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  1. #1
    Registered User JA4Fitness's Avatar
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    Lowest possible body fat %?

    So, between my trainer, another trainer friend, and myself, there has been a bit of an ongoing conversation about what the lowest possible body fat % a female can obtain is. If you guys have any idea, is there a photo to go along with it?
    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Registered User ktkoch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JA4Fitness View Post
    So, between my trainer, another trainer friend, and myself, there has been a bit of an ongoing conversation about what the lowest possible body fat % a female can obtain is. If you guys have any idea, is there a photo to go along with it?
    Thanks!
    This is a great website and really goes into BF%. You have to scroll down to get to the females. http://www.leighpeele.com/body-fat-p...nd-percentages
    "Go big or go home"...
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  3. #3
    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    for a BBing show, around 8-10%, but it is not something you can maintain without a tremendous effort and compromising your health and sanity.

    pauline nordin is 10% on a more or less permanent basis, for what it's worth.
    "The human race is still largely a group of monkeys with slightly better grooming habits. Give them a microscope and and they'll examine their own ****, give them a telescope and they'll go looking for tits."
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    I have read that women need 10-12% fat to stay healthy and keep their bodies functioning, especially the sex organs.
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    Registered User kpettitt's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ktkoch View Post
    This is a great website and really goes into BF%. You have to scroll down to get to the females. http://www.leighpeele.com/body-fat-p...nd-percentages
    awesome web page thanks!
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  6. #6
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    Originally Posted by SilkMouse View Post
    I have read that women need 10-12% fat to stay healthy and keep their bodies functioning, especially the sex organs.
    You are wrong.
    12% is essential for women, meaning it's needed for survival. In no way this is healthy.

    Realistic body fat range for maintenance (I am talking about athletes, not average women who are not dieting and training) is anywhere from 15 to 22.
    Pauline Nordin, as Miranda, mentioned maintains somewhat around 10%, and I am sure she will have to pay for this sooner or later.
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  7. #7
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by juliacheh View Post
    You are wrong.
    12% is essential for women, meaning it's needed for survival. In no way this is healthy.

    Realistic body fat range for maintenance (I am talking about athletes, not average women who are not dieting and training) is anywhere from 15 to 22.
    Pauline Nordin, as Miranda, mentioned maintains somewhat around 10%, and I am sure she will have to pay for this sooner or later.
    I agree.^^

    My doctor (who happened to be a female athlete) never wanted me to go under 14% in my off seasons.
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  8. #8
    Calving :) SilkMouse's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by juliacheh View Post
    You are wrong.
    12% is essential for women, meaning it's needed for survival. In no way this is healthy.

    Realistic body fat range for maintenance (I am talking about athletes, not average women who are not dieting and training) is anywhere from 15 to 22.
    Pauline Nordin, as Miranda, mentioned maintains somewhat around 10%, and I am sure she will have to pay for this sooner or later.
    I didn't mean long term, I was just meaning how low it is possible to go without damaging yourself by even getting there. No, you don't want to aim for it or stay there. I thought OP wanted to know the lowest it is possible for a woman to go, like hypothetically, because she said "obtain," not "maintain."
    Last edited by SilkMouse; 05-10-2011 at 11:00 PM.
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  9. #9
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    I honestly don't think it's healthy for women to be under 16%. I mean, the period stops at 17... so... That may be the body's way of telling someone she's compromising her insides... IDK. I'm not an expert but it's science
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  10. #10
    Queen Miranda to you Miranda's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by greesemuunkie View Post
    I honestly don't think it's healthy for women to be under 16%. I mean, the period stops at 17... so... That may be the body's way of telling someone she's compromising her insides... IDK. I'm not an expert but it's science
    that's different for everyone - some women lose their period in the low 20s.

    often, it is the result of too big of a gap between energy intake/expenditure (eg a buttload of cardio on very low calories/low fat intake for extended periods) regardless of actual BF%. it is also possible to maintain in the teens with a regular period. it depends on how you treat yourself.
    Last edited by Miranda; 05-10-2011 at 02:30 PM.
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  11. #11
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    ^didn't know that^

    I'll ask my trainer about it. hmmmmm
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  12. #12
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    that's different for everyone - some women lose their period in the low 20s.

    often, it is the result of too big of a gap between energy intake/expenditure (eg a buttload of cardio on very low calories/low fat intake for extended periods) regardless of actual BF%. it is also possible to maintain in the teens with a regular period. it depends on how you treat yourself.
    Well said^^

