Challenge: from 20% to 10% body fat in 16 weeks

Since January 2020 one of my goals has been to reach 10% body fat. In that time I have gotten closer and then farther from my goal, never really hitting it. Over that period, I have oscillated between 11.5% and 19%. I’m currently back where I was at the beginning of 2020, at around 19-20%.

Despite many setbacks, I believe I now have a few tools and systems that can help me get there in a sustainable way. What I need now is to consistently use those systems to get to the goal in a sustainable way.

A period of 16 weeks seems to be a sufficient amount of time to go from where I am now to the 10% target.

To create positive pressure, I have decided to share my journey in this blog, to keep myself accountable in the eyes of the (very few) readers of my blog. I also hope to share any useful information with others who are undertaking similar challenges.

I am currently at about 19-20% body fat – I know this because my current weight is 77kg and my lean mass throughout 2020 and 2021 has been 62-63kg (as measured by multiple DEXA scans). I will try to perform a DEXA scan as soon as possible, as well as two more (one at week 8 and one at week 16) so I can have hard data instead of estimations.

How will I get there? By both leaning up and maintaining.

On Mondays and Wednesdays I will lean up. On these days, I will only have two meals, each of them consisting of 48g of whey protein and a tomato. Since my daily caloric expenditure is roughly 2500kcal and the intake on these days is 500kcal, the net deficit produced is about 2000kcal per lean day. That yields 4000kcal per day. To lose a kilo of fat, a deficit of roughly 9000kcal is required. This means that each week I should lose about 0.45 kilos of fat. Over a period of 16 weeks, this should add to a bit more than 7 kilos. This should be enough to get me to 10-11% body fat. The critical aspect of leaning up is to not break the lean day at dinner time. This has been my main obstacle in leaning up. To overcome it, I have to stick to the two lean days.

On the remaining days I will maintain. On these days, my goal is to eat three meals: a light breakfast (protein & a piece of fruit, about 300kcal); lunch (about 1000kcal); and dinner (about 1200kcal). I won’t refrain from any “forbidden” foods, but I will eat in a way that is mostly healthy and balanced, also keeping an eye at the overall calorie intake per meal. There will be some excessive calories eaten on Friday and Saturday, but given my large volume of training on Fridays, as long as I keep it under 1500kcal per week, everything should work. The critical aspect of maintaining is to not snack. This has been my main obstacle in maintaining my weight. To overcome it, I have to stick to my 19 weekly meals (four of them lean).

The long term plan, once I hit my target body fat percentage, is to switch Monday and Wednesday from lean days to just a lean lunch (protein & tomato) with a normal dinner. That will keep the “leaning up” habit in place, but will only generate a 2000kcal deficit per week, which can then (very) easily be compensated by the almost inevitable weekend excesses.

I will report my progress every Monday.