Blog Diets 10% Body Fat Diet: How to Burn More Fat Through Nutrition

10% Body Fat Diet: How to Burn More Fat Through Nutrition

The American Council on Exercise states that achieving and maintaining a body fat percentage of around 10% is acceptable for athletes and those engaging in endurance activities (6).

For women, a body fat percentage around 14-20% falls into a similar category of fitness, while for men, the target is closer to 10%.

These aren’t just numbers on a scale; they symbolize a commitment to health, vitality, and the peak physical condition that many strive for. Having a low body fat percentage is often associated with increased longevity, improved metabolic health, and enhanced physical performance (1).

Luckily, focusing on nutrition is one of the most effective strategies for reducing body fat percentage and achieving these health and fitness goals.

Here’s what you need to know about tailoring your diet to burn more fat, optimize your health, and edge closer to that elusive 10% body fat mark.

What Is a 10% Body Fat Diet?

10% body fat diet refers to a specific approach to nutrition that aims to reduce body fat percentage while maintaining or increasing lean muscle mass.

It’s not just about losing weight; it’s about achieving a healthy and balanced composition of body fat relative to muscle mass.

This can involve making certain dietary changes, such as increasing protein intake, reducing refined carbohydrates, and consuming nutrient-dense whole foods.

The goal is to create an energy deficit, which means you consume fewer calories than your body needs, promoting fat loss while preserving muscle mass. A balanced and nutrient-rich diet can also help improve overall health and optimize physical performance for athletes (13).

Betterme will keep you laser-focused on your weight loss journey! Nutrient-packed meal plans, fat-blasting workouts, galvanizing challenges and much more. Try using the app and see for yourself!

Can You Be Healthy at 10% Body Fat?

Yes, it’s possible to be healthy with a body fat percentage of 10%. In fact, many athletes and fitness enthusiasts aim for this level of body fat as it is associated with improved metabolic health and physical performance.

However, the key is to achieve and maintain 10% body fat through healthy means, such as proper nutrition and regular exercise.

Crash diets or extreme measures can lead to negative health effects and are not sustainable in the long term.

Furthermore, 10% body fat isn’t a realistic or necessary goal for everyone and can vary depending on factors such as age, gender, and genetics.

Check out our blog post What Losing 50 Pounds Does To Your Body. There, we discuss how losing a significant amount of weight can impact your body’s composition and overall health, including achieving a 10% body fat percentage.

How Sustainable Is 10% Body Fat?

Maintaining a body fat percentage of 10% isn’t easy. It requires dedication, consistency, and a balanced approach to nutrition and exercise. However, with proper guidance and support, it may be possible to sustain this level of body fat in a healthy manner.

See also
Healthy Thanksgiving Sides: How To Plan, Prep, and Win This Holiday Season

You’re more likely to sustain a low body fat percentage if:

  • You focus on overall health and wellness rather than just your appearance.
  • You have a balanced and varied diet that includes all the essential nutrients.
  • You incorporate strength training into your exercise routine to preserve muscle mass.
  • You allow yourself some flexibility and don’t follow overly restrictive diets.
  • You have a positive mindset and practice self-care to maintain motivation.
  • You recognize the highly individualized nature of body composition and don’t compare yourself to others.
  • You consider your preferences; dietary, lifestyle, and any other when creating a sustainable plan.

10% body fat diet  

10% Body Fat Diet Tips

Here are some of the basics you should keep in mind:


When cutting down body fat, it’s important to maintain a good complex carbohydrate intake. Carbs provide energy for physical activity and also help you retain muscle mass while dieting (17). 

Your daily carb intake should be between 3 and 5 grams per kg of your total body weight. However, if it’s your first time on this type of diet plan, then start with 1 gram per pound body weight and increase as needed. Don’t forget that you can find carbs in non-starchy vegetables, so eating plenty of these is recommended.


Protein will help preserve lean muscle mass when you’re cutting down your body fat percentage (17). Consume 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. It’s recommended to consume your daily protein intake over the course of a few meals rather than eating them all in one sitting (9).


Fats are an integral part of any diet, particularly when you’re trying to lower your body fat percentage (17). You don’t want to go too low on fats because it will be much more difficult to get enough calories from food and you may be at risk for muscle loss due to insufficient calorie consumption. 

