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