We all have a layer of body fat sitting on the top of our muscles and by stripping away most of that body fat, you start to see things like more muscle definition and veins. It’s difficult to achieve really low levels of body fat to 12% or 10% or even lower to 8%. It’s is difficult to achieve but possible naturally. In this article, I am going to show to exact 5 steps to reduce your body fat percentage. First of all, you need to ask yourself if you really want to have that low percentage of body fat? There are some drawbacks including hunger, lack of energy, lightheadedness, and low sugar. But staying under 8% body fat is unsustainable over a long period of time, especially if you are doing it naturally.
Find out your body fat percentage right here and then continue to this article.
Create a small calorie deficit:
Create specifically a small calorie deficit. Keep in mind if you are overweight or obese and you currently just want to lose as much body fat as possible in the shortest amount of time. More aggressive fat loss options are available for you. But you are not ready just yet to be thinking about getting down to a single-digit body fat percentage.
You should plan from 6 weeks to months depending on how lean you are right now? The reason behind the small deficit is that when you are already lean and you are already in a calorie deficit your body activates certain mechanisms that lower the energy expenditure. When you have already low body fat percentage a negative energy balance causes your thyroid hormone, growth hormone, and testosterone to all drop rather quickly. That’s why you need to take a slower dieting approach to avoid fat plus muscle loss.
- 20% calorie deficit if you are between 12-14 % body fat percentage.
- 10% calorie deficit if you are between 10-12 % body fat percentage.
- 5% calorie deficit for 8-10% body fat percentage.
Practice calorie cycling:
There are a couple of reasons for doing it. Since you will be dieting for some time you should keep in mind that hunger is the primary reason that diet fails. That’s why it is important to optimize your diet and lifestyle for controlling hunger and reduce body fat percentage. (What to eat before a workout?).
One way you can do that is by cycling your calories. This means consuming more calories and some days and fewer on others. For example, you need to eat a total of 12000 calories per week to lose fat which is about 1715 calories per day. You could eat 1715 calories per day and reach 12000 calories per week. But you need to have 2 lower calories days and 5 higher calories days. In that way your diet calories will be cycling and chances to stick to your diet will be much higher.
Make sure to eat enough protein, so get at least 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight daily which is about 0.73 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
Careful with cheat days:
When trying to get a really low body fat percentage you must be careful with your cheat days. There are a couple of reasons if you raise your calories intake above the maintenance and you don’t balance it out with lower calories days, you will obviously regain some of the fat you have already lost. It is very easy to gain fat back and not so easy to lose it when you are at those lower levels. Cheat days may raise your metabolism there’s no evidence or reason to think that the already tiny increase in your metabolic rate will continue when you go back to your regular calorie deficit. That’s because the increased metabolic rate that we see after someone has a cheat day is primarily due to the larger thermic effect of digesting that larger amount of food.
Lower your calorie intake or increase activity level:
You will have to lower your activity level further you will have to lower your energy balance in one of these two ways. Because the body will have already adapted to your previous calorie intake. Now choose between your calories further or exercising more. You should know that one is not inherently better than the other. That’s because reducing body fat percentage is almost entirely about energy balance. it does not matter if you reduce your energy balance by doing cardio or by eating less. Energy consumed and fat loss is the same for all muscles you exercise. Instead of just lowering your calories per week you should exercise daily to lose fat faster.
Sleep more to reduce body fat percentage:
It is important to get enough sleep if you want to reduce body fat percentage. There are two reasons for this.
- Sleep deprivation suppresses appetite satiating hormones like leptin that raises the hunger level
- Poor quality sleep prevents fat burning and stimulates muscle wasting.
That shows sleeping poorly more of the pounds that you lose will be coming from muscles rather than the fat. Sleeping only 40 fewer minutes per day shifted the ratio of the amount of muscle to fat loss from 20% to 80%.
A study shows that sleeping 5 and half hour instead of sleeping 7 hours per day caused increased muscle loss by 60% while decreasing the weight loss in the form of fat by 55%.