Optimal off season body fat percentage - ABCbodybuilding

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Old 11-12-2009, 10:54 PM
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Default Optimal off season body fat percentage

Hey guys, I have done a lot of research and it seems that most people seem to say that off season hormonal gains are optimal at around 10-12% body fat, however for those with contest aspirations, it is probably better to start a gaining cycle at around 8% body fat and work your way up to around a 12% cutoff.

I have also read that 6-10% is a better offseason range because it allows one to get in shape in a shorter amount of time even though the hormonal environment maybe less optimal. It's a tradeoff.

It is pretty widely stated that body fat levels of 4-5% are too lean for most people to gain muscle and hormones/performance will be poor.

Just curious if you guys thought there would be a HUGE difference in me starting my offseason phase at around 6% and working up to 10% versus starting at 8% and working up to ~12% in terms of hormones/ muscle-fat ratio gains and performance. I know everyone is different, but just based on averages...THANKS.

So option A: Diet down to 6-7%, do offseason gaining phase until 10% body fat is reached, then repeat cycle dieting down to 6-7% or 3-5% if contest approaching. Slightly worse hormonal environment, life way easier, shorter contest prep....

Option B: Diet down to ~8-10%, work way up to 12%, then diet down. Better hormonal environment, longer dieting pre contest.....

Thoughts?

Last edited by MJR; 11-12-2009 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 11-12-2009, 11:59 PM
Charles Izzo Charles Izzo is offline
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I never competed, but I have had to lose fat before and I can tell you what I think based on that. The more fat you have to lose the harder it is and the longer it will take for you to reach your final goal. The longer it takes for you to reach your final goal, the greater the hormonal difficulties you will have when you finally get there. For that reason it will be even harder for you to lose those last few lbs and the fat will come back on much easier.

On the other hand if you stay less than 10% all year long you will have much less weight to lose when you cut. Much easier. And you get to look good all year long too.
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:17 AM
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how r u testing for body fat percentage? ive gotten tested at my gym a bunch of times where they have 3 test locations: chest, stomach, and thigh. i believe those things have an error of about +/- 3%. I know they've told me i was at 6% 3 different times i went, but i did not look like i was at 6%. so i dont know how your exactly going to tell whether you are at 6-7% or 8-10% to kno which option you are actually doing?
i would say you are over-thinking this. 1-2% difference is not that much and prolly very difficult to test for without you being dead and actually cutting you open to see. so i would say you can use the body fat test to see if you are decreasing or increasing in body fat percentage but use the mirror and how you think you look to know when to stop cutting and when to stop bulking.
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Old 11-13-2009, 02:30 AM
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Thats why I think it is more important to have a way of measuring that is consistent. Personally I use the electronic type every time. I don't know how accurate it is, but at least I know it is consistent. If I lost weight I can tell for sure if it is all fat or not.
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Old 11-13-2009, 11:42 AM
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One theory is that we have a bodyfat set point which below this gains will be hindered.
The problem is that this is going to vary on the body type of the individual. If you have a mesomorph it may be 10-12 %, but they have so much muscle and such as high metabolism this will easily be cut when dieting. For an ectomorph it may be 6-8 because they are always going to be lean, and for a endomorph it may be > 12 %. Clearly the endomorph is at a serious disadvangage because their gains are going to be optimized at a bit higher BF %, but they have a very hard time dieting. For this group they are going to have to have a happy medium and shoot for not going over 12 %. It just because too hard to diet it off. I am definately an endomorph and have tried maintain 6-8 % BF year round and found myself getting smaller. Whereas when I have ranged from 8-12 I have enough wiggle room and calories to make consistant gaisn, and yet and not too far from being really lean.

Bottom line dont put on what you cant diet off without becoming small
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:44 PM
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Prez. hits it on the money.

Keep in mind that you can increase the number and size of your fat cells. When you lose weight, however, your fat cells can atrophy but will not decrease in number. So, when you lose wt. your metabolism slows in an effort to bring you back to your previous weight and when you gain weight your metabolism quickens to bring you back to your lower weight. This slow down and increase of metabolism due to weight is because of LPL (Lipoprotein Lipase activity). LPL is an enzyme that promotes fat storage and it's activity is increased when someone is losing weight or is calorie restricted. There seems to be a gene that increases LPL production during weight loss or caloric restriction, thus promoting more fat storage.
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Old 11-14-2009, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by President Wilson View Post
One theory is that we have a bodyfat set point which below this gains will be hindered.
The problem is that this is going to vary on the body type of the individual. If you have a mesomorph it may be 10-12 %, but they have so much muscle and such as high metabolism this will easily be cut when dieting. For an ectomorph it may be 6-8 because they are always going to be lean, and for a endomorph it may be > 12 %. Clearly the endomorph is at a serious disadvangage because their gains are going to be optimized at a bit higher BF %, but they have a very hard time dieting. For this group they are going to have to have a happy medium and shoot for not going over 12 %. It just because too hard to diet it off. I am definately an endomorph and have tried maintain 6-8 % BF year round and found myself getting smaller. Whereas when I have ranged from 8-12 I have enough wiggle room and calories to make consistant gaisn, and yet and not too far from being really lean.

