question), but I wonder if you are chasing the “wrong” thing?

Isn’t this the key? You look that way, but what do the various techniques tell you? You might have a little extra over the kidneys that you could do without :wink:

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One thing to consider too is your training history. If you’re newish to cycling and have a history in weightlifting, then just by cycling more and lifting less you will naturally drop upper body mass over time without having to think about it much.

If this goal is as important to you as it sounds, then I’d first want to know with a bit more certainty what your BF% actually is. Get yourself a reputable scale or pay for somewhere that will test it. You need a good grasp of your current situation before making a plan for the future.

I’m 6"3 and 80kg so you must have a fair amount of muscle. Most of which is probably useless in the upper body, especially if you want to be a climber.

What’s your FTP?

When you find out let me know.

I’m 83kg and 5’11 and I have the same problem.

I’m eating well, going down in bf yet muscle replaces itself. (Still lifting).

I know really I should probably ditch the upper body workouts. But frankly, I love weightlifting and just have to accept that if I do it’s going to mean if I want to win races I’m just going to have to work my ass off to be faster.

All great points Chad. Perhaps i am chasing the wrong goal.

I’m not sure why i consider it to be a priority, but probably down to 2 reasons:

  1. So i can climb faster
  2. For vanity at 4w/kg.

I ride with Cat 2s in my club rides, some of them are very strong riders. I can keep pace most of the time but occasionally get dropped if its a smash ride.

I’m 35, my FTP is currently set at 330, I’ve been using TR since February (not religiously), and have only been cycling for 18months.

My goal is to be the best, strongest cyclist i can be (within reason), and i consider weight is one of the determining factors.

Maybe i should just focus on getting stronger and more aero?

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Thanks for the added info

  1. Based on this, I think the obvious example is to get more consistent with following a training plan.
    • This is constantly referenced as possibly the most important factor to getting the most from training.
    • Simply following a plan (just about any plan other than simple riding will do, but TR is one great place to be) will get you moving in the right direction.
  2. With just a year and half under your belt, more time overall in the years, along with #1 above, should continue to get you notable power gains.
  3. Based on both above, I see no reason to resort to targeted body shaping weight loss. Do the training, fuel properly for that training, and let you body shape itself.
  1. Yes, put the time, energy and effort into NAILING whatever plan you do. Missing or under-performing workouts are the easy gets to correct.
  2. Since you mentioned:

I’m not sure why you mention aero. That is such a low factor in most climbing as to be partially ignored. I know that it can be a factor if you add in head winds and such, but in general, climbing is all about power output and weight. Leave you weight to happen on it’s own and work on building your sustainable power in climb efforts.

Aero is fine to pursue, but that is a very different discussion and should take place in a separate thread.

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thank you very much for your comprehensive reply!

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Below 10% is ripped

I’m not saying you’re not ripped…but how did you come up with that number?

Yeah, guessing that your eyeball isn’t as calibrated as you think. Sub-10% is awfully lean. If you have a lot of muscle mass, you probably are also masking some fat that can go.

Everyone else has been commenting on this - but if you’re nearly 200 lbs at 6’2 it is highly unlikely you’re at 10% body fat

For reference - at 196 lbs and 6’2 you have an ‘overweight’ BMI of 25.2. Either you’re incredibly muscular or you’re carrying a bit of extra fat

if he’s into weightlifting / powerlifting / bodybuilding

Usually that comes along with a heavy obsession in learning just how to guess your BF% by eyeball after having tested with calipers / scales / dexa / electrolysis (rinse repeat 100x over).

It’s not abnormal. I can call my BF% to within a % at almost all times.

Again, you missed the powerlifting part.

I’m 83KG at 13% bf and I’m overweight according to BMI. It’s a very crap measure once you begin to lift heavy

Sorry gents. I didn’t mean to break the rules.

I will however go do a dexa and report back.

Of course if someone has done all the assessments and knows, that’s one thing. Much as I can probably guess my FTP within a % or 2 at any given time… that’s taken a number of years of comparing with FTP tests, etc.

There was no mention of prior testing throughout the thread that I saw.

In no post by the OP do I see any reference to lifting or power lifting

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Why was the post flagged? Seems to me the picture confirms the reported BF% and is relevant to the conversation. Is there an issue with posting pictures?

My BMI is roughly the same as you and I’m 13% bf on Dexa. My scale says I’m overweight. I lift weights and don’t look terribly thin or overly muscular. I can lose a few more lbs of fat but looks like you will have to sacrifice some muscle.

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At a guess: Full-body underwear selfies should be behind some kind of content warning.


Chad really nailed it on points 1-3. If you can stay consistent and follow those reminders you’ll start to see your FTP climb and your body will do what it needs to in terms of fat percentage. This will ultimately drive up your Watts/kg. Given the amount of time and consistency you’ve worked with structured training you have a lots of room to grow.

Keep at it. You’ll get there!