What is an Ideal Body Fat Percentage I Should Be Shooting For?

So let’s say I start putting all of these principles into practice. I am pumpin’ weights, busting out miles of cardio, and gnawing on protein, fat, and veggies. You are looking to lose fat and lower your body fat percentage, but what is a realistic target I should have for an ideal body fat percentage?

Ideal Weekly Fat Loss Target

As we talked about before in our previous post, according to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), you should only lose about 2 pounds a week at max. That would be about .5% body fat each week. The same would be said on the other end if you are looking at gaining lean mass.

Either direction you are going, trust me when I say these habits you establish quickly starts to pile on itself over time. Often a few percents of body fat or lean mass can be the difference between solid health and risk for heart disease. It all comes down to being consistent and patient with your efforts. You just need to know where you are going.

Ideal Body Fat Percentage Target

So as we asked, “What ideal body fat percentage should I be shooting for?” Well an ideal body fat percentage for men may be in the range of 5-14% and an ideal body fat percentage for women may be 11-20%. The ideal body fat percentage for males is a bit lower because women carry more fat for reasons such as child bearing. Women get to look more lean with more fat. Anything below or above the ranges I gave starts to come with some potential health concerns.

Here is a table to help you know ideal body fat percentages:

Body TypeTranslationMaleFemale
Professional CompetitionSell your body for money (joke!)2-5%9-11%
AthletesIroning clothes on your abs (Dangerous!)6-9%12-15%
Solid Shape People gawking about you and adds on Facebook10-14%16-20%
TypicalTruffle Shuffle for local talent show an option15-19%21-25%
Some Work To DoAvoid belts and stick with rope and suspenders20-25%26-30%
Health RiskYou have definitely beaten Anorexia26%31%

Focus On Your Goals

As I have mentioned before, it doesn’t make very much sense to go from Oregon to Arizona, but then say it would be nice to go to Canada at the same time. Last I checked Canada is in the opposite direction. This is kinda similar with your health goals.  If you are scattered with what you want, then you tend to be slower on getting to your goals.

As we mentioned you will probably lose some muscle as you try to lose fat. You will gain some fat as you try to gain muscle. But for the most part if you are clear with your goals and follow the Know My Body plan of attack, then you should be looking and feeling great in no time.  If you are lost at where to start, then focus first on losing body fat.

This is a constant tweaking process where you are moving dials up and down. It is like you are the DJ of your body. Body DJ? Maybe…

The Right Mindset

If you are patient with your goals, you will get something more than just achieving a great body fat percentage.  You will understand what the heck is going on with your body. Whether it is good or bad, you will understand the dials you must turn stay or get back on track toward your ideal body fat percentage.

About the Author Glen

Glen is an Ex-personal trainer with a passion for health and Fitness. He has trained a variety of clients with goals ranging from weight loss and improved overall fitness to improved speed, strength, and sport performance. In his spare time, Glen enjoys traveling, reading, golf, softball, poker, and rooting for the Atlanta Braves and Jacksonville Jaguars.

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