Health & Fitness

What Does Your Body Fat Percentage Look Like?

“It’s simple: If it jiggles, it’s fat.” So said Arnold Schwarzenegger, the most famous bodybuilder of all time. But what exactly do different body fat percentage look like?

Knowing and understanding what different body fat percentage look like is going to help you better assess your progress. As you continually go about your cardio and weightlifting sessions, the goal is to either build muscle mass or drop fat mass. It’s not enough to see the scale move, you need to know which type of weight is being gained or lost.

The problem though is that many people don’t have access to calipers – fancy equipment that will spit out your body fat percentage in a matter of minutes. By using pictures and descriptions though, you can place yourself fairly accurately with where you are now and where you would like to be.

Marc Perry from the website Built Lean has put together some very useful images to demonstrate the varying body fat percentage in women and men.

These images are just examples of what these body fat percentage can look like – different body shapes with gain weight in different areas to others. Typically men are more likely to have excess fat on their guts whereas women will have it on the thighs, hips, buttocks and guts.

Female Body Fat Percentage



Male Body Fat Percentage



You can find full descriptions of different body fat percentages in the Built Lean blog.

Scale or Percentage?

Measuring body fat and taking pictures of how you look at different percentages is often a much better way to track fat loss and weight loss than using the scale. The scale doesn’t factor in muscle weight or fluctuations in water weight. Also, Ten percent for one person could look a little different for someone else as there is are also differences in skin thickness.

If you are starting the journey or in the middle of it, start taking pictures of yourself for motivation and for tracking your fat loss progress.

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