What would you consider the optimal body fat percentage to train consistently at? Optimal to fight at? Or would you say it varies/there is no such thing.
Every body is different.
At some point during high school when I was a serious triathlete (ie US junior dev program) I was around 5-7% year round, not necessarily deliberately, but I don't think I was eating enough for the amount I was working out (3-4hrs a day, 7-8k calories). Needless to say, this was retarded and I ended up getting sick all the time.
Beyond my personal stupidity, I can't think of a reason to go below that... you might look more vascular, but below 10% you already are very vascular.
For men, I would say about 8%, but it is different for everyone and it also depends on what activity you are training for. As a fighter you would definitely want to be below 12%.
I agree with gato, I've gone single digits just to prove I could do it, and I'm a lean guy naturally. I was more injury prone and got sick more often. People also have no idea what a real single digit BF looks like/measures. They see a 6 pack and think that means 6%. Single digit BF is extremely lean.
I will go on record to say as a fighter you've got more things to worry about than obsessing about BF percentage. There are many examples of great fighters who doubtfully ever had or always had single digit BF. Off the top of my head:
It's true that this is a personal thing. However for most guys that want to be relatively fit and or athletic I would say not to let yourself go above 12-15%. This may sound high but is probably realistic for a broad slice of the population.
I usually walk around at about 12% and when I feel like really dialing it in (which is not too often these days) I'll get it down to about 7-8%. I have done this many times through manipulation of my P.E.P alone. No change to my training and no extra cardio.
P.E.P. = Personal Eating Plan
How do you guys measure your bf%?
I used the handheld machine at the gym, and it said I was at 12.5%
But Im built like a skinny Jeremy Horn :(