For the majority of the population, whittling down body fat to the point of single digits – whether that’s to reveal your six-pack or to get faster times in a sport – is the holy grail.
As you know by now, to hit the elusive single-digit body fat mark is a true testament of dedication to your craft, requiring a Spartan diet and a diligent training routine. But there’s a point where the scales can tip from healthy body fat levels to something considerably more dangerous.
This weekend, D.K. Metcalf, an American football wide receiver for the Ole Miss Rebels and a hot topic during the NFL scouting combine, sent digital newsrooms ablaze with reports of 1.9% body fat and a tweet that sent the NFL community into a frenzy.
This about to bigger than Odell and Jarvis Landry when they entered the draft . Two potential 1st round draft picks from the same school. @nfl I hope you’re ready . @olemissfb @exossports pic.twitter.com/UBEJDjZBNy
– AJ Brown (@Brown1arthur) February 21, 2019
Originally, NFL Media had reported that Ole Miss’ Metcalf was packing just 1.6% body fat, but the wide receiver clarified reports, claiming to house a comparatively softer 1.9%. “I didn’t think it was going to explode like that,” he said of the picture. “A lot of people hit me up, ‘What’s your workout plan?’ and I’m like, ‘I’m just training for the combine.’”
Of course, people are doubting him, calling foul play and Photoshop trickery. “There’s no Photoshop in that picture,” said Metcalf to USA Today. “I know the work I put in, so I’m not worried about what other people are gonna say.”
He’s not wrong. As part of the NFL scouting combine – where future NFL stars are scouted for division one teams – Metcalf cruised through his tests, putting a 27-rep, 102kg bench press, a 40.5-inch vertical leap and a 4.33-second 40-yard dash on the board.
D.K. Metcalf just ran a 4.33u 40-yard dash! 🔥🔥🔥 @dkmetcalf14 @OleMissFB
📺: #NFLCombine on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/1mDnh8VjcG
– NFL (@NFL) March 2, 2019
All of which makes him a top-tier sportsman, but his body fat levels remain worrying. For those packing single-digit body fat – bodybuilders, for example, will stick to around 5% – low levels of body fat come with a host of health risks.
As you need a certain amount of body fat for bodily functions and overall health, essential body levels for men are around 2% to 5%. Having too little body fat may increase your risk of heart disease and can damage your nervous system, while also causing fatigue and severe mood drops.
With most Tour de France cyclists packing around 7-9% body fat and competition-level bodybuilders or physique competitors sitting ‘pretty’ at a similar level, it’s our duty to remind you that driving your fat stores down to a similar level is far from healthy. Aim for around 10% – you’ll see your abs, feel great and, perhaps ironically, have more energy than some athletes.