    I've been competing for years and I've never lost my period...it's like clockwork.
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    As a contrast, I lost mine when I went into basic training. I ate like a horse (gained 25 pounds during that time frame, so not a deficit!) and started out at a higher BF% than I am now (I was probably 25% or so), but missed my period for the two times it was due. Likely due to the extreme all-day working out and little sleep that I was not used to, even though I ate more than enough to compensate. Most of the other females there lost theirs, too.
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  14. #14
    Registered User FrancesATX's Avatar
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    As far as amenorrhea, it really depends on your body. But, technically, it comes from any excessive amount of stress on your body... whether that be low body fat, excessive cardio, large deficit in cals, whatever that change in stress may be. Here's some articles if you're interested:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=...=1&oi=scholart
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  15. #15
    Military Wife and Mom Julie5150's Avatar
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    I'll be honest and say that the threat of amenohrea isn't really a threat. The beast of nature will be gone? - you know - it makes it a little TEMPTING to get there. (Don't worry - I'm not heading in that directions)

    It's the other health problems that are a deterrent - hair loss and other things I've experienced in my past (more related to overall anemia and anorexia - but still)
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    Originally Posted by Miranda View Post
    that's different for everyone - some women lose their period in the low 20s.

    often, it is the result of too big of a gap between energy intake/expenditure (eg a buttload of cardio on very low calories/low fat intake for extended periods) regardless of actual BF%. it is also possible to maintain in the teens with a regular period. it depends on how you treat yourself.
    Absolutely true. I lost mine when my BMI was 22...have no idea about my body fat %, but it wasn't low, I was very "soft". I had spent 3-4 months barely eating, doing countless crunches and walking 5 m. a day.
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    Originally Posted by FrancesATX View Post
    As far as amenorrhea, it really depends on your body. But, technically, it comes from any excessive amount of stress on your body... whether that be low body fat, excessive cardio, large deficit in cals, whatever that change in stress may be. Here's some articles if you're interested:
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=...=1&oi=scholart
    Obese women can sometimes lose their periods as well.
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  18. #18
    Ditched the hooker heels! elainedeluca's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Julie5150 View Post
    I'll be honest and say that the threat of amenohrea isn't really a threat. The beast of nature will be gone? - you know - it makes it a little TEMPTING to get there. (Don't worry - I'm not heading in that directions)

    It's the other health problems that are a deterrent - hair loss and other things I've experienced in my past (more related to overall anemia and anorexia - but still)
    So true. Mine was gone around 17-18% and let me tell you...it was almost a blessing...never having to worry about it. Of course, I gained a boatload of weight and it came back with a vengeance, but now we're back on the road to competition. I kinda can't wait for it to disappear for a while.
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    Originally Posted by Julie5150 View Post
    I'll be honest and say that the threat of amenohrea isn't really a threat. The beast of nature will be gone? - you know - it makes it a little TEMPTING to get there. (Don't worry - I'm not heading in that directions)

    It's the other health problems that are a deterrent - hair loss and other things I've experienced in my past (more related to overall anemia and anorexia - but still)
    That actually isn't true. Not menstruating is bad for our bones. A lot of women with ammenhorrea will develop osteopenia or even osteoporosis. That happened to me as a result of not getting my period for years at a time in high school (as a result of anorexia).

    It's possible to got to a fairly low percentage of body fat while still continuing to menstruate, but it depends on the person. I think the bigger factor, as mentioned above, is energy balance. I conceived my daughter a year ago (therefore it can be concluded that I was menstruating) and my body fat was quite low, but my caloric intake was pretty high. I trained hard, but ate a ton. I don't know what my body fat percentage was, probably mid-teens. The lowest I could maintain without resorting to really drastic (and unhealthy) measures. On the other hand, I know plenty of people with ample fat stores that have lost their periods, especially if they've lost rapid amounts of weight and/or in an unhealthy way.
    Last edited by heidismommy; 05-15-2011 at 03:20 PM.
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    Originally Posted by heidismommy View Post
    That actually isn't true. Not menstruating is bad for our bones. A lot of women with ammenhorrea will develop osteopenia or even osteoporosis. That happened to me as a result of not getting my period for years at a time in high school (as a result of anorexia).
    If you're worried about the health risks like osteopenia or endometrial cancer that are associated with consistently missed periods, you can actually just take oral birth control or an estrogen supplement and you'll basically erase that added risk. The osteopenia isn't caused by the missed periods, but they're both caused by low levels of estrogen in the body (that low bodyfat/serious athletics can sometimes cause). The endometrial cancer actually concerns me a little more (because of my family history), because if you skip many periods in a row, the endometrial lining doesn't get shed, and since there is more of it, you're at a greater risk for cancerous growth. Birth control pills keep your endometrial lining thin though, so you don't have to worry.