Bottom line dont put on what you cant diet off without becoming small
Cool thanks. How accurate do you find the 1-site iliac crest method with the conversion chart (in mm) vs. the 3-4 or 7 site jackson-pollock methods (which tend to underestimate by around 3% or so)?

I know no system is perfect, I'm just trying to be as accurate as possible without getting expensive hydrostatic testing.

Thanks.

Last edited by MJR; 11-15-2009 at 03:17 AM.
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Old 11-14-2009, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJR View Post
Cool thanks. How accurate do you find the 1-site iliac crest method with the conversion chart (in mm) vs. the 3-4 or 7 site jackson-pollock methods (which tend to underestimate by around 3% or so)?

I know no system is perfect, I'm just trying to be as accurate as possible without getting expensive hydrostatic testing.

Right now, I'm clocking in around a 6.5mm reading on my iliac crest and I'm 25 years old, putting me at 7.3%. My goal is to get to 5.5mm, which would put me at 6.10% on the chart, and then I'll maintain that, switching over to a gaining phase (keep in mind I am an ectomorph with a slight mesomorph component), not a super fast metabolism, but slightly above average, and a 6'1-6'2 frame with 29inch waist/6inch wrist and decent muscle building genetics (better than most ectos). Most of the multi-site tests place me slightly higher (once I add in the 3% for visceral fat)....

Thanks.
My accu measure seems to work on a bell curve compared to the JP test. When I am getting low for a contest it seems to read a bit higher which in my opinion is due to the fact that my lower abs, and rear upper thigh fat is the last to go. However, when I started cutting is read a bit lower then the JP. however, it was comparable when I was in the 8-10% area it seemed to read the same.

The bottom line for my is to use the 1 site test simply for relevancy. I use it not so much to test my body fat as to monitor whether I am going up or down.

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Old 11-15-2009, 03:17 AM
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Cool, but if one wanted to get the CLOSEST possible accurate body fat % using ANY of the caliper methods, what would be the best---

I re did all my #'s today and got the following (had my brother do it, who is VERY accurate and well-trained, has done over 100 readings):
chest: 3mm
abs: 7mm
thigh: 7mm
tricep: 4mm
subscapular: 6mm
suprailiac/iliac crest: 4mm
midaxillary: 4mm
bicep: 3mm
calf: 4.5mm
lower back: 6mm

got the following percentages:

1 site iliac accu measure chart: 4.30%
3 site jackson pollock: 4.40%
4 site jackson pollock: 4.40%
7site jackson pollock: 4.03%
9 Site Parillo: 7.52%

Now, I have heard that you typically have to add ~3% (or 2-4% for visceral fat) to most caliper equations (I'm assuming the Jackson Pollocks are a standard) which only measure the 'pinchable' subcutaneous/outer layer fat. But the Parillo seems to already take this extra visceral fat into account for its eqauation.

So based on this, I would be roughly 7.03-7.52% if I HAD to guess, which couldn't be 100% without an official autopsy report, lol, or maybe underwater testing, which is expensive.

My goal is to get to 6.00-7.00% (actual/legit). I know that for competing, you need 3mm or less on all readings (as low as 1.5-2mm, ****)--but at this point that is not my goal....I just want 6.00-7.00 to maintain, and then gain up to around 10.00 and repeat....i WOULD like to compete in a couple years, but i'm still just barely a COMPETITIVE middleweight at 165ish (if i was 20% bf, i would easily be considered an offseason "heavyweight" but what's the point?) and would prefer to compete as a light heavyweight or even a heavyweight...i am patient

Any advice on getting the MOST LEGIT accuracy from calipers & various equations...would be greatly appreciated!!! (like what pros use who use calipers & equations)

I know i know i know people are going to say "bro dont worry about the % just focus on the change if you're going up or down" and this is true to measure progress i couldn't agree more, but just for the sake of CURIOSITY, i would like to know the MOST accurate #.

THANKS!

Last edited by MJR; 11-15-2009 at 03:25 AM.
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  #10  
Old 11-15-2009, 10:22 AM
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finding bodyfat percentage is over rated when competing no judge will ask how low you are they just look so use a mirror for guidence not calipers
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