Visually Estimating Body Fat Percentage

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Everyone has different body fat distribution, so I tried to find a few pictures of different people between each range. The amount of lean muscle that you have plays a huge role in determining how you will look. Someone with more muscle can look as though they have a higher body fat percentage when muscle separation isn’t clear.

The amount of veins that can be saw over the body is known as vascularity and this will decrease as body fat increases. Muscle definition is the same way – typically being higher when you have low body fat.

As men gain body fat, the fat typically starts to go into the stomach of all the places. As it grows, it will begin to form all over the body – but still mainly in the stomach.

Females typically see fat funneling into their hips and thigh areas – but some women do see noticeable amounts of fat in their stomachs at even low body fat percentages.

Male Body Fat Percentage: 5% – 9%

This body fat percentage is not sustainable for most men. Around this level, all of your muscles will show noticeable definition and clear vascularity in most muscles. There will be a pretty clear distinction between each muscle. Even the abs will have vascularity which shows signs of a very low body fat.

Male at 5 percent body fat

Male Body Fat Percentage: 10% – 14%

This is the range that most men want to be at for a classical “beach body” look. There will be separation between muscles, but not in every muscle. Veins will mostly only show on the arms, and sometimes the legs.

Male 10 Percent Body Fat
Male 10 percent bf

Male Body Fat Percentage: 15% – 19%

This is more of a lean look, with less muscle striations and vascularity. The definition on muscles goes down and there is not a clear separation between them. Most vascularity is gone, but some can still be seen on the arms.

Male 16 percent BF

Male Body Fat Percentage: 20% – 24%

This is the most common range for men to be at, where the separation between muscles begins to become nonexistent. There are almost no striations or vascularity in any muscle groups. Typically there will be a little bit of fat on the stomach, but it will not be rounded.


Male Body Fat Percentage: 25% – 29%

Any range above this is considered obese in most men. The waist size starts to increase and the stomach shows rounding. There may still be little neck fat, but most men gain weight in their stomachs first. There’s no separation of muscles and veins typically don’t show.


Male Body Fat Percentage: 30% – 34%

The fat starts to distribute around the body and the waist will look larger relative to the hips. The stomach will be noticeably more round and chin fat will start to form.


Male Body Fat Percentage: 35% – 39%

The stomach will start to gain more and more fat around it, and usually be over 40 inches. The stomach will have clear protrusion and hang.


Male Body Fat Percentage: 40% and Over

Everyday activities begin difficult to perform, and this is where the body fat level is approaching morbidly obese. The stomach will continue to grow and the chest will gain more fat.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 10% – 14%

Women have more fat in breast tissue, waist, and thigh areas. The essential body fat for a woman is 8%, while for a man is only 2%. This is the range you will usually see bodybuilders in, and is not considered healthy to keep consistent. Muscles are clearly defined and separated, and vascularity is noticeable all over the body. The less vascularity, the further away from 10% body fat you deviate.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 15% – 19%

The hips, thighs, and butt usually have less shape because of the lack of body fat. Many bikini and fitness models are usually within this range, as there is still a clear definition in the muscles. Vascularity is usually only in the arms and some in the legs, and there is still separation between muscles.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 20% – 24%

The separation between muscles, as well as the definition in the muscles becomes less apparent. This is the range that most female athletes fall in, and is considered as highly fit. There is some definition in the abs, but usually the arms and legs start to lose muscle definition.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 25% – 29%

This is the range that most women fall into, as is not too slim or overweight. Curves begin to form in the hips as there is more body fat around the thigh and butt.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 30% – 34%

As women begin to gain weight, instead of it going to their stomach, it will begin to show around the hips, thighs, and butt. In this range, the butt and thighs will be more rounded and pronounced.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 35% – 39%

At this level of body fat, the face and neck will begin to gain some fat. The stomach may also start to gain fat and be protruding a little. Usually the waist is over 32 inches in this range.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 40% – 44%

The thighs and hips will begin to funnel fat into them, and grow very large. At this level of body fat, the waist is typically 35 inches.


Female Body Fat Percentage: 45% and over

The hips will become noticeably wider than the shoulders, and the waist will be over 35 inches. Typically, the skin will begin to lose its smoothness and often show dimpling on it.