    Some references:
    http://pcos.about.com/od/callingyour...vingperiod.htm
    http://familydoctor.org/online/famdo...bone/1030.html
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    Originally Posted by goalorientgirl View Post
    If you're worried about the health risks like osteopenia or endometrial cancer that are associated with consistently missed periods, you can actually just take oral birth control or an estrogen supplement and you'll basically erase that added risk. The osteopenia isn't caused by the missed periods, but they're both caused by low levels of estrogen in the body (that low bodyfat/serious athletics can sometimes cause). The endometrial cancer actually concerns me a little more (because of my family history), because if you skip many periods in a row, the endometrial lining doesn't get shed, and since there is more of it, you're at a greater risk for cancerous growth. Birth control pills keep your endometrial lining thin though, so you don't have to worry.


    Some references:
    http://pcos.about.com/od/callingyour...vingperiod.htm
    http://familydoctor.org/online/famdo...bone/1030.html
    Yes, but hormonal bcps usually bring about artificial "periods". When I was quoting the poster, it was because it sounded like she'd like to not have periods at all, artificial or otherwise. After I'd gained a substantial amount of recovery weight, I still hadn't resumed menstruation so I was sent to a gynecologist and was put on provera and then bcp's to keep my cycles regular. They weren't real "cycles" at the time, but the artificial estrogen was prescribed to help my bones. They didn't help btw, at the age of 32 I have full-blown osteoporosis in my spine.

    That said, ammenorrhea is usually a sign that something is amiss and should be looked at seriously. Even if the stuff you've mentioned can be prevented through artificial means, it's still isn't ideal. Our bodies need proper nutrition in order to function properly and when the reproductive system shuts down, it's usually a signal that you've crossed a certain threshold with regards to energy balance.

    http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/...rual-cycle.htm

    the above link is very informative imo---here is a snippet about osteporosis in the athlete:

    "Long term menstrual irregularities are known to have detrimental effects on bone mineral status and fertility. While there is little evidence of harmful effects of ERMI on reproductive status, the most serious risk is the impact on the skeleton. Osteoporosis and increased risk for stress fractures are of major concern and have been fully documented in the literature.

    Long term amenorrhea may result in low bone density at multiple skeletal sites, especially the spine. Even skeletal sites subjected to impact loading during exercise failed to mineralize bone. Studies also show that bone mineral loss is sustained even after resumption of regular menstrual cycles. Nor did high calcium intake compensate for lack of bone accumulation.

    There is no research that indicates that bone loss is negated in female athletes using anabolic steroids and presenting with amenorrhea. Hormone replacement therapy at dosages used for postmenopausal women have not been effective in increasing bone mass in athletes with long-term amenorrhea. However, such therapy may help protect against further bone loss. Oral contraceptives have been successful in some cases and unsuccessful in others to restore menstruation in training athletes. Although more research is needed, high doses of hormones may be required to prevent bone loss and restore menstruation."
    Last edited by heidismommy; 05-15-2011 at 07:22 PM.
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    Celiac/Addisonian goalorientgirl's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by heidismommy View Post
    Yes, but hormonal bcps usually bring about artificial "periods". When I was quoting the poster, it was because it sounded like she'd like to not have periods at all, artificial or otherwise. After I'd gained a substantial amount of recovery weight, I still hadn't resumed menstruation so I was sent to a gynecologist and was put on provera and then bcp's to keep my cycles regular. They weren't real "cycles" at the time, but the artificial estrogen was prescribed to help my bones. They didn't help btw, at the age of 32 I have full-blown osteoporosis in my spine.

    That said, ammenorrhea is usually a sign that something is amiss and should be looked at seriously. Even if the stuff you've mentioned can be prevented through artificial means, it's still isn't ideal. Our bodies need proper nutrition in order to function properly and when the reproductive system shuts down, it's usually a signal that you've crossed a certain threshold with regards to energy balance.

    http://www.thinkmuscle.com/articles/...rual-cycle.htm

    the above link is very informative imo---here is a snippet about osteporosis in the athlete:
    I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that (and that is a very informative link). Yes, prolonged ammenorrhea is something to certainly talk to your doctor about. I thought the artificial estrogen was a lot more effective than it clearly is (except maybe at very high doses). Hopefully not to many women have to go through what you did.
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    Originally Posted by goalorientgirl View Post
    I'm so sorry you've had to deal with that (and that is a very informative link). Yes, prolonged ammenorrhea is something to certainly talk to your doctor about. I thought the artificial estrogen was a lot more effective than it clearly is (except maybe at very high doses). Hopefully not to many women have to go through what you did.
    I appreciate that, thank you! I just want to make others aware that there are risks.
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