Your daily fat intake should be approximately 0.5 grams per kg of your total body weight with no more than 30% coming from saturated fatty acids such as coconut oil, which encourages inflammation in the human body leading many people to avoid it (20). 

The rest of your daily fat intake should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids such as those that are found in extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and avocados. If you’re allergic or sensitive to nuts or seafood, you should use extra virgin olive oil instead as it has many health benefits (22).

See also
A 2400-Calorie Meal Plan: Stay Healthy And Perky Effectively

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb

What Is the Best Diet to Get 10% Body Fat?

The best diet to get 10% body fat includes a higher protein and lower carb intake. While the Standard American Diet (SAD) consists of 40-60% carbs, the 10% diet has less than 25% (16). The reasoning behind this drastic change is simple: decreasing your daily caloric intake ensures that you will lose weight. However, by keeping a healthy balance between carbohydrates and protein, you’ll not lose muscle mass or strength during this process.

The Keto Diet for 10% Body Fat

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, medium-protein, and low-carb diet. This makes it excellent for cutting body fat while maintaining weight/strength. 

On this type of plan, you’ll be consuming an incredibly low amount of carbs every day (no more than 50g), which is equivalent to two medium apples or an equal-sized piece of fruit per day. 

Consuming so few carbs leaves your body with no other choice but to use your stored glycogen as energy during workouts and restock once the exercise session is over – not enough energy coming in means your body burns fat instead (10). 

As the intake was so low to begin with, after a few days, your glycogen will be completely depleted and you’ll have to start burning fat for energy. Once it’s depleted, your body starts to use the stored fat that was previously around your abdomen and thighs as fuel during workouts. Once more, not enough energy coming in means your body burns fat instead (5). 

This process of using stored fat to burn for energy is called ketosis, which results in a loss of weight. Quite simply, you’re eating yourself into shape! If you follow this diet correctly and eat within reason, you can lower your body fat percentage to 10% (10).  

Here’s how a day of eating on the keto diet for 10% body fat looks : 

  • Breakfast: Egg whites with a lot of vegetables or a whey protein smoothie 
  • Lunch: Lean meat such as skinless chicken breast or fish, cooked in olive oil, with a few pieces of sweet potatoes and a lot of vegetables
  • Dinner: Steamed fish, such as salmon, with non-starchy vegetables and avocado slices 

Snacks between meals can include a protein shake or whey protein snack bars. Try to also include a few handfuls of nuts for extra healthy fat. 

10% body fat diet  

The Bodybuilding Diet for 10% Body Fat

A typical bodybuilding diet involves increasing your overall protein and calorie intake and incorporating regular strength training into your workouts. It places emphasis on quantity and meal timing during various phases of weight training.  

See also
Maximize Your Fitness With Calorie Deficit Breakfasts

There are essentially two phases to a bodybuilding diet: bulking and cutting. 

The bulking phase is designed to gain maximum muscle while adding little amounts of body fat, while the cutting phase is used to lose any excess flab that is gained during the bulking period. 

You should also take in more protein than you’re currently taking in (1g per pound of body weight). This will ensure your body is filled with plenty of nutrients and amino acids, which will help build muscle mass faster than on a normal diet (12). 

The macro ratios for the bulking phase are:

  • Protein: 25–30%
  • Fat: 15–20%
  • Carbohydrate: 55–60%

Here’s how a day of eating during the bulking phase looks: 

  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelet with spinach and cheese, turkey bacon, and whole milk
  • Lunch: Peanut butter sandwich topped with banana slices, whole milk.
  • Dinner: Fish fillet, whole grain rice, and steamed vegetables
  • Snacks: Protein shakes with protein powder, berries, and almonds

Combine these meals with an intense strength training routine that includes resistance exercises. 

The cutting phase is based on the same principle of a bodybuilding diet, but with fewer calories and more protein. This is also when you should add interval training to your workout routines. 

The macro ratio in the cutting phase is (12): 

  • Protein: 20–25%
  • Fat: 15–20%
  • Carbohydrate: 55–60%

Here’s how a day of eating during the cutting phase looks: 

  • Breakfast: Protein shake with fruit or vegetable juice and egg-white scramble
  • Lunch: Steamed salmon with broccoli and olive oil dressing
  • Dinner: Skinless chicken breast sautéed in olive oil, whole grain rice, and steamed vegetables 
  • Snacks: Greek yogurt

Unlike the keto diet, the bodybuilding diet allows you to consume carbohydrates to fuel your workout. Depending on your goals, you can increase or decrease your carbohydrate ratio during the bulking and cutting phase. As everyone’s body is different, such a flexible 10% body fat diet plan may be best. 

