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ideal body fat percentag in females

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  • ideal body fat percentag in females

    I have just finished the book "The Primal Blueprint". Mark claims that a body fat percentage between 12-20% is healthiest for females. I fluctuate between 17-19%, maybe I was 20-21% right after I had my daughter but I cannot imagine a healthy way to go lower than 17, maybe 16%. I think I would feel drained and I wouldn`t look the way I like myself. Also, fertility seems to be compromised in some women that are below 17%. I always thought that 17-22% is a range that is a realistic goal for most women, maybe lower for some athletes and many women look and feel good at 23-24%. But 12%? I think Mark made a mistake here....
    What do you think?

  • #2
    No he didn't because he never said that. Methinks you need to read the book again. I've been through it and I can find no mention of any figures at all.

    He would NEVER recommend something so stupidly unhealthy! Are you SURE you've read the book...?!
    La tristesse durera toujours...

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    • #3
      p. 167: "By breaking free from the cycle of carbs fueling stressful, carb-burning Chronic Cardio workouts, you can easily get into the ideal body fat percentage range of 8 to 15 percent for men and 12-20 percent for women". It wasn`t me who didn`t read the book, but English not being my mother tongue, I wonder if this sentence leaves room for misinterpretation??

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sonnenblume View Post
        p. 167: "By breaking free from the cycle of carbs fueling stressful, carb-burning Chronic Cardio workouts, you can easily get into the ideal body fat percentage range of 8 to 15 percent for men and 12-20 percent for women". It wasn`t me who didn`t read the book, but English not being my mother tongue, I wonder if this sentence leaves room for misinterpretation??
        Well, Sunflower, German's not mine (if you were French, no probs! Spanish? Ditto) but I never did pass O Level German!) I apologise, I'll have a re read...

        He does give a wide range, now I've seen it in context; 12% is top end of essential and 20% the top end of athletic. I think he's being very ambitious. Yes, you're right, but I do agree that somewhere between 20 and 25%'s more realistic (at least it is for me!)
        Last edited by Shrinking_Violet; 10-27-2010, 04:05 AM. Reason: Because I'm too dense to translate her username correctly!
        La tristesse durera toujours...

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        • #5
          I think it needs to be distinguished that the lower range (12-16% or so) is an appropriate level for serious female athletes, not for average women. I think what Mark is trying to say is that elite athletes can be healthy at a low percentage, but anything under 12 is asking for serious trouble. He's certainly not saying that all women should strive to reach 12%. Compromised fertility is not strictly and exclusively related to BF% - I have certainly been amenorrheic at *nowhere near* 12% BF!

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          • #6
            Unless you are using an extraordinarily accurate method of body fat testing (i.e. Dexa scan) I really wouldn't think about it too much. For example, calipers told me I was 17.7% while BodPod said 27% and bioelectrical impedence said somewhere between the two. People put too much stock in the number when it's just way too hard to measure accurately.

            Are you eating healthy? Do you lift heavy things? Can you do activities like go for a hike or play a pick-up game of basketball without getting winded? Are you of a reasonable weight and shape? If so, I wouldn't worry about BF%.
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            • #7
              ideal= when you are happy and when you eat when your hungry and stop when your full while focusing on nutrient dense variety in food.

              end of rant.... if your healthy youll naturally have a good BF % and like all things, only YOU can determine where that falls there's no 'point' to get to in bodyfat
              Get on my Level
              http://malpaz.wordpress.com/

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              • #8
                The ideal BF % is 'what? i don't care what it is.' Just my two cents.

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                • #9
                  A large differance from the accepted 'healthy' range of 21+ percent. Of course, there are athletes far below the male 'healthy' range of 8+ (I dream of 10)
                  sigpicI'm not old, I'm Vintage!

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                  • #10
                    Huh, I just looked it up, and apparently 21-24% body fat for women is fitness, and 25-31% is acceptable, and anything over that is obese. 12-20% fits under 'athlete' and 'essential fat.' I've heard it defined in terms of BMI, with people assuming that BMI can correspond to body fat, saying that 19-25 is normal but 17-23 is ideal.

                    I wonder if women don't necessarily need more body fat to menstruate, but rather more *mass*. I know a girl who eats practically nothing, runs 5 miles a day, is skinny but not fit (in terms of body composition)... who doesn't menstruate. I wonder if it's also b/c of the stressors usually put on the body to get to really low weights, not necessarily b/c of the weight itself, b/c that weight could be natural for someone else at the same height, or even for the same person given other food and exercise conditions.

                    But I do think it's a matter of liking how you look. I think my ideal for myself would probably be at a higher BF% than most of the people here, but I don't really fret about it.
                    Last edited by spakesneaker; 10-28-2010, 06:04 AM.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by MalPaz View Post
                      ideal= when you are happy and when you eat when your hungry and stop when your full while focusing on nutrient dense variety in food.

                      end of rant.... if your healthy youll naturally have a good BF % and like all things, only YOU can determine where that falls there's no 'point' to get to in bodyfat
                      +1

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                      • #12
                        Agree with all the comments from MalPaz and imasin (in particular, excepting how you look and not over thinking or stressing it)

                        Although i have done some research in the area of menstural irregularity, body fat and vitamin and mineral profile. I would suggest that body fat in SOME women below 17 may negatively impact oestrogen levels and function and cause menstruation to stop! I am very active, however once i dropped body my periods did stop and this is often the case for many athletes or very active people.

                        Anywhooo....I would say Sonnenblume your BF sounds fine to me, dont worry too much about numbers, eat well, sleep well and do not stress to much and your body will do the rest

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                        • #13
                          Imasin, I am seeing things like you do! A low body fat percentage is natural for me - I was around 18% when I conceived my daughter, I was in the 18-20% range soon after delivery without working my ass off - that seems to be a genetic thing for me. In Grok´ s days clearly a disadvantage...! My BMI is between 19 and 20, so I am not skin and bones and I can lift heavy things! On the other hand I know women who are considered overweight by BMI standards and who are amazingly fit as well and who wouldn`t look as good as they do at a lower weight. Despite the genetic blueprint we are all sharing we are all different and this is amazing! I guess the goal is to be as healthy (and happy) as possible!

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                          • #14
                            I'm a male whose BF% is in the middle single digits and I don't feel drained. I think as a male you really don't run into that problem until you start getting down to 3 or 4% BF and that isn't easy to do (nor am I trying). I would imagine that women in the mid teen BF percentages wouldn't necessarily have energy issues assuming they are properly nourished. I do realize that reproduction is an issue and body image might be concerns though. I think one's ideal body should be a personal goal for either of the sexes.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Sonnenblume View Post
                              Imasin, I am seeing things like you do! A low body fat percentage is natural for me - I was around 18% when I conceived my daughter, I was in the 18-20% range soon after delivery without working my ass off - that seems to be a genetic thing for me. In Grok´ s days clearly a disadvantage...!
                              Why would that be a disadvantage?

                              Oh another note. I can, as of today, see and feel the ribs just below my collarbone. :/ Otoh, I'm getting some cool definition where various leg muscles meet.



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