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Body Fat Percentage Guide for Men

By Jeremy Likness of

What does ten percent (10%) body fat look like? Have you ever wondered how you would appear at a certain body fat percentage? I have documented my fitness progress for several years. This is a guide to various levels of body fat to help you get an idea of what to expect. I will be introducing a similar guide for women soon.

For a reference point, I am 5'10".

This list is organized in descending order of body fat percentage and not chronologically. Yes, like many other people, I do have times when I backslide and get out of shape. Sometimes I purposefully bulk, but a few examples were nothing but sheer laziness that I had to shake myself out of!

To learn more about my story, how to measure body fat and other ways to create and measure your success, download my eBook, "Become the Journey: A Transformation Guide."

Weight: 245+ lbs , Bodyfat: 30% or higher, Waist: 42"bodybuilding body building

This is where I started. The picture was taken AFTER losing several pounds - this is the first "before-style" picture that I took. I have other pictures at even heavier weights. I have not included those in this guide because I do not know what my exact weight nor body fat percent measurement was when those pictures were taken.

workout exerciseWeight: 220 lbs Bodyfat: 20% Waist: 38"

This was one of my first bulking phases. Notice that while I have more muscle definition, my love handles aren't as noticeable because my ENTIRE GUT is larger - you'll see later on that I selectively begin to store fat just in the love handle region, and actually look larger at lower body fat and weight!

Weight: 210 lbs Bodyfat: 16 - 18% Waist: 38" workout exercise

Here is an example of how your body may change how you store fat. I actually look quite large, due to the prominent love handles. I began measuring LEANER in places such as my arms, chest, and legs, and the fat gained was all around my midsection. When I gain fat during stressful periods, this is how it accumulates.

lose weight bodyfatWeight: 210 lbs Bodyfat: 14 - 16% Waist: 36"

I am the same weight as the previous picture, but a lower body fat percentage. The love handles aren't as prominent, and you can clearly see a little more muscle tone. Your ultimate goal should be to increase weight while reducing body fat, but as you can see, it may take some phases of gaining and losing first.

Weight: 188 lbs Bodyfat: 10% Waist: 32"lose weight bodyfat

Notice the massive drop in waist size, despite a smaller drop in body fat, demonstrating how I store my fat. This was the first time that I reached a lower level of body fat, almost at single digits. Note that the abdominal definition is there, but very faint. Interestingly, while I look much more muscular in this picture (mainly due to the fat no longer hiding the muscle) I was at my weakest, unable to bench press more than 190 pounds or dead-lift more than around 200.

lose weight bodyfatWeight: 192 lbs Bodyfat: 10% Waist: 32"

An example of the same body fat, but with much more muscle mass. This was after I leaned down to 6% and then did a bulking phase that lasted several months. In my experience, bulking after becoming lean is the way to add the most quality muscle. Any time that I have bulked when already at a higher (over 10%) body fat, I have gained more fat than muscle.

Weight: 188 lbs Bodyfat: 8% Waist: 32"burn fat bodyfat

When you compare this to the first picture at 188 pounds, you can see how a few body fat percentage points can make a major difference. In this picture, my abs are clearly defined and there is much more vascularity than in the previous picture when I weighed 188 pounds at 10% body fat.

burn fat bodyfat Weight: 178 lbs Bodyfat: 7% Waist: 31"

This was a leaning cycle that I did using a vegan-style diet. I actually averaged only around about half of my body weight (around 95 grams) of protein, with 300 grams of carbohydrate while dropping over 30 pounds in a 12-week timeframe. At 7%, my abs are clearly defined, but they still lack the hard separation that a bodybuilder on stage with 6% or more would have. You can see that my love handles are now simply well-developed obliques, rather than fat deposits, and you can see the contour of my hip. The lower abs are still partially obscurred by a layer of fat below the navel. I believe that the inclusion of carbs helped me reach this level at my strongest - my bench press was 280 pounds and dead-lift was 415 pounds when this picture was taken.

Weight: 178 lbs Bodyfat: 6.5% Waist: 30" burn fat bodyfat

This is the lowest body fat I have acquired. Believe it or not, I would still need to lose another 5 - 10 pounds to be in condition to step on stage for a bodybuilding competition! The abdominal separation is clearly visible (although I did put too much "shine" on my body, so the highlights overpower some of the detail). You can see some striations in the muscle and vascularity as well. Note the visible difference in just 1/2 percent of body fat (give or take, these are never entirely accurate) as compared with the previous picture at 178 pounds.

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