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Pictorial: What to expect (visually) as you lose fat.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

February
13
2014

While everyone is different, men tend to store and lose body fat from the same locations and in the same order (more or less–YMMV). So, using myself as an example, here’s a look at what you might expect to see at various body fat percentages.

After a month or so of a piss-poor diet and not much riding or exercise, when I started my 2014 cut in January my body fat was over 12%. At that body fat level, which is very high for me, I don’t like how I look: my abs are blurry, my vascularity is almost non-existent, my muscle definition is not very pronounced and even my face looks puffy. Check those love handles:

I'm about 11% body fat here.

I’m about 11% body fat here.

 

Once I drop below 10% body fat, which I did this past week (9.3% as of last Sunday), all that starts to change for the better–and fast! Once I’m below 10% body fat my upper abs begin to cut up, muscle separation/definition is more apparent, my face loses most its puffiness and my vascularity begins to return (especially when I’m warm and/or exercising):

At about 9% body fat I begin to see some quad separation.

At about 9% body fat I begin to see some quad separation.

 

Once I hit 8% body fat my lower 2 abs start to come in, my upper 4 abs become super etched, my muscle separation and definition further increases and my vascularity is obvious at all times:

Right below 8% body fat here.

Right below 8% body fat here.

 

At 6% body fat my entire abdominal wall is fully etched, muscle separation and definition become extremely pronounced (striations are visible), vascularity pops at all times (and is especially freaky when I’m moving iron):

I'm about 6% body fat in this photo.

I’m about 6% body fat in this photo.

About 6% here...

About 6% here…

Well-defined abs are achieved by lowering your body fat. My body fat is about 6% in this photo, and my abs are showing nicely.

Well-defined abs are achieved by lowering your body fat. My body fat is about 6% in this photo, and my abs are showing nicely.

 

Remember, you can not control where the fat comes off: that’s 100% determined by genetics. There’s no such thing as “spot reduction” (for example, crunches do not target belly fat–that’s just not how our bodies work). If you want your abs to show the only thing you can do is continue to lose fat until the fat in your abdominal area comes off (if you’re like most men, the mid-section is the first place we store fat and the last place we lose it). For more information on this subject, check out my article “How do I get a six pack”?

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Pictorial: What to expect (visually) as you lose fat.”
  1. Nice post! It really highlights the fact that if you want to get ripped and not just lean, you have to go all the way. It’s so easy to underestimate the full extent of what it takes. 11-12% already looks lean, but getting down to 6% (even from that point) is a multi-month endeavor requiring a lot of self-discipline and dedication, as you know better than anyone.

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