Knowing how much fat you have stored, rather than the number on a scale, can be enlightening while trying to shed weight and gain muscle definition. Let's look at how to calculate your body fat %, the most accurate ways, and how to use this information to your benefit today. Let's get this ball rolling.
Body Fat Percentage vs. BMI
Many fitness specialists think that evaluating your fitness level solely based on your Body Mass Index (BMI) is incorrect. While BMI can provide insight into your health, it does not provide a whole picture. The reason for this is that BMI is simply a ratio of your weight to your height that ignores the amount of muscle and fat on your body.
BMI has a set of ranges. You are within a normal weight range for your height if your weight is between 18.5 and 24.9 pounds. You're deemed underweight if your BMI is less than 18.5; overweight if your BMI is greater than 24.9. Obesity is defined as a BMI of 29.9 or greater.
Bodybuilders, on the other hand, are frequently on the heavier side of the scale, yet no one would label them obese. That is why BMI is less essential than body fat percentage, which measures the amount of fat you have deposited on your body.
Knowing your body fat % is important for understanding your health because staying within the essential to average range promotes a healthier body and overall wellness.
How To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage Using Your BMI
No. BMI is computed by dividing your weight by your height, as previously stated. Body fat percentage isn't computed in this manner because it considers how much fat you have on your body.
If you want to give it a shot, here's a method for calculating body fat percentage based on BMI:
BMI = (pounds/inches^2) x 703
Men Body Fat Percentage = (1.20 x BMI) / (0.23 x Age) – 16.2
Women Body Fat Percentage = (1.20 x BMI) / (0.23 x Age) – 5.4
Recommended Healthy Body Fat Percentage by Gender
This may come as a shock, but no one can be fat-free altogether. We aren't lactose intolerant. Fat is required for human function and to cushion our organs. Brain tissue, joints, and nerve cells all store fat. The effects of losing too much of it are severe. Organ failure and hormonal imbalance are common when body fat percentage falls below the necessary fat level.
Ranges of Body Fat Percentage
- Essential Fat: Men 2-4%, Women 10-12%
- Athletic: Men 6-13%, Women 14-20%
- Fitness: Men 14-17%, Women 21-24%
- Average: Men 18-25%, Women 25-31%
- Obese: Men 26% or higher, Women 32% or higher
Women have more fat on their bodies because hormone balance and reproduction require it. Depending on your age and gender, the ranges can also vary slightly. Younger men and women are more likely to have less body fat than older persons.
Even the leanest bodybuilders don't try to get down to the bare bones of their necessary fat ranges. Men's "ripped" or "shredded" physique typically have 7-10 percent body fat whereas women's bodies have 13-20 percent. However, keeping this level of body fat for an extended length of time isn't exactly healthy, and you'd have to constantly restrict calories to do so.
As a result, the ideal body fat percentage for men is roughly 15%, whereas the ideal body fat percentage for women is 25%.
Calculating Your Body Fat Percentage
Despite the fact that we mentioned a quick mathematical calculation based on BMI, the amount you get will most likely differ from what you get if you calculate your body fat % using specially created tools and other alternative ways such as:
- Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) - uses a mild electrical current to quantify fat.
- Body Fat Calipers - Calculate overall body fat percentage using skin calipers and a few formulae.
- Hydrostatic Weighing - commonly known as the "underwater density test," this method compares muscle to fat by measuring displacement.
- Bod Pod - comparable to hydrostatic weighing, but the body is scanned with air rather than water.
- DXA (Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry) — uses x-ray to examine body fat, lean muscle mass, and body minerals; one of the most accurate ways for detecting body fat percentage.
If you really want to know how much body fat you have, you need perform a 4-compartment study. To determine your total lean body mass (bone, muscular tissue, etc.) and fat mass, several different testing methods are used. Deuterium dilution, for example, determines total body water content, while DXA determines bone mass and hydrostatic weighing determines total body density. The information gathered from these tests is then run through a series of mathematical formulas to arrive at an accurate body fat percentage.
However, since you are unlikely to have fast access to costly and detailed procedures like as hydrostatic weighing or 4-compartment analysis, you must make do with what you have. Over the course of 7-10 days, you'll need a mirror, measuring tape, skin calipers, and a scale to estimate your body fat %.
Every week, take skin caliper measures on the same day, from the same locations. If you are losing weight and firming up, you may observe a decrease in the reading on the skin calipers. Depending on how muscle builds and fat reduces, the overall girth of your waistline and chest may fluctuate.
You may use what you've learned about body fat calculation methods to come closer to your goals while keeping healthy. Remember to like us on Facebook for more daily diet and nutrition advice.