Most of us think we would look better after we drop a few pounds of fat, which is an achievable goal for most of us.
Not to say fat loss is easy by any means, but with the right nutrition, training, and mindset, it is achievable for most of us!
Though what soon becomes tricky is more specific goals around body fat percentage.
Typically, a healthy body fat percentage for women is around 14-25%, and around 17% for men.
For most guys, around 12% body fat is fairly achievable. But what about 7%? This specific goal requires a lot more knowledge, patience, and perseverance!
Generally, the leaner you want to look, the more precise you need to be with your nutrition and training program.
This article shares our top 7 tips for achieving 7% body fat!
Firstly, it’s important to understand the principle of fat loss.
How to Lose Body Fat: The Basics
Before we get into how to lose fat, we first need to wrap our heads around calories!
Calories are simply a unit of energy and refer to the energy we get from consuming food and drink, so you often see calories listed under the nutritional information of all packaged foods.
Our body requires energy for our everyday movement, thinking, growing, and surviving.
Not only do we consume calories, but we also burn them for energy. The number of calories we burn each day (referred to as our total daily energy expenditure) is different for all of us, as it is based on factors such as age, weight, height, and sex.
This brings us on to energy balance, which is the fundamental concept of body weight regulation - or calories in vs calories out.
To put it simply:
When you take in more energy than you burn, you gain weight.
When you take in less energy than you burn, you lose weight.
The simple key to fat loss is an energy deficit - taking in fewer calories than we burn.
This means that to achieve fat loss, we must be in a calorie deficit.
One pound of fat is equal to 3,500kcal, which is essentially how much we need to be in a deficit to lose 1lb of fat.
Obviously, this is ideally done over the course of a week, which would equate to a 500kcal deficit per day.
This is the most recommended approach to a calorie deficit, as any bigger deficits and over restriction of any kind are typically not sustainable methods, thus you risk re-gaining any weight lost.
All diets you come across are based on the principle of a calorie deficit, whether that be keto, intermittent fasting, paleo, or zone.
As there is no one-size-fits-all approach to dieting, it’s more important for you to find an approach that works for you personally.
After all, the best diet for you is the one you can adhere to.
Bottom line is, provided you are in a calorie deficit for a prolonged period, you will lose fat.
No matter what approach you choose to take, there are some key strategies that you should focus on to help you achieve a calorie deficit, lose fat, and strive for 7% body fat.
7 Top Tips to Achieve 7% Body Fat
1. Count Calories
As we have established, a calorie deficit is key to fat loss. While we each have a unique total daily energy expenditure, we also have a unique energy need suitable to our preferences, goals, and lifestyle.
For example, a 25-year-old male who weighs 90kg, lives an active lifestyle, and wants to lose fat may burn around 3,000kcal per day. So, in order for this individual to lose fat, he must consume less than 3,000kcal per day, ideally in a deficit of 500kcal per day.
Calorie calculators help you determine your own rough daily calorie needs in line with your goals, which is useful information to know if you’re aiming for a specific lean body fat goal.
Counting calories, via an app for example, allows you to log your daily food intake to determine how many calories you’re consuming daily.
Counting calories is a great tool for ensuring your weekends are controlled, your snacking habits are in check, and your portions are sized appropriately.
All of these factors can contribute to overeating calories, so tracking them definitely makes sense if you want to keep a close eye on it!
2. Eat More Protein
If you want to achieve 7% body fat, the chances are you want some muscle to show off when you’re looking that lean.
Protein is absolutely key for the building and repairing of muscles. Not only will it contribute to your lean gains, but it will also help you preserve muscle mass while you’re dieting.
Dieting can lead to loss of muscle mass, particularly if you over-restrict and lack protein intake, so do not underestimate the important of adequate daily protein intake!
In addition to this, it’s also the most satiating macronutrient, helping to keep you fuller for longer. This is a bonus when you’re on a diet!
Centre each meal around a good quality protein source, such as:
And try to snack on high-protein foods too, such as protein bars, jerky, and yogurt.
3. Increase Whole Food Intake
Increasing whole food intake, such as fruits, vegetables, and good sources of fiber, is highly recommended for fat loss, as well as general health and wellbeing.
These nutritious foods are rich in the nutrients we need for optimal health and functioning. Without them, we face nutrient insufficiencies which negatively impact our health and fat loss progress.
As much as we discuss the importance of calories for fat loss, looking after your health and focusing on quality sources of food as well as quantity, is possibly more important than anything else.
Fruit and vegetables are also low calorie and high volume, meaning they take up a lot of space in our stomach for very little calories.
As a general rule of thumb, aim for at least half a plate of vegetables with each main meal!
