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ideal cyclist body fat percentage(11 posts)

ideal cyclist body fat percentageesbike
Feb 7, 2002 11:58 PM
This past winter I've worked hard to lose about 12 lbs and to reduce my body fat from about 17% to 12% (as judged by a tanita scale). It has been rewarding because my climbing has really improved. I've set a goal of getting to 10% to just see how I look and feel at that level. Not that I'm getting dangerously low or anything, but I wanted to know if anyone thinks that there an ideal body fat percentage for cycling? Is it better to be simply as low as possible? Wouldn't you have less reserve of energy with an extremely low body fat? Anyone have an idea what the range is in the pro ranks? For example, Lance at tour time looks real thin, I'd guess 5-7%. Everyone is always busting on Ullrich for being too fat, but he can't be much more than 10%.
I've heard/read 10-15% nmJBergland
Feb 8, 2002 6:13 AM
current guidelines etc.theBreeze
Feb 8, 2002 7:03 AM
Remember, "cyclists" are female too.
But no, it's not always best to be "as low as possible." As a personal trainer and certified fitness specialist it's been my experience that a person can have too low a body fat for their own individual body type and chemistry. Some can sustain a real low number and others find their performance is definately affected when they try to get below a certain point.
FYI, current ACSM guidelines are:
essential fat: women 11-14%; men 3-5% (needed to maintan health)
athletes: women 12-22%; men 5-13%
general fit population: women 16-25%; men 12-18%

I would also be wary of the "body fat" scales. The accuracy and precision can be greatly affected by how well you are hydrated. If you are going to use one, make sure you are always measuring yourself under the same conditions at the same time of day. Then get your body fat checked by a professional to compare. Most YMCA's have experienced personnel and charge about $5 if you are not a member.
Question about hydrationscottfree
Feb 8, 2002 7:22 AM
If you're dehydrated (say, after waking in the morning, or after training) will the scale err high or low?
Feb 8, 2002 7:38 AM
Proper hydration is essential to these things working right. However, you shouldn't us it right after drinking a big glass of water, either. I use mine 1st thung in the am. Yeah, it's probably inaccurate , but it's CONSISTANTLY inaccurate, so at least I know if I'm gaining or losing. FWIW-mine is rarely <20%, yet when I am measured by calipers, I'm in the 12-15%. Go figure.)
tanita scales are not accurate....mixinbeatz
Feb 8, 2002 10:55 AM
Mine varies from 6.5% to 14% based on hydration. I guess they can be good to get a reference and the weight measuring is dead on... but I would not use the numbers to determine true body fat.
that's a big swing. . .js5280
Feb 8, 2002 12:02 PM
I usually only see maybe a 3-4% swing at worse, usually dealing w/ hydration levels or recent physical activity. Most of the time though it's +/- .5-1.0% when I weight myself just before I hop in the shower in the morning. No idea if it's accurate (i.e. is my body fat really around 17%) because I haven't been tested through other methods, but it is consistent which is still good for detecting trends I think. Hell anything that gets you to pay attention to your health is good thing.

Hope that the same holds true for me as mentioned above, that's be great if it's reading high! Just for self-satisfaction though.
re: ideal cyclist body fat percentageEames
Feb 8, 2002 12:02 PM
I'll bet Lance is lower than 5-7%. He can't be much "fatter" than I am. It all depends on what your body wants to do. I naturally hit 6% consistently during the winter and 4% consistently in the peak of season. I have seen as low as 2.5%. No one has ever called be unhealthy but I've been called skinny plenty.
they say photos adds 10 pounds ;-)js5280
Feb 8, 2002 12:07 PM
I find this picture of Lance funny, he looks like a young kid.
This is about right.High Gear
Feb 9, 2002 3:15 AM
Erik Dekkermanicmtbr
Feb 9, 2002 4:34 AM
I just read in some Euro mag that Mr. Dekker is 3% bodyfat. Go figure.