Don’t bother getting body fat down to sub-10 % levels

There is a downright obsession with “six-pack abs” and low body fat in general in certain corners of the internet. When skimming certain forums, you could be forgiven for thinking that you accidentally arrived at a watering hole for gay men, such is the adoration (“miring”) many guys show for other guys with well-developed abs and big muscles.

Obviously, six-pack abs have benefits. Heck, I used to have one myself. When I was going out a lot, I would sometimes dance half-naked, or cover my upper body minimally with a scarf, or wear a dress jacket, and nothing underneath. This certainly gets you plenty of attention. However, if you are not in an environment in which you can show off your physique, effort spent on getting your body fat levels down to the single-digit percent range is a waste of time and energy. Depending on where you live, your options to parade your body around may indeed be rather limited. There aren’t so may clubs where male patrons wouldn’t get kicked out for showing a lot of skin, in Western countries you normally have to endure the four seasons, and if you don’t live close to a beach, then “getting shredded” just for a few weeks a year may not be worth it.

Please don’t get me wrong: I certainly don’t want to make a case for downing one can of soda after another and replacing your veggies with peanut butter sandwiches. Instead, the point is that if you’re at 12 to 15% body fat and lift, you’ll be fine. This is the case because you won’t run around flashing your abs. With your clothes on, you’ll look athletic, and when you get to play with some “tig ol’ bitties” in your bedroom, she won’t run off because you don’t have chiseled abs.

I’m 6’3″/1.90m. I used to be slender and toned: 160lbs/73kg, sub < 10 % body fat. As I recently learnt, fitness bros have a term for that. They call it “ottermode”. Walking around in a sleeveless shirt, this gets plenty of attention in the kind of night clubs I used to frequent. Plenty of people thought I was doing coke because of my low body fat and very prominent veins. The downside of that look is that if you wear regular clothes, you look pretty weak. Instead of being toned, the image you project is one of a frail guy. A guy in “ottermode” looks better naked than dressed in regular clothes. With most people, it’s the other way around.

I’ve systematically been working on putting on weight, both muscle and fat. Currently, I weigh around 190 lbs/86 kg. My body fat is in the 12 to 15% range. I’m by no means fat. You can still see parts of my rib cage through my skin. I no longer have visible six-pack abs, but you can still easily feel them. I’d say it’s a four-pack but you have to squint a little bit. Overall, though, my physical presence is markedly different as I look quite a bit bigger now. The other day some girl asked me whether I worked out, while I was walking around in a regular sweater. In my “ottermode” days, girls in clubs would have commented that I’m toned and sinewy, but more often than not the next question was whether I wanted to share some of my coke with them.

Other benefits of being in a less extreme range of body fat are that I freeze a lot less. (Winters in Northern Europe can be brutal!) I’m also tempted to say that my face looks better now, “healthier”, as my partner recently phrased it. Again, if you’re thinking I’m advocating the “dad bod” — think again! I’m absolutely not. Go lift some weights, guys, but don’t spend too much energy on getting into the sub-10% body fat category. Sure, if you live in a place where it’s summer all year round and you can pick up girls on the beach, go for it. If that’s not the case, then maybe focus your efforts on areas that give you a much better return on investment.

58 thoughts on “Don’t bother getting body fat down to sub-10 % levels

  1. I think it would certainly get you alot of attention should you have candid pictures of yourself half naked on facebook. If they’re not candid then some girls definitely do think you’re full of yourself and would, at least on tinder, reject you.

    1. I don’t actively use social media, so that’s not an angle I considered. I don’t consider it particularly manly to post pictures of yourself, fishing for “likes” and comments, though. I don’t quite follow why not having pictures of your half-naked self online is the equivalent of being full of oneself. Care to elaborate?

    2. My meaning was, if you yourself post pictures online of your physique, obviously putting on airs, I’ve observed female friends swiping left and showing disapproval. If, however, the picture was posted by a friend and you’re not looking directly at the camera while being engaged in another activity, it’s perfectly okay.

