Fat vs Lean: Benefit vs Cost

I was reading this yesterday and thought would share. The Infographic is the shortform version, the accompanying article goes into more detail.

Many of us run with weight loss as one of our goals, many of us are a tad overweight. For most of us, what we mean by that is we want to lose fat - losing lean body mass is not a desirable outcome, although a great number of restricted calorie diets achieve precisly that.

How lean is lean, however? How lean do we need to be to look a certain way? How lean does one have to be to have visble abs? What are the health benefits at the various degrees of leanness and at what point does the health scale start to tip the other way? and, equally importantly, what does it take to achieve the varying degrees of leanness? How much exercise, how much food?

Well, that is what this article and graphic address, and in a very straightforward way. I confess I was surprised by some of it. It certainly puts it all into perspective.

Hopefully will spark some interesting discussion too. See what you think:



9 Replies

  • Very good.  Makes for interesting reading, in a clear way.  I was umming and aahing about which category I was in.  

  • That's interesting and I can feel less guilty about sleeping loads now :-)

  • To me 22 to 25% for a female is best but then no mention of eating carbs so really anything between 20 and 25% is a good medium. 

  • No mention of carbs = no eating of carbs. Blecch yuck carbs.

  • Mmmmmm, love carb 😄

  • Step away from the carbs, Ma'am.

  • Mmmn very interesting reading. It all sounds simple which at the end of the day it is, but as with everything, there are always exceptions. Years ago my body fat percentage was 17% but I didn't exercise much, ate what I wanted, drank alcohol every night, blah blah. I certainly wasn't an athlete of any description! I don't know what my BFP is now, but I can still eat what I want without gaining weight and my biggest challenge since running longer distances is maintaining it. I read once that you can be slim but fat inside and that was probably me before but now I'm hoping I'm slim inside too!

    Thanks for posting Rig. I might have another egg now!

  • Thanks for this.  This is something I have been thinking of quite a lot recently.  I would like to go in the under 25% fat and have just begun to realise the way to get there is to watch the amount of "sweaty" cardio I do. I need to train a bit smarter not harder.  So after my HM next week there is going to be a big change in my training.  I'm looking forard to it. 

  • I had a DEXA scan recently, I was gobsmacked to find I have 33 % body fat, I always thought I was quite lean! They told me that I am at the lower end of normal for my gender and age. I still find it a bit horrific, I keep imagining 25 KGs of butter or lard sitting on the table, that's what is inside me!

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