How To Reduce Body Fat Percentage

There are two ways to reduce the percentage of body fat. One is to increase muscles, the other to reduce fat itself. I will focus on the latter.

To lower the amount of fat in your body, fat has to decrease at a higher rate than other components of your body. It is natural that not only fat goes down, but muscle tissue and water as well. I call this process downsizing.

Some downsizing is normal. If you are suddenly 20 pounds below your usual weight of the past 5 years, your body will reduce muscles because there is a lot less weight to carry around all day. That makes sense. It is still important to make sure that fat is reduced much more.

Image courtesy of Charisma /

The most important aspect here is to monitor your progress. You need an electronic scale. There is more about this topic to read in my blog entry titled The Best Time To Weigh Yourself.

How I reduced my body fat from 25 to 20 per cent

When I started my diet, I had a body fat percentage of 25. That means that one fourth of me was pure fat. When I was done, my body fat was only 20%, one fifth of my total weight. I was a much slimmer person, and I had also downsized in general, looking really different, even my face was thin.

How did I reduce my body fat percentage? Mathematically speaking, by dropping more fat than all the other tissue in my body. While I lose in all departments apart from bone tissue, fat is what I lost most significantly.

Here are the different categories of tissue that can or can't be affected during weight loss:


Your sceleton will remain intact throughout the diet and not change in terms of weight. If you have an electronic scale, measure up the weight of your bones. It is amazing how light your bones are. What keeps you standing upright is your muscles. Bones are only strings being pulled by muscles.


Here is your main target for weight loss. If you lose more weight from fat in absolute numbers than you lose weight from the other items on this list, the percentage of fat in your body will decrease.


You consist mainly of water. Between 60 and 70 per cent of your body consists of water. On the scale, water may not be displayed in such ways because the water percentage is displayed in relation to the other items on this list, and this does not reflect the fact that water is in pretty much every cell of your body.

Losing water is a collateral damage, if it is damage at all. Losing fat will go together with losing water. In my weight loss journal, I found out that perhaps only half of my total weight loss could be attributed to fat, and the other half is water and muscles. So don't worry about water.


In the quest to lowering your fat percentage, muscles are the counter part that's trying to subdue the fat. You could call the muscles the natural opponent of the fat cells.

Not only are muscles there to burn fat in the biological process, the percentage of muscles directly affects the percentage of fat. If you do a lot of weight lifting, for example, you can get your muscle percentage up, which will lower the fat percentage. This means that reducing the fat percentage does not necessarily mean weight loss!

On the other end, when you lose weight from a diet, make sure that downsizing does not occur to heavily. You need to keep your muscles performing so that the percentage of fat will go down while muscles are widely maintained. Don't worry if muscles go down a little. I lost many pounds of muscle tissue by downsizing, but fat went away much faster than muscles.

Another factor we did not talk about yet is height. Of course, you won't shrink in height when you lose weight. But since all the other values go down and your height remains the same, you will of course look better horizontally (less "wide", so to speak). This is just the logic of things.

How to keep muscles up and bring fat down

You only need to worry about muscles and fat, since bones are predetermined and water only reacts to what muscles and fat are doing.

To get fat down, you need to tell your body to burn fat. Telling your body this requires you to speak the language of your body. There are two ways you can talk to your body. One is to exercise and burn more energy than you consume daily, weekly, monthly, the other (in my opinion: the better) is to avoid carbohydrates, or carbs (essentially: sugars).

Most of my posts deal with this topic, so go check them out. Maybe you can start here: No Carb Diet

The other side of the coin is to make sure muscle tissue either stays intact, grows, or only goes down slowly. What exactly happens depends on you. I was lazy during weight loss and didn't want to exercise, so I chose to let my muscle tissue go down, just not as fast. If you want to maintain your muscles, you can exercise. The intensity determines how much muscle you keep, grow, or lose.

Whether you exercise or not, one thing is mandatory: You must get protein into your body. If you only exercise, but don't give your body the stuff it needs to build and maintain muscles, your muscles will shrink.

During my diet, I ate protein every four hours (except for when I slept, of course). The easiest way is to drink a protein shake that is low in carbs (to reduce fat). Alternatively, you can eat meat, fish, eggs, soy beans and other foods high in protein.

What are benefits of reducing body fat percentage?

Apart from the usual health benefits like decreasing heart attack risk and better endurance, you have a better chance of making muscles visible. Fat blocks some very nice muscle tissue. This goes especially for guys who want to show some nice abs. Most men already have sufficient muscles to show off, but a big layer of fat is wobbling in front of their noses. This is the reason why they don't have a sixpack. It's not the lack of muscles!
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