So as many of you may know by now, I am training for a fitness competition that takes place in July. Some of you have asked how lean you need to get in order to step on stage. The honest truth is it depends, which of course is a crappy answer and I wanted to be able to give you a better one. So, I decided to share with you where I am now and then update you on how lean I end up at showtime in a later blog.
Now having been around the competition block a few times before, I can share some details with you about my past experience as well. Last time I competed I started at about 22% body fat and ended up at 9% body fat. The general consensus for where you need to be on a figure stage, is in the range of 7-10%. Of course this is incredibly low, but keep in mind this is not a body fat percentage you will be maintaining year-round.
Kim Oddo, who trained Nicole Wilkins, four-time IFBB Figure Olympia champion, agrees that maintaining a super low body fat percentage year round is not healthy. He suggests an off-season body fat percentage of about 12-14% for figure competitors. As for the regular folks? According to most scientifically accepted body fat percentage charts, anywhere from 14-24% is healthy and 25-30% is average for women. Anything above that falls into the overweight or obese categories.
Ranges for men are a bit different, as they naturally have lower body fat percentages. Built Lean has a great chart showing the difference between male and female categories. I personally like to fall under 20% year-round as that feels fairly easy for me to maintain, but since I’m competing this year I wish I had stayed leaner so that prep would’ve been less work.
Back to the task at hand….in order to get my body fat tested I called PRO TRAINER, Mike Kelly, of We Mean Fitness in Ottawa. Mike has been personal training for over 20 years and I knew I would be in good hands. In order to get the most accurate results, we used Intelametrix’s BodyMetrix test which uses ultrasound technology to assess body composition. As you can see above, this machine provides you with a real-time scan of your muscle and fat layers.
The entire test took about 5 minutes to complete. Other than having to show a bit of skin and wipe off some ultrasound goo, the test was pretty non-invasive. We decided to measure three body points, although you can measure up to seven or more. As you can see below, the test showed that I currently have a body fat percentage of 17.8%, with 106.9 lbs of lean body mass and 23.1 lbs of fat, which puts me in the athletic range.
So that means that I have at least 7.5% body fat to lose before competition day, which is 14 weeks away. Can I do it? We will see! I asked Mike to re-test me the week of my competition so that we can determine what the difference is (if any, lol). I will post some more pictures then too, so you can visually see the difference between 17% body fat and (hopefully) 10% body fat.
If you’re curious and want your body fat tested, you can contact Mike at www.wemeanfitness.com or buy your own BodyMetrix system at www.Intelametrix.ca (I noticed they’ve got a Spring Sale on now) so you can test yourself or your clients whenever you like! I highly recommend this system if you are a trainer or nutritionist etc., and looking to diversify your business. That’s all for now, stay tuned for part 2!