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How I went from 18% to 8% Body Fat


I have been an athlete most of my life. >10 years as a firefighter, and often the lead or one of the leaders when it comes to physical fitness on a crew of people who are all focused on physical fitness. Yet I have never really felt my stomach was as amazing as it could be (6 pack wise). I have done tons of core work, ab exercises, and worked out every day. During fire season, we start almost every day with a hike, carrying a 25lb-35lb pack and I always opt for the extra weight of a 25lb chainsaw and fuel canisters as well, yet am out in front if we are allowed to go at our own pace.

But still, the abs!

My abs dont look this great, but my bellybutton is better
My abs don't look this great, but my bellybutton is better

That is, until I did a bit of research and found out it wasn't lack of muscle, but rather too much fat covering that muscle. I wouldn't call myself fat by a long shot, and my arm muscles and veins are well defined. So I decided to cut my body fat by changing my diet, since my exercise/fitness practices already occupied over 15 hours/week in the off season, and sometimes over 12 hours/day during the fire season.

I discovered macros, short for "macronutrients", categorizing all food intake to three categories: Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates. I started tallying my macros and reduced carbohydrates, increased protein, and I didn't avoid fat. I stopped eating bread, or anything with flour in it. Almost completely eliminated sugar.

I felt great! I started losing body fat, at a rate of about 2% every month. I took my weight daily, on a scale that measures body fat, and it wasn't a straight line down. My daily numbers might look something like this: 18, 18.2, 17.6, 17.3, 17.8, 17.5, 17.6, 17.4, 17.7, 17.9, 17.4, 17.6, 17.8, 17.4, 17.3, 16.9, 17.1, 17.5, 17.4, 17.2, 16.8, etc. fluctuating by 1% or so from day to day, sometimes up, sometimes down, but a general downward trend.

not all scales are accurate
not all scales are accurate

I also checked my body fat using calipers, which I believe is a more accurate measure of body fat than the electronic scale.

cheap, and accurate
cheap, and accurate

I attribute this loss to a couple factors. Mostly I believe I stopped eating so many carbohydrates, which reduced my fat production. Also, I ate more fat, which I also think reduced my fat production. I know that sounds a little weird, but eating fat actually helps reduce fat production, but because your body has the fat it needs, it doesn't feel the need to produce more.

Another big factor is metabolism. As I already have a great metabolism from years of being an athlete, I just kept doing the same things I was doing before: exercising regularly, hydrating, and getting plenty of sleep. If you can speed up your metabolism, your body does the work for you, consuming excess fat.

Eating healthy is key. I don't follow a particular popular diet, but some of the ones that have similarities to my diet: paleo, keto, gluten free. I eat a lot of animal protein and a lot of raw food. I also make my own kefir and kombucha (my kombucha is more strong vinegary and less sweet than store bought kombucha) for probiotic benefits as well as keeping milk for long periods (I only use .25-.5 cup of milk each day in my smoothie, so a gallon of milk lasts over a month, but unless I convert it to kefir, the milk goes bad.)

Takeaways for anyone wanting to reduce body fat %: reduce carbs, exercise, sleep. Don't eat processed food or sugar.

Hope this helps someone :)

How I went from 18% to 8% Body Fat
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Most Helpful Guy

  • genericname85
    yeah this is how it works :D if people would stop reading stupid womens diet magazines, they would stop being fat in a blink of an eye. reduce carbs as much as humanly possible, create caloric deficite and bobs your uncle. it's not rocket science.

    you just don't have to fall for this health industries "fat is the enemy" bullshit. fat is your best friend if you wanne lose weight.
    Is this still revelant?

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What Girls & Guys Said

  • Screenwriter
    Oh SURE! Cut carbs, eat some more bacon and eggs. WHERE's my white chocolate oreos? (only available November to February ANYWAY) Where's my French bread? Where's my morning cereal?
    You sick people. Abs.

    I do joke. It works. But can you live with that level of stringency forever? No beer, no wine, no bread... no white chocolate oreos. Sounds tough.
    • I'm not talking about ketosis. But honestly, I CAN go the rest of my life without oreos of any sort, I'm not that interested in alcohol, and bread I've found is actually just one more addiction that I thought would be a big deal, but isn't really.

    • Not talking addiction. 5-8% body fat is professional athlete level. If you are a competitor in Iron Man or others on the regular, that is reasonable. For ordinary men, 10-15% is lean and healthy. Maybe you can do that. Maybe you're naturally lean to begin with, also. I want to live with moderation, not extremes on either end: denial OR excess. You'll live longer, for sure. But I don't wanna live without a few pleasures: wine, an oreo, an oyster po boy with French bread. None of those should be eaten every day. but man they are fabulous foods... Help make life wonderful. If you're an ascetic, however, that won't be important.

  • dragoblack
    My problem is, im poor and the most affordable things are bread foods and junk foods though i try to cut them out as much as possible. Eating healthy is expensive, especially when you don't/can't grow vegetables and fruits
    • Absolutely a HUGE issue. I just got this insane deal on (sugary) granola bars, for total pice of less than $.04/bar. Very hard to pass up the bargain, but I've also noticed the negative effect they have on my mood if I don't see the immediate effects on my metabolism.

      There are a few cheaper healthy options, like carrots and bananas. But you are right, it is difficult to find healthy food. The nicer, fresh, organic, etc, the more expensive.

  • Anonymous
    Wish women would aim for hardcore abs and low levels of bodyfat and a muscular look rather than being "thick" or calling themselves "curvy" when they're clearly heading towards obesity.
    • while I agree to some extent, I feel at least in the USA obesity is a big problem, we also have issues on the other side of the spectrum with eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, and body dysmorphia.
      Women in general need to aim for about 5%-8% more body fat than men.

      While men at an extreme level can sport body fat percentages as low as 4%-6%, those levels are actually kind of dangerous because at that level your fat is not there as a buffer for energy if/when you get sick, so you really have to be very healthy and balanced. (10%-13% for women)

      My goal is around 8%, and I think women look very good around 15%. On the upper end, I think both men and women can be healthy, but a little "soft" around 16% for men, and 21% for women.

      It would be nice though, I agree, if everyone had nice flat stomachs and healthy physical habits!

  • Anonymous
    I don’t care about your life 😂😂😂😂
    • It’s about your life, not mine.

    • Anonymous

      You don’t know my life

    • Okay? Thanks for stopping by!

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