    3. There’s an addiction in the social media world where getting likes on pictures of yourself is akin to getting a promotion at work, at least in dopamine levels. It’s mounting up a very narcissistic society, but also creating cynicism. The gist of it is people will want to show off some new shirt or brag that they’re at the gym, but to not seem super narcissistic, they’ll take pictures of “candid” things they want to make an observation about while fitting them self into the picture. This guy explains it better than I ever could:

    4. Thanks for the clarification. I was confused by the term “candid” with regards to pictures, as they all look staged and very unnatural to me.

  2. I must frequent some of the same websites. I routinely read advice on how people should be under 10% bodyfat, and this will insure you will be beating the women off with a stick. I wish it was that simple. Even if you are in the 15% range, you will still be leaner than two thirds of the other guys in most venues. Heck, just do not have a belly and have an athletic or muscle type build and you should be fine.

    1. I’m one of those people. My physique looks great in clothes in the 12-15% range, but my genetics are such that are store a lot of fat in the face unless I get to 10%…

      At 9-10% i have a chiseled jaw and manly face… at 12-15% my face looks like a soccer ball. Some people have the opposite. Some people can be as high as 20% bodyfat and have a chiseled face.

      As a general rule though for most people, Aaron’s recommendation is a good guideline. You’ll discover if you’re the exception.

    1. Also for the purposes of this advice… Being in the 12-15 range is just another way of saying having a “blurred four pack”. That’s probably the better measurement. Or look at your waist to shoulder ratio. Also better than shooting for an arbitrary number.

      Another way to put it is also “you have a flat belly, but no sixpack”… It’s that level at which your stomach is flat, but you aren’t ripped.

    2. Put differently…

      – BodyFat numbers serve best as a way of creating weight-loss plans. Not as a way of knowing you have “arrived”

      Let me untangle that…

      Let’s say your BF measurement says you’re 15% bodyfat, but you still don’t have a flat belly. Have you “achieved the goal”? Not really…

      On the other hand, let’s say that you get to a point where:

      – You have a great waist-to-shoulder ratio;
      – flat stomach and blurred four-pack;
      – and your muscles are so well defined that in tight-fitting clothing all women grab your biceps and ask if you work out…

      Does it matter that your measurement says 17% at this point? Not really, you have achieved the goal…

      This is because BF numbers are notoriously inconsistent

      It differs from person to person… It differs by what method was used to measure you… and unless you have hundreds of dollars and access to a scientific lab… Any cheap method you choose has a large margin of error.

      So why even use numbers then?

      They’re useful for making plans. You want to get to around 12-15% bodyfat, so you can THEN (next) use the mirror to reassess in terms of your final look.

      While the mirror (vs how you feel) is the best method for knowing you have “arrived”… You can’t use the mirror to make plans.

      You can however measure your current bodyfat, calculate how many pounds/kg you need to lose in order to get to 13% bodyfat. And then make a weightloss plan, in terms of days/weeks needed to lose that weight.

      It doesn’t matter that the numbers aren’t precise. Since you’re only making a plan to get to a ballpark range. After you get in that range you’ll switch to the mirror anyway.

      That’s why I think a waist-based formula with a calculator online suffices. It doesn’t matter that “calipers are more precise”.

      In order to get more precise measurements with calipers, you need to have actually measured hundreds of people… i.e get “the caliper measurement skill”. And why would you wast time/energy mastering that skill if you’re only going to (ideally) use it 2-3 times in your life?

      So let’s say the caliper is more precise and puts you at 19%, whereas the formula says 18%… So what? In practical terms it only means that your calculations will be off by a few kilos…

      – If you use an in-precise (but easy, low effort, low cost) method to measure bodyfat, your calculation says you need to get to 85kg

      – If you use a more precise and expensive method to measure bodyfat, it will say you should shoot for 83kg

      Is that such a big problem? Not really, since it’s a ballpark anyway. Even if you use the most effort intensive (or expensive) BF measuring method… The formulas you plug that number into are not precise either (because genetic variation etc etc).

      You’re ending up with a ballpark estimation anyway… And you’re trying to find out what weight you need to be for a 15% bodyfat? Well there’s no guarantee you’ll look great at 15% since that’s a general guideline too. It’s just “get to 15% so you can use the mirror for those final tweaks”.


