I'm around 10% body fat, and trying to continue leaning out, but I still have a bit of a spare tire (maybe a bike tire) on my stomach going about 2-3 inches below my navel. Some days, my skin will be tight to my muscles and the fat will feel "solid;" on others, it's squishier and I can pull the skin out a couple inches. The changes happen too fast to be fat gain/loss, and I'm not sure what else to call it.
I usually notice these changes (mostly from "solid" to "flabby") when I consume a lot of calories, or a good amount of high-GI carbs (raisins, cranberries). Has anyone else experienced something like this, or seen anything addressing it? Is the change dietary? Am I simply imagining it?
Good rule for leaning out: if you can pinch more than what you can pinch on the back of your hand, then it's subcutaneous fat.
If you are ~10% BF, you unfortunately might have a little more to go. Some men seem to be super-lean at 10%, other's not until 8% or so.
My vote is that it's not water retention if you can pinch any substantial thickness of skin there -- beyond 3-4 millimeters, then it's probably subcutaneous fat.
I'm with trjones and say water retention. For me higher calorie/carb/salt/whatever = water retention = more flab. And I almost always gain a couple pounds (or more) the next day and my uniform is a lot tighter. In order to keep myself sane and prove to myself its just water, I do the wedding ring test - my wedding rings are always harder to take off/put back on after one of those days. If it bothers you, drop the calories/carbs and you'll be good in a day or two. If not, I wouldn't let it bug you. At 10% you're doing great!
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