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When it comes to competition bodybuilding, muscle size and definition often separates the winners from the rest. Part of defining your muscles and getting the vascular look that the judges want to see involves discovering and reaching your ideal body fat percentage.
The term “body fat percentage” refers to the percent of your overall mass that is comprised of body fat. There are a few different ways to measure your current percentage, but the simplest involves using a specialized set of calipers to take measurements at three sites on your body. Men will measure their chests, abdominal areas, and thighs, while women will measure their triceps, their suprailiac (the area just above the top of the hipbone), and their thighs. Simply pinch the area between thumb and forefinger and use the calipers to take a measurement. Once you have them you can use an online calculator to calculate your percentage.
Once you have your measurement, it is important to understand exactly what defines an ideal body fat percentage. Acceptable levels for the average man are anything between 18% and 24%, and for women the number is between 25% and 31%. For athletes, men want a body fat percentage between 6% and 13%, while women would need a percentage between 14% and 20%. Bodybuilders often cut fat even further, but it imperative for them to maintain at least the essential amount. The ideal body fat percentage for male bodybuilders is 3% to 8% for competition bodybuilders; women should aim for a total percentage that falls between 8% and 10%.
Reaching your ideal body fat percentage for competition bodybuilding requires plenty of discipline and knowledge. For the most part, athletes will often increase their cardio training while significantly cutting calories in an effort to burn any excess fat. The number of calories you will need to cut from your daily diet will depend primarily on your current body fat and your goal. Some athletes will consume only 1500 calories per day while increasing their cardio workouts, but this caloric deficiency can often lead to the loss of muscle mass.
The belief that certain anabolic steroids can help you decrease your body fat is a common misconception. Anabolic steroids cannot burn fat; rather, they help bodybuilders retain the muscle that they have worked so hard to build during times of caloric deficit. Two of the most popular anabolic steroids used for cutting are Winstrol and Anavar since they are relatively mild when used responsibly, but do a great job when it comes to retaining muscle mass. Athletes who want a supplement to help them burn body fat can turn to a relatively common bronchodilator known as Clenbuterol.
The ideal body fat percentage for competition bodybuilding varies based on your gender. It is important to be aware of your body fat percentage and avoid cutting too much. After all, your body needs some fat in order for your organs and major body systems to function properly.