How to measure body fat percentage
When the numbers on your scale drop, it's important to ask yourself: is it fat or muscle that I'm losing? To put your doubts aside, measuring body fat is one of the most effective ways to assess your diet and workouts.
Almost always when talking about body fat percentage, nutritionists and trainers look for you to reach the ideal amount of fat that your body should contain according to your gender and age.
In this post you will learn everything you need to know about body fat, how to measure it and, as if that were not enough, you will receive a calculator so that you can measure it easier and faster.
What is body fat percentage?
It is an indicative measure of overweight or underweight that helps you distinguish muscle mass from fat that is present in your body composition.
The weight you see on the scale is not everything and, in some cases, indices such as the BMI (Body Mass Index) are not enough to measure actual muscle mass.
Your body fat percentage depends on your age, gender, weight, and lifestyle.
To put it simply, body fat is the amount of lipids you have in your body compared to everything else.
And if you are trying to lose body fat, I recommend you read on our blog [Fat is lost like this] This happens in your body when you try to lose extra fat , it will help you a lot.
types of body fat
Body fat is one of the main components of your body. It is in charge of:
- Protect your organs.
- Cover your joints.
- Control your temperature.
- Store your vitamins.
- Provide energy to your body.
There are two kinds:
Essential Body Fat:
Your body uses this fat to function properly. It is stored in your bones, organs, central nervous system, and muscles. It helps you regulate your body temperature, provides cushioning to your internal organs, and gives you energy during illness.
Non-essential body fat:
It is also called excess body fat and is not needed by your body for vital functions. For example, if you have a lot of accumulated fat, it can negatively influence your health.
Review your diet, since if you have a diet that is too high in calories, your body stores them and turns them into non-essential body fat. And also if you do not do any type of physical activity, it can affect you.
What is the ideal body fat percentage?
According to the American Council on Excersice (ACE) , in one of its most recent posts , it published the measurement of the body fat percentages of men and women without regard to age, more generally.
Next, I show you the values:
Ideal body fat percentage for a woman according to age:
Ideal body fat percentage for a man according to age:
Keep in mind that, after the age of 60, it is normal for you to have a fat percentage higher than the values presented in the table. Therefore, it is important that your nutritionist relate this value to your diet and physical activity.
How to calculate my body fat percentage
There are different methods to measure body fat, however, not all of them give 100% real results, although they are marketed as totally accurate, and most of them are quite expensive.
Body Composition Assessment (DEXA):
With this evaluation, a more accurate diagnosis of excess weight is obtained, allowing people with excess body fat to be differentiated from those with greater muscular development. In addition, you will be able to identify the areas of your body where there is a higher percentage of fat and estimate the risks of associated diseases.
This evaluation measures:
- Abdominal fat mass.
- Total and regional muscle mass.
- Areas of distribution of fat in the body (indicator of disease risk).
- Bone mass.
- Bone mineral density (recommended for people over 45 years of age).
The method implies that you will first be weighed on dry land, and then, sitting on a special chair, you will go down into the water. Measurements of your weight on land and underwater are used to determine your body density and calculate your percentage of body fat.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA):
This method is based on measuring the resistance that your body opposes to the passage of a current. Based on this current, the amount of fat that may be present can be determined, since this value roughly relates to the proportion of fat and muscle that is present.
It is an instrument that by means of a clamp catches your skin in different parts of the body and with this you can measure your thickness in millimeters. In order for it to be reliable, it must be done by a professional, since he knows the parts of the body where he must take the measurement. It can give a fairly approximate result of the percentage of body fat you have.
You can also use it at home, but you should make sure you always measure the same skin fold, at the same time of day, and to avoid errors, make sure you always use the same pressure.
US Navy Body Fat Calculator:
The calculator wins on convenience and cost. It is probably the most practical method of all. You only need 1 tape measure and 2 measures, if you are a man; and 3 measurements if you are a woman.
To calculate your body fat with this calculator you need these values (in addition to your height and weight):
Men: the measurement of your neck and your waist.
Women: the measurement of your neck, waist and hips.
Once you have those values, enter them into this fat percentage calculator . It's pretty accurate, easy to do, and free.
We all have fat, muscles, bones, organs and much more in our bodies. Besides your weight, the most important thing is the distribution of all those factors.
You already know that, to achieve an ideal fat percentage and a defined body, a lot of discipline, desire and determination are required.
And for all this you must lead a healthy and active lifestyle with you.
Did you measure your body fat percentage? Tell us how it went.
- Tags: Perder Peso