The perception of body fat in terms of percentages isn’t what everyone expects. Many think you need to have a super low body fat percentage to see your abs, which isn’t true. It’s also very common to underestimate how much body fat you really have.
If you tell someone who diets consistently and exercises 5-6 times per week, they’re still well over 18% body fat they look like they might go into shock.
So when will your abs be visible, and how much body fat will you have?
For men, the definition of being “ripped” is sub 8% body fat. But you’ll start to see your abs, well before you get there.
20-25% Body Fat
Usually 10-20 pounds overweight.
This is where the majority of men will find themselves. You have a noticeable layer of body fat, and are “soft” on most of your body. You’ve likely accumulated excess fat around your mid section, or your lower back.
18-20% Body Fat
You’re in shape and look athletic. Your arms have definition and you can see the outline of your abs, but they don’t pop. It doesn’t mean they aren’t well developed, you just can’t see the grooves between the abdominal muscles.
15-17% Body Fat
You’re noticeably muscular and vascular, with good muscle separation across all muscle groups. The top of your abdominals have become more visible, and the interior of your abs might begin to show visible separation.
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9-14% Body Fat
This is non-competitive ripped.
You have a six pack, and are very toned on all muscle groups. Your muscles, however, don’t look “dry”. There’s still a softness, and you still look like a human instead of something that was carved from stone.
5-8% Body Fat
This is the definition of “ripped”.
When you see a picture of a bodybuilder on stage, where you can see the striations in every muscle, they’re likely below 7% body fat. It takes an incredible amount of discipline to reach this level, but you’ll look like a walking statue.