      Navy Bodyfat formula is just fine for normal people (i.e. people who aren’t OCD min-maxers). It’s good enough for ballparking.

    3. Practical Execution Tl;dr:

      1a) If your gym has cheap/free caliper measurements, go for it.

      1b) If not, use an online calculator based on tape measurements. Don’t be afraid of minmaxers with no life outside of the gym scare you away from a good-enough solution

      2) Use a calculator that estimates how much weight you need to lose to get to 13% bodyfat… The calculator says “you need to lose 10kg”… Due to the imprecisions at every step, you might need to lose as little as 7kg, or as much as 13kg to get to 13% bodyfat…

      But the point is, you have a ballpark plan*… Lose 10kg… and after that… you’ll be “in the range”… After you’re in the range you can use mirror, comments, bodypart measurements and how clothes fit you to proceed further.

      It might turn out you need to lose a few more or you’re just fine. You’ll also be able to estimate if and where to add muscle…

      Even if you use the most precise BF measuring method on the planet, it only adds a bit more precision, but not much. The above “cheap method” will get you “into the range”.

    4. @Aaron, can you just edit my comment above with the broken bold tag?

      On the other hand, let’s say that you get to a point where:</b

      I forgot to close the bold tag, so the entire comment is a mess.

  3. This points to a more general issue in advice giving… which is that most advice tends to come from min-maxers.

    If you lift weights for 3-4 years consistently and push hard, and don’t complicate things past “Just lift more each training”, you will get 60-80% of the muscle that it is possible to gain as a natural EVER in your entire lifetime. All the other complications, and additional training (past first 3-4 years of good training) are for those other (last) 30% of muscle.

    Being 15% and at 70% of your natural musclemass potential puts you in the top 1% of physiques. Just look around any social venue you’re at next time.

    Unfortunately minmaxers are ussually the ones running and influencing communities. So if you’re in the weightlifting community you will get the warped view that a “sixpack at 100% muscle mass gained is the actual definition of a 1% physique”… No, that’s actually 0.01% physique.

  4. It seems your editor didn’t do a good job, so let me point out some issues with your vocabulary:
    girls -> sloots, bishes
    bros -> brahs
    guys -> phaggots, incels
    Oh, and the next time you allude to sex in a post on fitness, better use appropriate expert terminology, which in that case is “smashing”, like in “smashing sloots”.

    1. You’ll find the most ridiculous stuff in the MISC forum on Thank god I got my own office. If I was sitting in a phaggot bullpen I probably wouldn’t last long because “chit” like this makes me laugh hard:
      A guy in this thread has a hard time comprehending that a week has seven days:

      Week 1 – Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
      Week 2 – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday
      Week 3 – Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Monday
      Week 4 – Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Tuesday
      Week 5 – Thursday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday
      Week 6 – Friday, Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday

      No matter how you look at it, if you workout every other day, you work out 4 times a week.

      The entire thread is worth a look, though.

  5. Good points. One thing missed… face fat levels varies from bloke to bloke and different levels of face fat have a different effect on different people.

    Some of my mates look gaunt and ill when cut and would, like you, do better with a bit more fat; others look like fat podge heads at 15% and look far better in the face when cutting down to lower BF.

    Depends on a bunch of things… face bone structure, face musculature, where your body hold fat most / least etc. So for some folk, cutting down to 10% would serve them better, for others a bit of extra fat is the way to go.

  6. I disagree.
    Starting a bulk at 8%-12% body fat is ideal because you can bulk for a longer period of time and build more muscle rather than starting at 12%-15%.

  7. My point is common sense, really.
    Generally speaking, you want to stop bulking once you reach 20-25% body fat. That is, if you plan to bulk that high. This is for a few reasons:

    1) You’re in the obesity range. And at risk for hypertension and heart problems.
    2) Most of your clothes won’t fit you.

    When you cut, you’re objective should be to get as lean as possible without sacrificing much of your strength. From my own experience, this is a range of 8%-10% body fat.