BetterMe app will kick you out of the mental funk, shake off your extra weight, rid you off your energy-zapping habits, and help you sculpt the body of your dreams. Intrigued? Hurry up and change your life for the better!

The Vegan Diet for 10% Body Fat

Vegan diets have proven to be effective in reducing fat and improving metabolism. The vegan diet has also been shown to be a good way of maintaining an already lean body (14). In order to get 10% body fat on a vegan diet, you’ll need to combine it with exercise.

See also
1700 Calorie Meal Plan High Protein Diet For Weight Loss: How Effective Is This Diet For Weight Loss?

How do you diet to go 10% body fat the vegan way? It’s a good idea to eat five or six small meals a day, spaced approximately three hours apart. This will keep your blood glucose levels more constant throughout the day. It’s also easier on your digestive system. Try to include two types of complete protein in each meal, in addition to vegetables and fruit with plenty of fiber. These nutrients are essential for energy and muscle maintenance. Include plenty of healthy fats that are found naturally in nuts, seeds, and avocados, along with healthy oils such as olive oil, flaxseed oil, and wheat germ oil as this can help maintain an already lean body (21).

Here’s how a day of eating on the vegan diet looks: 

  • Breakfast: Vegan protein shake with fruit and whole-wheat bread made with vegan nut butter
  • Lunch: Portobello mushroom sandwich with whole-wheat bread.
  • Dinner: Black bean and corn salad, brown rice, and soy milk

Combine this with an intense strength training routine that includes resistance exercises. This will help you reach your ultimate goal of getting to 10% body fat.

10% body fat diet  

Work Out Plan to Get 10% Body Fat

Lowering your body fat percentage will take more than just your diet and you must also incorporate a workout program with both weight training and cardio. 

Weight Training

You’ll work out four days per week, splitting up your routine as follows: legs, chest and shoulders, and back and arms. Each day should target one muscle group. You need to strength train to increase your muscle mass and then, you’ll burn more calories and body fat (7).

To build muscle, choose a weight that is heavy enough so you can only complete eight repetitions of each exercise before your muscles are fatigued. If you’re able to do more than 12 reps with good form for an exercise, it’s time to increase the weight (18).

Some exercises work multiple muscle groups such as squats and lunges, which target the thighs (frontal thighs). A sample routine that can be tweaked to fit your fitness level is: 

  • Legs: 3 sets of 8 repetitions each including the following exercises:  Squats, Lunges, Calf Raises 
  • Chest and Shoulders: 3 sets of 8 repetitions each including the following exercises: Barbell Bench Press, Butterfly Machine Overhead Triceps Extension 
  • Back and Biceps: 3 sets of 8 repetitions each including the following exercises: Deadlifts, Chins (pull-ups), Hammer Curls

Remember not to work on muscle groups more than once per week. The goal is to recuperate from your workouts so they can have the greatest possible impact. 

Cardiovascular Workout

You will also participate in cardiovascular workouts six days per week for 45 minutes each time (7). Walk briskly on each day, except leg day. To power your cardio exercise, you can drink a protein shake before or during your workout.

See also
Psoriasis Detox Diet Vs. Psoriasis-Friendly Balanced Nutrition

The remaining time that is needed for a good workout plan is for stretching after each training session and taking care of any injuries that result from your workouts. This is important because if you work out with an injury, your body won’t heal properly and you could potentially end up with more serious injuries in the future (19).

Tips for Lowering Body Fat Percentage When You’ve Hit a Plateau

You’re aiming for 10% body fat because you’ve already lost a considerable amount of weight. So, if you think you’re on the right diet and exercise plan but don’t seem to be making progress, here are three things you can do to pass the fat-burn plateau. 

Eat More

This may sound counterintuitive, but it works. Increase your total calorie count to allow for more food intake and more calories burned (by virtue of increased metabolism + exercise-activated thermogenesis) (4). 

