Do you want to see a fit and healthy person when you look in the mirror?
I’m no fitness guru, but I believe most of us do.
On this post, I’m sharing my personal story of how I reached under 10% body fat, a goal I had for a long time.
Hope you can find something of value.
I’ve been on a cut phase to lose fat for the last 3 months – probably the first one I ever stuck through.
I started off with around 18% BF at the start of July 2023, and now (early Oct 2023), I’m at around 8.5% (last 1-week average).
While I’m far from reaching my ideal body or potential, this is a significant milestone I want to share, at least with my future self.
Thought to self: I look much skinnier than I imagined myself to be – need to put on some muscle.
But what did I do to reach this point?
I’m going to share the habits and practices I cultivated that have led me here.
The main topics for this post are:
- My process to reach under 10% BF
- Rest and sleep cycle
- Notes regarding the original commitment, vape giveaway, and donation
- What’s next?
Here we go…
My Process to Reach Under 10% BF
“Calorie deficit” is the name of the game if you want to lose fat.
This simply means the amount of calories your body absorbs from food should be lower than the amount of calories you burn in a given time.
To achieve calorie deficit, you can either reduce the amount of calories you consume or exercise more to burn more calories. If you combine both, that’ll give you the fastest results.
You can estimate your calories using online calculators like this.
Regarding diet, I’ve found the most freedom, enjoyability, and success using a “flexible diet.”
This technically means, eat whatever you want as long as the calories from your macros (i.e. protein, carb, and fat) stay below your total calorie target.
While there are people who argue consuming junk food while staying within macro targets still keeps you fit, many experts don’t believe that’s a healthy long-term solution.
Sure, eat foods that you enjoy and indulge from time to time. But make sure to balance it out with whole foods, veggies, and foods rich in micronutrients.
But above all else, high protein is essential.
For a rough estimate, 1g per pound of body weight or 1g per cm of your height is a good start. For me, it comes to about 160-170g, which is roughly 30% of my calorie budget for a day. With protein, it’s safer to go above this threshold than to stay below. 1-2 scoops of protein powder can help reach your goal if you’re struggling to meet the protein requirement.
To calculate your macros, online calculators like this are again your friend.
MyFitnessPal app has been a constant companion and nutrition guide. I estimated most of my foods, which, while not the most accurate, beats not tracking macros at all – and helps me stay on track.
Here are my macro targets right now:
- Reduce fats as much as possible as they eat up more calories than the other macros.
- High-volume foods are your friend to feel more full.
- A cheat meal or a cheat day per week can help you stay on track and stabilize your metabolism but don’t stray for too long.
Note: I’ve tried the slow-carb diet (from 4HB) for about a month, but I couldn’t stick to it, being a carbaholic.
For the last 2 months, I’ve used the Bigger Leaner Stronger (BLS) training program as the base template and made adjustments to my liking.
Although I’m somewhat always experimenting and tweaking my routine, I focused more on certain muscle groups like chest, shoulders, arms, etc., which are my weaker areas.
I hit the gym 4-5 days a week and did some running (LISS cardio) during my return.
I also did about 15 minutes of HIIT cardio and short core circuits at home on the other non-gym days.
Rest and Sleep Cycle
On average, I get 6-8 hours of sleep. If you’re working out HARD, your body needs rest to recover and grow, so getting sufficient sleep is essential.
I aim to sleep early by 10-11 PM, but often it goes past 12-1 AM.
I wake up on average around 8-9 AM, although I aim to wake up earlier if possible.
I’m still struggling to rein in my sleep cycle and become more of an early riser.
The following are some supplements I’ve taken or am taking:
- Nitro tech protein powder – been using over 6 months.
- Test-boosting OTC meds (Vitamin D3, Zinc, Magnesium) – used for a month and paused for this week.
- Animal Cuts (fat burner) – used last month now stopped.
- AGG (from 4HB) – tried for a few weeks during the slow-carb diet but didn’t continue as it made me feel terrible while low on carbs.
Remember, supplements don’t work if you don’t. I noticed whenever I slacked off my nutrition or workout, supplements didn’t make a difference.
But when I did keep my discipline, they accelerated my results (explained more below).
Results – Changes in Body Fat %, Fat Mass, and Lean Mass
Calculations from my fat caliper (3 site-skinfold algorithm) say I’m at around 8.5% BF (average of the last 7 days).
Calipers are usually considered to provide lower readings than actual BF, so I estimate I’m probably at around 9-11% BF.
The inaccuracy is far less important to me than being able to track your BF progress over time, which the calipers provide a very affordable way to do so.
Note: This chart is from an app I built for myself to input and track my measurements.
Weight or circumference measurements don’t tell the full story of how fit or lean you are, which is why I highly recommend people get a caliper and track their body fat %. I lost around 11.5 Lb of fat and gained around 15 Lb of lean mass in the last 3 months. I’m gladly surprised by these results.
My measurements are still publicly available here if you’re interested in checking them out. Most of the gains were made since the last month. My fat loss increased rapidly when I started taking the Animal Cuts fat burner, and lean mass skyrocketed when I started taking the test-boosting OTC meds.
But these supplements didn’t work when I slacked off my sleep routine, workout, or nutrition. It’s fair to say supplements can only ‘add-on’ or improve an existing healthy lifestyle. If your habits aren’t healthy, supplements won’t do shit. Get your foundational healthy habits in line before you worry about supplements, which means the basics:
- Regular exercise
- Balanced nutrition
- Sufficient sleep and recovery
I didn’t get to this point by myself alone. I stood on the shoulder of giants and leveraged the knowledge from:
And so many others…
Notes Regarding the Original Commitment, Vape Giveaway, and Donation
I will reach below 10% body fat within the next 4 weeks (by 6th August 2023).
If I fail, I will buy $100 worth of cigarettes to my disgrace and give them away to random people.
If I succeed, I will donate $100 to a non-profit named Valo Kajer Hotel that feeds homeless people for free every day.
I failed that challenge, and as promised, I announced this vape giveaway (instead of cigarettes) as the punishment (why vape instead of cigs also explained in the giveaway blog).
I’d literally give away free vapes if anyone over 21 y/o signed up on the Google form.
But surprisingly, no one signed up for the giveaway. Not a single one.
I kept the form open, ‘accepting responses’ long after 1 week (the initial deadline) had passed, but still, no one signed up.
Okay, since there are no takers for the free vape and since I’ve technically met my goal of reaching under 10% BF, I decided to donate to the foundation Valo Kajer Hotel.
The feeling of fulfillment I got by donating is unmatched, knowing that more hungry-struggling people on the streets would be able to get a decent meal or two. :’)
Please consider donating to Valo Kajer Hotel whatever amount you can.
Well, I’m taking some time off the pedal to recharge and recalibrate for the next mission.
I hope to keep building and improving the healthy habits.
I can’t tell you what exactly I’m aiming for next.
Give me some time; I’ll show you the results.
But the motto is simple:
Be better than yesterday.
Remember, any significant goal is going to take time and effort. Don’t depend on ‘motivation’ alone. Build self-discipline, learn continuously, and keep up the grind.
And don’t forget to BELIEVE.