    If I stop at 12%-15%. I sell myself short because I limit the window of opportunity for my next bulk.

    Let’s take two guys for example. Guy A starts his bulk at 15% and ends at 25%. The percent difference is 10%

    Guy B starts his bulk at 8% and ends at 25%. The percent difference is 17%.

    Who do you think has a longer window of opportunity?

    Since guy B has an extra hypothetical 7%. He has the opportunity to gain a few pounds of muscle.

    Do this for 3 or 4 bulking cycles and you’re looking at a collective for 8 to 10lbs of lost muscle. Or 3.5 kilos to 4.5 kilos

    A few references:

    1. Well, the question is how much of a caloric surplus you need. My perception is that some bodybuilders completely overdo it. Besides, if you don’t take supplements, the amount of muscle mass you can gain is rather limited. After around two years of consistent exercising you’ll basically have maxed out. Of course, don’t tell this to fitness brahs who believe bullshit such that the body is able to add muscle linearly ad infinitum.

    2. Like Aaron said, you have to differentiate between systems based on steroid users vs naturals vs experienced naturals vs people brand new to the gym.

      The only people who can gain a non-pathetic amount of muscle are roid users and people brand new to the gym.

      Following your logic:
      – If someone is brand new, and has no muscle, let’s say he’s at 18%
      – He should not lift weights because it’s “not optimal”?

      Lol wtf. Should he go and get to 8% (looking like he came out of a concenctration camp) and then lift?

      If your answer is “well he should lift and get to 8% at the same time”… Well I got news for you buddy… Because he’s brand new he’ll able to gain all those big newbie gains while he’s losing the fat.

      And guess what, he’s now lean and gotten the newbie gains. Guess what? Because he’s not on roids, he can’t put on a non-pathetic amounts of muscle anymore. Past newbie gains, muscle gains will be so slow as to be almost un-noticeable.

      So this fucking bullshit coming from minmaxers arguing about optimality is just for people with no life/balance. It doesn’t factor in shit like HAVING A FUCKING LIFE AND DOING OTHER FUCKING THINGS WITH YOUR FUCKING LIFE

      – So you’ve gotten those newbie gains
      – You can now only add 1-3 kilos of muscle in a YEAR

      According to fucking minmaxer unbalanced have-no-life-outside-the-gym logic… you should sacrifice life balance coz you can get a few more grams of muscle per month if you go to super-low levels first. Mind you this is all assuming even the theory is EVEN true at all.

      At the same time the guy who’s slowly adding muscle while at 12-15% is banging all the bitches and getting all the career success you’re not because you’re hungry all day and obsessive compulsive.

  8. Excuse me Alek Novy but you can go fuck yourself. Most of what you said and your underlying tone is just a projection of your own insecurities.

    If you don’t agree with something I said, fine. No need to be an asshole.

    My point wasn’t one size fits all. It was targeted to the average lifter Aaron was describing.

    1. To me it seems that whenever someone attempts the “projecting your own insecurities” gambit they tend to be highly insecure themselves. I would be very interesting in seeing you trying to refute his argument, though.

    2. It was targeted to the average lifter Aaron was describing.

      The average lifter HAS A LIFE and isn’t planning on becoming a professional bodybuilder. He wants to get laid, have a career, maybe learn to dance, master a hobby like photography etc…

      He’s not as insane as you to be minmaxing a field and overanalyzing a field way past the 80/20 threshold.

  9. No offense Aaron, but unless I ask for your advice don’t tell me what to do. Whenever I get into a discussion with people at my gym I give my honest opinion and keep an open mind. Fitness brahs or not.

    The question of caloric surplus depends on a variety of factors. It’s generally safer to be higher than lower in my opinion at least.

    I agree that some bodybuilders overdo it, it’s not that serious.

    The supplement industry is a gigantic scam. Supplements only worth taking are whey protein and creatine. That’s it. Multivitamin? Eat more fruits and vegetables. Testosterone booster? Might as well take steroids. Most of the supplements are worthless and potentially dangerous.
    This is a report from the FDA regarding the supplement company USPS Labs regarding one of their supplements responsible for liver failure in a few people. The same company that also produced Jack3d.

