What is the cost of being lean? What does it take to get to the sort of body fat levels that most people aspire to? In this week’s Insights, I borrow from the brilliant infographic by Precision Nutrition which helps to focus the mind on what a healthy amount of body fat is.
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Topics Discussed in this Episode:
- The Cost of Getting Lean infographic by Precision Nutrition
- What certain percentages of body fat mean and the types of people that have them
- What it takes to have a certain amount of body fat in terms of food intake, diet planning, sleep, and exercise.
- Sometimes there is such a thing as skinny fat. So you can be skinny on the outside but have quite a lot of visceral fat, which is fat around the organs, fat within the body, and that can be very unhealthy.
- Having more than 20% body fat for males and more than 30% body fat for females is unhealthy.
- Having between 15% and 20% body fat for males and between 25% to 30% body fat is healthy.
- In a healthy state, women are always going to carry more body fat than men.
- Olympic, canoe and kayak athletes, professional baseball and softball players, have 13% to 15% body fat for males and 23% to 25% body fat for females.
- Olympic swimmers, professional hockey players, and Olympic volleyball players maintain a body fat percentage of between 10% and 12% for males and between 20% and 22% for females.
- Olympic-level boxers, wrestlers, sprinters, and gymnasts have 6% to 9% body fat for males and 16% to 19% body fat for females.
- It shouldn’t necessarily be an ambition to get super lean but more to enjoy life and still have healthy percentages of body fat.
- Be aware of what it takes to be lean.
- When you measure fitness, go by what you’re able to achieve with your body and less about what it looks like.
“You can have a healthy lifestyle that is not very hard to maintain but still have up to 22% body fat for women or 12% for males, even 25% for women or 15% for males. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go much lower than that unless there’s a good reason why you need to.”
“It’s good to have a certain amount of body fat. You’ve got that as a reserve if you like. Trying to get any leaner than that does not always bring the benefits that you might expect, and it’s much harder than you’re probably anticipating.”
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