4. Reduce Highly Processed Foods
Following on from the above point, increasing your whole food intake should result in less highly processed foods being consumed.
While we often recommend balance, regularly overeating high-calorie foods can impact our progress as they are notoriously easy to overindulge on.
Try to set boundaries when it comes to consuming these kinds of foods. In other words, don’t overdo it on the take outs, fried food, and moreish chocolate! Moderation is key.
5. Sleep Well
Research has suggested links between sleep deprivation and fat gain.
It seems that not only is lack of sleep detrimental to our health, but it can have a really negative impact on our fat loss progress.
Can you recall ever feeling so tired you just can’t focus on anything? Every task feels like it requires extra brain power and energy? This is simply the effects of being overtired.
Fat loss is not easy, and it requires a sharp mind and plenty of determination to grind through each day - lack of sleep simply does not support this!
Try aim for 7-8 hours per night, stick to a consistent sleep routine, and always try to find ways to wind down in the evenings to allow yourself a sound, good quality sleep.
6. Physical Activity & Training
It’s no surprise that your daily physical activity and training program is vital in helping you achieve 7% body fat.
Increasing muscle size and strength is proven to increase your calorie expenditure and metabolic rate, thus helping you to burn more fat!
Incorporating a mixture of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance training would help you burn more fat, increase muscle strength and size, and overall help you achieve a leaner body composition.
Not only is a consistent and effective training program key to your lean fat loss goals, but daily physical activity is also a component to consider.
Our non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), i.e., the calories we burn through activity and movement that isn’t strictly exercise, is a really simple variable to manipulate when you want to burn more calories.
- Taking the stairs instead of the lift
- Walking whenever you can
- Standing instead of sitting
- Parking further away from your destination
These are just some examples of how you can increase your daily calorie burn just by simply moving more.
7. Measure Progress
It’s all good and well implementing the above tips, which should help you get on your way to achieving your fat loss goal, however, how would you measure your progress?
Here are some of the best methods of measuring your progress to ensure you’re always on track to achieving your goal:
- Weigh yourself every week on the same day, ideally under the same conditions (unclothed, after using the toilet, in the mornings, before breakfast)
- Measure your waist circumference every week
- Calculate your body fat percentage using body measurements every week
- Take progress pictures so you can see your progress visually
- Measure performance improvements
- Note changes in clothing fit and feel
- Note better digestive habits
Tackling A Fat Loss Plateau
Most of the time when our fat loss stalls, it’s not because of a plateau per se. Fat loss takes time, and patience and consistency are key.
However, if you have noticed no physical changes in a while, it may be a good idea to address some of the following variables which may cause the plateau:
- You may need a diet break! Dieting for a long period can sometimes take its toll on our body and hormones. Take a few weeks off to allow your hormones to return to baseline, then return to your plan.
- Address your sleep and stress. Poor sleep and stress management can lead to cravings and increase your chances of over-eating, so try to keep these factors in check.
- Increase your physical activity, whether that’s in the form of training or daily movement (NEAT). When we diet, part of our body’s way to adapt is to reserve energy, so naturally we move a little less. The answer to this may be as simple as increasing your daily step count!
- Track and journal your food intake and movement. Planning ahead and structuring your days better may help you realise any potential downfalls - whether that be too frequent afternoon snacking, moving less, or skipping training sessions. Hold yourself accountable and identify where you may be going wrong!
- If you’re tracking calories, it may be time to re-calculate them. As you lose fat, you weigh less, you then typically require fewer calories!
- Patience is key! Try to be patient with yourself and your progress. It’s a long and often not a linear process, so track your progress and look for the overall positive trend overtime, and don’t be disheartened if you don’t see consistent drops on the scale every week - it’s a lot more complex than this!
Fat loss is no easy feat, particularly when you’re aiming for such a specific goal that requires proper fine-tuning of your diet, training, and lifestyle.
There is unfortunately no magic pill to help you achieve this goal, as 99% of the grunt work is dialling in fundamental nutrition and training strategies mentioned above.
Though, once you have these fundamentals dialled in, is there an effective pill which could further complement your hard work and support your fat loss goals
Most fat burners on the market are simply caffeine pills marketed as fat burners, however, Burn Lab Pro is the safest, cleanest stim-free version of a fat burner currently available.
Used by some of the most talented athletes, Burn Lab Pro helps support your fat-shedding goals by:
- Boosting training intensity
- Supporting muscle growth and recovery
- Preserving hard-earned muscle gains
- Stabilizing energy and appetite
Thus, fully supporting you in achieving that extra 1% grunt work that’s required to hit your target body fat percentage!