    I don’t know much about regulations in the food and drug industry in Europe. But supplements are poorly regulated and expensive in America.

    If I were to take any supplement it would be steroids. Cause I know they work.

    There’s the misconception that once you’ve bulked up the first two years you’ll plateau. Which is true, but it doesn’t mean you’ve maxed out.

    1. Too long, nobody read it. Unless you’re doing all this over-analysis to contribute something that makes 378% difference in results with only 10% additional effort, this is just fluff.

    2. Btw, when aaron says supplements, he means “supplements”… as in the kind you inject or buy in a pharmacy… But you’re new here, so it’s ok.

    3. In other words, when we use the word “supplements” here it’s in a sarcastic way. Thank you for educating us that supplements are a scam and the people pushing them are on roids, gh, igf etc…

      We totally would have never known would you have not educated us. Thank you saviour blessed you be.

    1. That’s a much different case, though. Besides, I did not make an absolute statement. Furthermore, I am still waiting for a good argument from you. I stated that you’ll basically max out after two years. As Alek elaborated, there is little point min-maxing, at significant cost, to put on minimal muscle mass after that. Your perspective seems to be one of an obsessive-compulsive body builder. Mine is one of a guy who aims for a “good enough” outcome, which, to be perfectly frank, is at least in the top 5% anyway.

  10. Bit off-topic: do you guys think lifting maximum weight is worth it if one does periods of muscle resensitization?

    1. To me it seems that lifting at max levels (with free weights) is a great way to get injured. I’d say that the moment your form starts to suffer you back off. When? Five minutes ago. Without seeking out such people, and without steering conversations in that direction, half a dozen of guys in the gym told me over the last few months that they no longer do squats or deadlifts or benchpresses because of injuries. Those conversations normally started by guys telling me that I had “great form” when doing my compounds and that they unfortunately no longer can’t do this or that exercise. Note that I recently dropped compounds as the risks outweigh the benefits.

    2. I had a ton of injuries when I was an OCD minmaxer. There’s a lot of bravado in the bro community about compounds and all that shit.

      When I realized that having an overall balanced life is more important I switched to machines. Never looked back. There are even a ton of professionals who only do machines.

      Compounds/free weights have some benefits… but to avoid injury you have to learn a skill. Like each movement is a skill itself. These are hours/effort you’re putting into mastering a skill whereas you could have mastered another skill in another area of life…

    3. There are even a ton of professionals who only do machines.

      In other words, there are people who make a living off of their physique, but decided to play it safe… only utilizing machines and the safest/most dumb-proof free weights.

      They have done the calculation and found out that the risk of injury and downtime outweighs the benefits.

  11. Been waiting to drop this link since the last time we had an insane over-obssesive minmaxer… here’s a PHD weighing in on the subject:

    Notice, he says “A minimalist approach will get you GREAT results”… He didn’t say they will get you “horrible results” or “bad results”… He said great.

    In other words, keeping it simple doesn’t mean you’ll get 30% of the results that an obsessive no-lifer gets. Obsessiveness optimization is about the difference between placing 2nd on a bodybuilding stage and placing 7th…

    It’s not about whether your physique gets you laid…

    1. In other words, keeping it simple doesn’t mean you’ll get 30% of the results that an obsessive no-lifer gets. Obsessiveness optimization is about the difference between placing 2nd on a bodybuilding stage and placing 7th…

      It’s a difference of (maybe, at most) 10%. It’s not like you’ll get twice the muscle in half-the-time by being an obssesive minmaxer. Most people who aren’t judges won’t even notice the difference between your physique as a minimalist and your physique as an obssessive optimalist.

  12. Your case isn’t any different than mine. You’re making an assumption about someone you don’t know. Admittedly, I did the same.

    Quote: “I agree that some bodybuilders overdo it, it’s not that serious.”
    I did agree with you that my original response is more of the mindset of the “obsessive-compulsize bodybuilder.” Which I think is a rather negative connotation when it doesn’t have to be.