How much more? Well, that depends on the amount of weight loss/fat gain you’re looking to achieve. A rough guideline is a 500 kcal increase per 1 lb lean tissue gained/lost (3). For example, if you’re looking for 2 lb of lean tissue gain, you should add 1,000 kcal to your current daily caloric intake (~5000 kcal). 

Eat every 2-3 hours during the day (you need to try and keep your insulin levels as even as possible). 

Switch up Your Workout

Push harder with your exercises. Rather than just slogging through a higher volume of work, make sure that at least one aspect (the intensity or duration) is increased. For example, add more weight during each workout for resistance training sessions and/or increase either the duration or intensity of your cardiovascular/aerobic exercise. (15

You should also consider adding some interval-type cardio such as sprints or HIIT workouts, where you cycle between all-out effort and easy recovery periods. This will prime your body to be more efficient at burning fat for fuel while sparing muscle loss when you’re dieting (7).

Read more: 24 Weight Loss Smoothies, 2 Diet Plans, and 5 Belly Fat Smoothie Secrets

10% body fat diet  


  • How long does it take to lose 10% body fat?

Losing 10% body fat may take a few months and up to a year, depending on your starting point and approach. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends aiming for a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, which translates to approximately 0.5% body fat loss per week (11).

In our piece How To Lose Belly Fat Overnight, we discuss the importance of setting realistic and sustainable weight loss goal.

  • Can you lose 10% body fat in 3 months?

Yes, it’s possible to lose 10% body fat in three months with a proper diet and exercise plan. To achieve this, you’ll need to focus on creating a calorie deficit of approximately 500-1,000 calories per day through a combination of diet and exercise (2). Other factors such as genetics and individual body composition may also play a role in how quickly you can lose 10% body fat.

  • Can you see abs at 15 percent body fat?

Most people will start to see their abs at around 12-15% body fat, although this can vary based on individual factors. Achieving a lower percentage of body fat doesn’t necessarily guarantee visible abs as other factors such as muscle mass and genetics also play a role in abdominal definition.

In our previous blog post Body Recomposition, we noted that developing visible abs requires a combination of reducing body fat percentage and building muscle mass in the abdominal area.

The Bottom Line 

To get the lean body you want, reaching 10% body fat is obviously not easy with any diet. You need to choose a diet you can stick to in the long term. If you combine a good diet plan with some intense exercise, you could very well achieve your goal.


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Associations between physical activity, physical fitness, and body composition in adults living in Germany: A cross-sectional study (2023,
  2. Calorie Deficit: What To Know (2022,
  3. Dietary intakes associated with successful weight loss and maintenance during the Weight Loss Maintenance Trial (2012,
  4. Diet induced thermogenesis (2004,
  5. Diet Review: Ketogenic Diet for Weight Loss (n.d.,
  6. Demystifying Body Fat Percentages: A Healthy Range Explained (2023,
  7. Effects of aerobic and/or resistance training on body mass and fat mass in overweight or obese adults (2012,
  8. How to Determine the Best Macronutrient Ratio for Your Goals (2016,
  9. How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution (2018,
  10. Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patient (2004,
  11. Losing Weight (2023,
  12. Macronutrient considerations for the sport of bodybuilding (2004,
  13. Nutrition and athletic performance (2023,
  14. Plant-Based Diets in the Reduction of Body Fat: Physiological Effects and Biochemical Insights (2019,
  15. Progression of volume load and muscular adaptation during resistance exercise (2014,
  16. Standard American Diet (SAD) (2023,
  17. Sporting performance and food (2023,
  18. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training (2010,
  19. Top Strategies for optimal Recovery Between Workouts (2017,
  20. The Science of Fatty Acids and Inflammation1,2,3 (2015,
  21. The Skinny on Fat (2019,
  22. Virgin Olive Oil and Health: Summary of the III International Conference on Virgin Olive Oil and Health Consensus Report, JAEN (Spain) 2018 (2019,
150 million people
have chosen BetterMe

Great app!


Great app!! Easy to navigate through! I like that I can log my food to determine calorie intake. I like the achievement levels, perfect music too!

Love this app

Love this app. Makes it easy to track with delicious recipes. No need to think about what to cook each meal. And there are so many exercises so you can do something different every day.

BetterMe is a fantastic program…

Barb K.
BetterMe is a fantastic program with outstanding people who care about their clients. The curriculum is amazing and produces excellent results. Thank you BetterMe.