Evaluate Men and Women Body Fat Levels

Body Fat Picture Descriptions Of Men


Body Fat Percentage Men 3-4%

Bodybuilders can drop as low as 3-4% body fat when preparing
for bodybuilding competitions. This body fat level is characterized by extreme
vascularity, so that veins are visible over just about every muscle in the body.
There is clear separation between muscles, and striations visible on almost
every muscle. The buttocks (I’ll spare you a back picture) even has striations,
some vascularity, with little fat. If your buttocks doesn’t have any body fat,
you’ve got VERY low body fat! Essential fat for a man is around 2%, which is the
basic amount of fat a man needs for the body to function (fat protects internal
organs in the chest and abdomen).

Body Fat Percentage Men 6-7%

Approximately 6-7% body fat for a man is a bit less extreme
than competition bodybuilders, but it’s still hovering at a level that is not
sustainable for most men. Around this level, or slightly less, the face becomes
gaunt, and your family starts worrying about you. This 6-7% body fat level,
which is achieved by many male fitness models when doing photoshoots, is
characterized by muscle definition in all muscles and clear vascularity in most
muscles including arms, legs, and even abs. Vascularity over the abs muscle is a
sign of very low body fat. Clear separation of muscles as well.

Body Fat Percentage Men 10-12%

This is a sustainable level for most men where you should be
able to see your abs, but they will likely not be as defined as a man in the
6-7% body fat range. This body fat range is the classic beach body look that
most men want and many women love. While not very defined, there is separation
between muscles, some muscle striations potentially in the shoulders, or arms,
but striations are not showing on every muscle. Vascularity is typically limited
to the arms, with a little possibly on the legs.

Body Fat Percentage Men 15%

The 15% body fat level is usually within the “lean and fit”
category in most body fat percentage charts. The outlines of muscle can be seen,
but there is no clear separation between them. Vascularity is usually a bit more
limited as are muscle striations, which are typically covered by a thin layer of
fat. The overall shape is still there, which can create an aesthetic appearance
despite less muscle definition. 

Body Fat Percentage Men 20%

Separation between muscles starts to blur, almost no
vascularity, or striations can be seen, typically there is a small stomach pouch
of fat, the look is “soft” but not very round. Most guys I come across in NYC
are within the 20-25% body fat range. Other parts of the country, or world, that
range may be skewed higher or lower. A 5’11”man who weighs 180lb and has 145lb
of lean body mass (the average) will have 20% body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Men 25%

There is little to no separation of muscles, no vascularity,
or muscle striations, waist begins to increase quite substantially with a waist
to hip ratio as high as 0.9 (waist circumference/hip circumference). So a 5’10”
man may have a 36+ inch waist. This man may have a little neck fat, but may not
look like he has 25% body fat in normal clothing. Over 25% body fat for a man is
considered obese, and over a 40 inch waist is considered abdominal obesity. 

Body Fat Percentage Men 30%

There is more fat all around the body at the 30% level
including waist, back, thighs, and calves. The waist looks larger relative to
the hips, and the stomach will likely be protruding over the waist noticeably.
There is no muscle separation. 

Body Fat Percentage Men 35%

As men get heavier and heavier gaining more fat, most of the
fat is funneled right in the stomach. The 35% level is characterized by more
significant protrusion of stomach fat over the waist. This is the beer gut kind
of look. Waist circumferences can be 40+ inches for a man with 35% body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Men 40%

Similar to the 35% level, even more fat accumulates in the
stomach and waist region, so that waist sizes can approach 45 inches, or more.
At this level, basic every day activities like walking up stairs, or bending
over to pick something up becomes increasingly difficult. This body fat level is
approaching morbidly obese, which is characterized by a BMI over 35. To put it
in better perspective, a 5’11” man who weighs 270lb and has 160lb of lean body mass has 40% body fat.

Christian Bale in Batman Begins at 15-17% body fat.
Christian Bale at 11% body fat for American Psycho.
Oliver Queen from the TV series “Arrow” at 10% body fat.

Unless you are a professional
bodybuilder or a fitness model you don’t need to be under 10% BF ever.
Manny Pacquiao at 5% body fat deshydrated for the boxing weigh-in

Body Fat Picture Descriptions Of Women


Body Fat Percentage Women 10-12%

This is an extremely low body fat level typically attained by
female bodybuilders. Essential fat for women is round 8-10% compared to 2% for
men. Why the difference? Women have more fat in breast tissue and the area
surrounding the uterus. This level of body fat is not considered safe, or
healthy for women who will be unable to menstruate. Striations of muscle,
separation between muscles, clear vascularity are all noticeable at this level.
The women in the photo is likely at the higher end of the range at 12% body fat
because she is not too vascular.

Body Fat Percentage Women 15-17%

This is still considered a very low body fat for women, which
is similar to the 6-7% body fat for range men. Many bikini and fitness models
will reach this body fat level and some may not be able to menstruate. Muscle
definition in the abs, legs, arms, and shoulders is apparent, there is some
vascularity and some separation between muscles. Hips, buttocks, and thighs
generally have a little less shape because of the low body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Women 20-22%

This is body fat percentage is usually in the “fit” category
of most body fat charts and is typical of many female athletes. Some definition
in the abs is apparent, there is body fat on the arms and legs, but it’s not too
pronounced. There is minimal, but some separation between muscles. 

Body Fat Percentage Women 25%

This is on the low end of what’s average for most women and is
characterized by a shape that is neither too slim, nor overweight. Curves in the
hips are usually more apparent along with more fat in the buttocks and thighs. A
5’4” women who weighs 130lb and has 97lb of lean body mass has 25% body fat.

Body Fat Percentage Women 30%

While most men have fat funnel into their stomachs, as the
body fat of most women (but certainly not all) increases, this fat tends to
accumulate in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. At 30% body fat, the hips, thighs,
and buttocks are more pronounced and round. This is considered the high end of
average for women in many body fat charts.

Body Fat Percentage Women 35%

The hips become even wider at this level of body fat and the
face and neck will appear rounder and more full. Hip circumference can start
approaching 40+ inches and waist circumference of 32+ inches. Some belly fat may
start protruding over the waist as well.

Body Fat Percentage Women 40%

The hips and thighs grow larger so that hip circumference can
reach 42+ inches, waist of 35 inches, and thighs over 25 inches.

Body Fat Percentage Women 45%

The skin may begin to lose its smooth appearance as more and
more fat accumulates. Hip Circumference can may reach 45 inches+ and waist
circumference 35+ inches. The hips may become noticeably wider than the

Body Fat Percentage Women 50%

The will likely look like it has dimples more fat accumulates.
Hip Circumference can may reach 45+ inches and waist circumference 40+ inches
and thighs above 30+ inches. The hips will likely be noticeably wider than the shoulders. To put it in better perspective, a 5’4” women
who weighs 200lb and has 100lb of lean body mass has 50% body fat.

Moral of the story. We are all fatter than we think we are.
How to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage
An easy but inaccurate way to measure or at least have an idea of your body fat level is the Anthropometric / U.S. Navy method / YMCA formula. 
This method takes waist, neck, and height circumference for men and
hips, neck, and height for women. A U.S. Navy Method calculator is available on this website
Otherwise for a more accurate measure of your body fat. Ask a gym trainer to do it with a skin fold caliper.

However the water displacement test is the most accurate way to determine body fat percent. This method is expensive and requires special equipments.

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