    I never disagreed with Alek and I agree with him on some points. And I quote:”My point wasn’t one size fits all.”

    Alek took it way too serious. Nothing in my original post was cynical or sarcastic. At least it wasn’t intended that way. And I do agree with Alek in his sarcastic hypothetical :
    “If someone is brand new, and has no muscle, let’s say he’s at 18%
    – He should not lift weights because it’s “not optimal”?

    But when he said this:
    “Lol wtf. Should he go and get to 8% (looking like he came out of a concenctration camp) and then lift?”

    And this:

    And this:
    “At the same time the guy who’s slowly adding muscle while at 12-15% is banging all the bitches and getting all the career success you’re not because you’re hungry all day and obsessive compulsive.”

    That’s just completely unnecessary, and judgmental. It’s no wonder you get the occasional rebuttal from someone here saying that you and Alek are jerks.

    Also, who’s to say that a guy taking his fitness seriously doesn’t have a balanced life himself? Granted he’ll spend more time in the gym and on his diet. I could give you plenty of personal examples from my own life. Colloquially, look at Arnold Schwarzenegger I think he lived a pretty awesome life.

    1. Name-dropping Schwarzenegger won’t convince people of your argument in favor of OCD body building. He is a statistical outlier, and admitted taking steroids. We are talking about guys who are not on the trajectory of becoming A-List movie stars, which has pathetically low odds, but instead who lift for both aesthetic and health reasons, but who do not want to make it their sole hobby.

    2. Also, who’s to say that a guy taking his fitness seriously doesn’t have a balanced life himself?

      HAHAHAHA nice strawman… Aaron takes his fitness seriously, so do I. Nobody is against taking shit seriously.

      There’s a difference between taking something seriously and obsessing about minutiae differences and esoteric theories that make a 0.01% difference.

      It’s not your fault, you’re probably consuming content by minmaxers, so you have no idea how far off in the deep end you’ve gone. You’re way past the “taking it seriously” line, and well over into “obsessing about bullshit” area.

      We are talking about guys who are not on the trajectory of becoming A-List movie stars

      Like we discussed before… for everyone 1 guy who gets a great life by minmaxing, there are a 100,000 guys who get fucked over by attempting it.

      So you have 45 year old singer who enjoyed his millions, banged tons of playmates and victoria’s secret models. He has minmaxing to thank for it.

      Unfortunately, for every one guy like that… there are a 100,000 diferent 45 year old singers who are singing in dumpy local bars, and can barely afford food or rent. They’ve acquired no other serious skills in life and got fucked over by minmaxing.

    3. Kinda reminds me of the people trying fruitlessly to get to the exact measurement stats of their favorite bodybuilder. It’s body dysmorphia.

      This guy goes on about the golden ratio, and then you look at him and wonder exactly what he’s going after:

      This man is unhappy with his body.

  13. True, I’ll give you that. But there’s no evidence supporting that an “OCD” or serious bodybuilder is correlated with having an unbalanced lifestyle either. They’re two separate phenomena.

    1. It’s called the finiteness of resources.

      – There are 15 truly woken hours in a day. Of those 8-12 can be productive.
      – Your mental energy is a finite resource
      – The amount of skills you can master in a day is a finite amount

      Every hour you spend on trying to squeeze 0.1% more results in bodybuilding, is an hour you didn’t spend getting a 20% boost in another area of. That’s fucking stupid. I don’t care what word we use, “unbalance bla bla, correlation bla bla”.

      It’s motherfucking stupid. That’s what it is. With a finite amount of hours you have on this planet, it’s fucking braindead stupid.

    2. “OCD” or serious bodybuilder is correlated

      Stop being a manipulative cunt. This is why you draw “arrogance” and rudeness. You just did it again. You already conflated being serious with being over-obsessive. You’re doing it again.

      You be a non-manipulative intellectually honest person, you’ll get respect back. Play with fire, you’ll get burned.

