[QUOTE=sbhikes;1033177]I think just looking like a normal man is good enough. Look at aboriginals living in the wild. There's some definition but it's not all crazy huge. If that's what you want, fine, but seriously, it's not necessary for health or for getting laid.[/QUOTE]
What is "normal" for some people is n[I]ot [/I]normal for others. Are these aboriginales "normal" for you?
lifting stresses me out, it's boring, and serves no functional purpose in my lifestyle. I don't mind being really thin, I look nice in clothes.
Is having a better chance of living through the next 20 years a functional purpose?
[url=http://www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a439.long]Association between muscular strength and mortality in men: prospective cohort study | BMJ[/url]
All cause mortality shown to be inversely proportional to strength during the 20 years these 9000 adult men were followed. Lots of other studies especially in the elderly correlating morbidity (things that make life less pleasant/make you less able to function) with less muscle/muscle atrophy. It's much easier to get stronger the younger you are. I'd call giving yourself the ability to live a longer, more productive, higher quality life about the most functional purpose there is.
Read this too:
[url=http://startingstrength.com/index.php/site/barbell_training_is_big_medicine]Barbell training is big medicine[/url]
Being strong and fit and being "ripped" aren't the same thing. You can reap the benefits of strength training without getting down to an ultra-low bodyfat percentage. A lot of people wouldn't refer to a man in the 12-15% range as ripped, but that's a perfectly healthy level of fat and one many women find attractive.
If someone wants to get down to a very low body fat percentage for looks, that's fine, they have the right to make that choice for their body and some people can do it in a healthy way. But for health, there's no *need* for a man to push below 10% or for a woman to push below 20%, and the extremes some people may go to in getting ultra-lean may be detrimental to their long-term health (extreme dieting, the effects on women of amenorrhea, the use of certain drugs, disordered eating, etc.). Of course not everyone will go to those extremes, and some can get there very easily and naturally, but others end up doing themselves a lot of harm in search of "ripped".
To be honest, I'd quite happily drop a little more fat to get to 17-18% from my current 20%. But I don't think I will make any health gains by doing so. I'm already lifting heavy and could continue to do so and benefit from it without the dietary push I would need to lose a couple more percentage points off my body fat.
I don't look too far off from those aboriginals, actually. What if that's what a woman is supposed to look like?
Here are some men. They look fine to me. Ripped? No.
[QUOTE=sbhikes;1033907] I don't look too far off from those aboriginals, actually.[B] What if that's what a woman is supposed to look like[/B]?[/QUOTE]
"Supposed to look like"? Who makes the rules of what a woman(or man) "is supposed to look like"? God? Society?, Nature?, your mother in law? The very good thing is that we now can look the way we like and with a little "know-how" of diets and exercise, and some willpower, we can "design" and transform our own bodies the way we like, without asking anybody about what we are “supposed to look like”.
Here are some men. They look fine to me. Ripped? No.
They may look fine to you [B]sbhikes[/B], and if you want to look like an aboriginal, then go for that! On the other hand, people that want to be “ripped” can shoot for that instead!
Personally I am not very fond of the ripped look below 5 % bodyfat, but this guy at 6 -7 % bodyfat, not ripped though, have a more healthy and esthetical look than your aboriginals in my opinion, but that's just me:
I thought that Martin B pic was pretty gross and alien-looking. It's like a freak show thing. Look to athletes for your "ideal" not models of any type - sometimes they have a 6 pack but often not. They pretty much never look like Martin's pic. And posing in a thong and baby oil is not a sport.
edit: Yes I realize the irony of my post + my avatar.
Oh, and yes to the fact that real HGs are pretty lean but not "jacked" and show quite a bit of variation. Lots of older HGs have a bit of a pot belly too.
Depends on your age, gender and ethnicity.
For example, few Slavic men will ever have a low-enough body-fat-% to have more than a "fourpack". Few East Asian men (of the sub-race that's shorter, with a rounder body; I don't know what it's called but I hate it when people pretend there's no variety in the Asian race) will get particularly "bulky". Young teens having a sixpack is kinda normal. Older men having a bit more fat under the belly-button and inside the thighs is normal too. Women will always need more fat than men and usually develop stronger leg muscles with greater ease, but men will get sixpacks more comfortably.
It's nature. Some people probably WOULD get sixpacks naturally. Think of the depictions of Amerindians from when Westerners first arrived: lean, muscular, hello sixpack! Russian strength-trainers, even on Paleo-type diets, almost ALWAYS have that little bit of extra fat at the belly. Mediterranid Whites are ridiculously skinny when young. None look less healthy than the others. They're just made differently. Were the Amerindian to put on fat, the Slav to diet until he had a sixpack or the Mediterranid to eat until he got fatter, none would look very natural or healthy.
Eat well, do exercise and, as long as you FEEL good, don't worry whether you're "ripped" or not: your biology will make you however you need to be and your natural shape will be FAR sexier than anything else would look on you. :)
Also, on body fat % and women:
A woman at 80kg with 16kg of fat is at 20% body fat.
A woman at 100kg with 16kg of fat is at 16% body fat.
A woman at 100kg with 20kg of fat is at 20% body fat.
If a woman is particularly muscular or heavy boned (as Slavic women, women with "simian" bodies and a lot of Black and Aboriginal women are), her body-fat-% can be lower than a skinnier women, without causing adverse effects. With the 100kg woman, 16% body fat is most likely healthier than 20%. With the 80kg woman, going to 16% would mean having only 12kg of total fat, which could be dangerous for a woman her size.
Or, summed up: body-fat-% and its effects are relative to lean mass and total weight. :)
(Yes, I know they're high numbers for a woman, but I needed easy numbers to work with, without going into decimals and stuff like that, as I'm bad with numbers! :( So, yeah, both the women in question are large for a woman, but it's more to make the point.)