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Physiology Fundamentals: Back To Basics.

Estimating body fat percentage(bf%) and calculating Lean Body Weight(lbm). part 3.

Check out Part 1 & Part 2 of this Series!

Finally, we are going to delve into the thick of visual body fat % estimation. All these markers are based on experienced lifters. Fret not, if you have as little as 6 months of time-under-the-bar with compound lifts, rest assured that you've ample musculature to qualify. If that is not the case, why on the God's green Earth you're concerned with body fat % just yet! Go check out Beginners Guide to Muscle Growth I’ll start with the lowest values here and point out the most prominent visual attributes for every range of body fat percentage.
1-2% body fat : You are dead. Seriously. the last 2% of fat is in your spinal cord and brain. You want to lose that too?

3-4% body fat : This is the territory of the most successful pro bodybuilders famous for their “conditioning”, the likes of Helmut strebl and Andreas munzer. Have you heard stories about bodybuilders collapsing or even worse, dying on the stage? they die in this range of body fat. (due to various cumulative reasons, which i might address later)
helmut sterbl 
at 4% body fat. notice the highlights helmut sterbl at 4% body fat. notice the highlights munzer at 3-4% body fat. notice the highlighted muscle straitions
Every individual muscle striation is visible. Extreme Vascularity everywhere goes without saying. They are living and walking 3D anatomy charts. Paper thin skin. If you see them chewing, all the striations of the jaw dance in an unsettling manner.

4-6% body fat : The realm of top Fitness Models and most bodybuilders. Striations in one or two major muscle groups may appear without flexing. With flexing striations can be seen. vascularity everywhere and especially over lower abs is the prominent and defining feature. Intercostal muscles are sharply defined with deep cuts.
picture of someone at 6% body 
fat with extensive lower abs veins picture of someone at 6% body fat with extensive lower abs veins picture of someone at 6% body fat with extensive lower 
abs veins

6-8% body fat : The realm of most Fitness models and social media fitness “celebs”. The defining feature is clear cut Abs with a deep wedge like formation underneath and Hollow cheeks. Intercostals appear clear enough. You should notice that all the lower bf % levels have wedges and hollow cheeks as well but they have something unique to set them apart.
at 7-8% deep wedges underneath abs is the defining feature at 7-8% deep wedges underneath abs is the defining feature at 7-8% deep wedges underneath abs is the defining feature

8-10% body fat :There is clear outline of abs but only the upper four abs are defined, lower abs are soft. Vascularity only in arms and a little in shoulders. Face is defined but not gauntly hollow. think along the lines of models and actors. If your abs don’t have four deep wedges you’re above 8% body fat.
at 9% body fat clear cut abs without deep wedges at 9% body fat clear cut abs without deep wedges at 9% body fat clear cut abs without deep wedges

10-13% body fat : There is a blurred outline of abs. Maybe the first two upper abs are slightly defined. No love handles, they appear just after this level. Vascularity only in arms. The defining feature is thin separation between Abs and obliques all around. this shallow depression is the first sign that sharp "6-packs" are coming.
blurred outline of abs at 10-13% body fat blurred outline of abs at 10-13% body fat blurred
 outline of abs at 10-13% body fat

13-16% body fat : Blurred outline of abs here and there. Little vascularity only in arms. the defining feature is that you can pinch fat at lower abs and lower back . Love handles are tightening up but still there.
pinchable love handles at 15% body fat pinchable love handles at 15% body fat
From here on, muslce developement plays the most pivoting role in the overall look. Two guys at 15% bf will look radically different in terms of leanness if one is well developed and other isn't.
two guys at 15% body fat looking radically different you can still see that pinchable fat at sides in both of the pictures. so if anyone is all flexing in your face like "feel them gainzz brah, i'm 8% rippped fuaarrkk!!!" pinch their love handles and link them to this page.

16-19% body fat : No outline of abs, tummy starts to form. Prominent feature is slight paunch at lower abdominals. looks skinny-fat with little muscle development. Looks full and thick with good muscle development along with slight vascularity in arms.
slight lower ab paunch at 17% body fat slight lower ab paunch at 17% body fat slight lower
 ab paunch at 17% body fat

20-24% body fat : Very prominent love handles. Belly starts to protude. Neck fat is present. defining feature is that waist is as wide as back and the lower abdominal paunch hangs.
hanging paunch and wide waist at 22% body fat hanging paunch and wide waist at 22% body fat

25-30% body fat : now we are reaching fat levels where knowing the body fat percentage doesn't matter. your longevity is compromised. start a fat loss regime ASAP. Belly has a considerable hang and the body shape is pear like where waist is wider than the back.
no amount of muscle mass can redeem you now. fat looks fat at 25-30% body fat no amount of muscle mass can redeem you now. fat looks fat at 25-30% body fat no amount of muscle mass can redeem you now. fat looks fat at 25-30% body fat

30-40% body fat : Why i am even doing this...fat is everywhere and then some more. chest fat start rivaling *insert inappropriate slangs here*. If you're anywhere in this range consider my Rapid Fat Loss program
alarmingly obese guys having fun alarmingly obese guys having fun

Here you go, get naked, compare your visual pointers and gauge your body fat percentage. Muliply with your BW, divide by 100 to get the Fat Weight(FW). subtract from BW to get Lean Body Weight/LBM/lbm/fat free mass(FFS)= BW - FW .

ex: |185 lbs, 18% bf|
BW = 185 lbs(84 kg).
FW = 185 x 0.18 (bf% divided by 100) = 33.3 lbs(15.1 kg).
LBW/LBM/FFM = 185 - 33.3 = 151.7 lbs (69 kg).

since i never hold back here is another formula for calculating your body weight at a certain body fat percentage :
LBW / [1 - (bf%/100)]
The same 185 lbs guy in the want to know how much his weight would be at 7% body fat (assuming he won't lose any LBW), he will use this formula like: 151.7 / (1-0.07) = 151.7 / 0.93 = 163 lbs(74 kg).

Check out Part 1 & Part 2 of this Series!


I'm certain that this is the most accurate and exhaustive guide for body fat % estimation ever published on teh interwebs. Help a brother out by sharing it on facebook.