      “Oh but you’re all such meanies, i was just behing helpful, wah wah wah”

      Bullshit, you stormed into this place with a very arrogant and agressive “Aaron, you are wrong, it is very important to be at 8% bodyfat bla bla”. You didn’t respectfully introduce another viewpoint, you point-blank came in playing the earth’s ultimate authority, calling aaron utterly wrong.

      So don’t play this victim game. You know full well you came in with this arrogant preachy “let me educate you ignoramuses” entry. Don’t play the victim now.

      Oh, and you tried to educate Aaron on supplements. Don’t expect to be arrogant and not get slapped back.

  14. “To me it seems that lifting at max levels (with free weights) is a great way to get injured. I’d say that the moment your form starts to suffer you back off. When? Five minutes ago. ”

    I am convinced that even with good form, you can still suffer from injuries with free weight. The strength of joint in each person is just simply not the same. My bone structure is small, my joint strength is average and I simply cannot handle all that much weight like a guy who possess a far stronger joint strength.

    So when it comes to strength training, just love and listen to your body. Love thyself. There is no need to force your body to go to the max like that.

  15. If you were honest with yourself Alek, you’re the one who’s being manipulative.

    I’m not going to waste my time arguing with you.

    1. Well thank you for bestowing us with your presence. If it weren’t for you to come and save us, we might have taken Aaron’s advice and settle for 12%.

      Now we know that’s not optimal and we must get to 8% at all cost and then BULK because that’s OPTIMAL! Thank you saviour, blessed you be.

      Here we were… we almost fell for this balanced bullshit. Where you’re 12-15% all year round and look great all year.

      But no, you came in and saved us. Now we will all spend our life in cutting and bulking periods. That is spending most of the year either hungry as fuck or fat. THANK YOU!! That’s optimal and will give us those few extra grams of muscle we need to win the national BB competition. Thank you oh saviour.

      If it wasn’t for you we’d have spent most of our life in the “easy to maintain and attractive year-round”… We’d have sacrificed our “window of optimal opportunity” and not gained those extra 2,5% of muscle. THANK YOU FOR SAVING us from Aaron’s horrible advice.


      Wrong blog. But nice try.

      Reference (your bullshit is still here):

    2. That is spending most of the year either hungry as fuck or fat.

      This part is specifically tying back to the previous point about finality of resources. One of your most precious resources in life is mental energy and vitality.

      For most (non-steroid-taking) humans on this planet, to go from 12% to 8%:

      – you have to take it slow as to not lose muscle
      – you have to suffer, struggle and feel like shit for many days on end

      That’s lost productivity in many other areas of life. Every day that you spend without energy to go out and flirt with chicks… is a day lost on practicing THAT skill. And for what? To get from 9,3% to 7,9% because your “bulk will have a more optimal window”.

      While you’re on your 7th chicken breast of the day trying to get to 8%, your buddy at his 12% is learning how to play the guitar and placing that mental energy THERE. Or he’s taking courses and learning a skill that will double his income.

      You are fucking insane if you think that your “windows of optimal opportunity” apply to anyone with even the smallest sense of having a WELL ROUNDED LIFE.

  16. Hey Aaron,

    I am curious as to what was your average daily calorie intake before / after you gained weight up to 86 kg? What was your diet mainly consisting of?

    I think my physique is very similar to yours: 6 foot 2 / 1.88m, 71kg. Low body fat, with decent muscle definition – but my musculature is not noticeable when wearing clothes because of my lack of serious mass.

    The most I ever weighted was 74kg a couple of years ago – after making an effort to hit about 3,000kcal daily and following a rather strict compound weight routine, The problem was that I was also gaining a bit of fat in my face, which I did not like. Now I dropped back down to 71kg or so, simply because I find it a chore to prepare all eat all that food (and also due to shoulder / upper back injuries I developed back then, I had to significantly reduce my training regime).

    1. I don’t count calories. I began by just eating more than I used to, which was a good start. For about half a year, I have been supplementing with protein powder. My diet basically consists of vegetables, eggs, bacon, salmon, chicken, pork, rice, cheese, milk, oatmeals, yoghurt, and plenty of fruit as snacks.

      With clothes on, the difference between me at 72 kg and now at 86 kg is quite significant.

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