9% BF But Still Look Super Full In Upper Body

I am currently 21 years old. I am a very active athlete, lifting 6 times a week and doing 1-1.5 hours of cardio per week. I did a 7 site pinch test this morning and I am currently at 9.4% body fat, with my upper body holding the highest results. I am currently doing a cut to get on stage for the first time. Any suggestions to shed that unwanted belly fat?

You should have almost none there. Post a pic.

How far out is your competition?

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how many calories do you eat per day?

post a pic, please.

Uploading: 3889559A-0F31-49F9-BBD8-FC6F625694A8.jpeg…

Here is where I am currently at physique wise. Show is in 18 weeks


I am currently eating 2700 calories and my macros are:
300g protein
120g fat
100g carb

I am currently 223.4 lbs as of 6 this morning

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before I ate less I would set my fat to 65-70 grams. I would use those extra 450 calories as protein.

you look great. well done so far.

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You are nowhere near 9% bf.


That’s the issue with pinch tests. I’m assuming I’m between 9% and 12% or around that ballpark but I won’t be able to see an exact number without doing an X-ray or Bod Pod test

For sure not 9%. Maybe 15 (?) I guess it doesn’t matter - BBing needs you to be striated everywhere to stand out. Cut until then.

Keep cutting, you’re doing fine.

I would recommend keeping fat at 0.3g/lb BW and no more - you want to maximize carbs… far more anabolic than fats.


It’s not important. Use the mirror. you should see all your abs in any light without flexing. you’ll have some vascularity in the biceps, shoulder, and lower abdomen. will have visible separation of muscle groups (thighs for example)


Nope. Not even close. Goods news / bad news. Good news is it doesn’t matter and you have 18 weeks to get stage ready which is plenty of time. Bad news is… you have 18 weeks of suffering ahead of you.


IMO, you don’t need to know your percent body fat. That is never asked by the judges. You must gauge by the mirror. The skin fold test is good for seeing if your millimeters are dropping or not.

18 weeks is a long time and much can be accomplished considering your youth. More carbohydrates are needed to train efficiently to build muscle tissue. Bigger muscles cure many shortcomings.

You need to start seeing major muscle group separation everywhere.

How is your strength?
What can you bench press? 5 rep max
What can you squat? 5 rep max

One benefit is that it looks like you will be able to see abs easily when you are stage ready. But you will not be able to use your ab development as a guide. You need to use striations in your muscles as the guide.

Let’s see how much you can improve in 6 weeks? I expect to start seeing separation in your quads, especially three of them (both vastus and rectus femoris)


You are definitely 9% body fat. I say this because that makes me 5%… and I really want to believe that. :laughing:

Seriously, lots of good advice above. Here’s a story that puts caliper testing into perspective:

Coach Christian Thibaudeau and Dr. John Berardi had this same experience: They went to separate seminars where the attendees were being taught how to measure body fat, by Charles Poliquin as I recall. Everyone was trained by an expert for hours. They were all using very nice calipers (like $500, not those little plastic ones we all have). At the end, these trained attendees all measured one another’s body fat.

Both Christian and John said that their measurements were all over the place. Like anywhere from 2% to 18%.

Now, if that happened to them, imagine how much the average untrained person screws up measuring himself with cheap calipers?


Currently able to hit 365x5 on bench and 550x5 on squat


I am assuming that you can deadlift about what you can squat.

Thinking long term, IMO, your best move would be to powerlift 2 or 3 years to really solidify your foundation. I would say to compete at least twice a year.

Your short term aim would be to compete in the 220lb class, but long term maybe the 198’s might be a good aim. You didn’t mention your height, but if you are over 6’0", the 198’s might be too light if your long term aim is bodybuilding competition.

I assure you that you will enjoy powerlifting meets. Everyone pulls for others to accomplish their PR goals. Bodybuilding contests are subjective which sets the stage for uncertainty in the results. By and large, competitors are judging each other and can be a tense environment. Actually they are not much fun, not to mention the agonizing wait between the end of prejudging and the show. The contest is over for all but the class winners at the end of prejudging.

You will have plenty of years ahead to focus on bodybuilding after you have had the time of your life competing in powerlifting.


The good and bad news is that you aren’t near 9%. I’d guess around 18% TBH. The good part is that I think you have good mass, and will look great leaner.

How tall are you?

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I am 5’10”

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I currently powerlift semi competitively. My numbers are 405 bench, 610 squat, and 700 deadlift. I’m 5’10 and I’m coming off a season of college football. This is my first true cut since wrestling season aprox. 4 years ago. Originally I was up to 261 and had some really good size as well, very little of that fatty look. I just looked big

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Chances are that being 5’10" will give you a lean physique at 198lbs. Here you could compete in either powerlifting or bodybuilding (with as little as 8 weeks prep).

Or just do your first bodybuilding contest and see how much you like it.


Can I ask if natty? Those are damn good lifts either way, but if natty, I’d say you have great strength genetics. Still good if not.