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What Does Your Body Fat Percentage Say About Your Health?

By Marc

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Excess pounds do more than increase your weight—they increase your risk of major health problems. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to have heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and depression. Fortunately, losing weight can reduce your risk of developing some of these problems.

Stepping on the scale can be a daunting process and even an obsession for some of us. However, while scales don’t lie, they don’t tell the whole truth either. Scales don’t tell you if you have gained muscle, if you are holding water, and most importantly they don’t tell you about Fat Loss.

The most important part of starting any nutrition and exercise plan is to look at your overall body composition. Your body composition tells you how much of your body is made up of fat and how much of it is muscle. This gives a much better picture of your overall health, and might tell you that you’re in better shape than you think!

For example, a poor diet and lack of calories can lead to weight loss. However, losing muscle and water will also contribute to this. A healthy and nutritious diet combined with an exercise plan will ensure that you are losing fat, rather than shrinking your hard earned muscle. Overall you will be fitter, healthier and feel much better in those jeans.

So, get off that sad scale and find out how to measure your body fat and to track your progress in the right way.

How to measure your body fat:

  1. Visual estimation: You can compare yourself with diverse standard images showing different body fat percentages.
  2. High quality electronic scale: They’re not as reliable as other methods.
  3. DXA body scanner: It allows you to get a precise and detailed report of your body fat.
  4. Caliper: This is the most reliable way to measure your body fat. They’re inexpensive and more reliable than a scale.

Once you’ve measured your body fat, find your category in the following tables:

MEN

  1. Over 40% body fat: Overweight/obesity. This amount of body fat is associated with health risks such as diabetes, stroke, heart problems, etc.
  2. Over 20 % body fat: Mildly/moderately overweight. Some extra fat and no muscle definition visible.
  3. 15-19% body fat: Normal/healthy level within the average. Slight muscle definition (shoulders and upper arms) is visible. The abdominals are not yet clearly visible.
  4. 12-14% body fat: Fitness. Greater muscle definition on chest and back is clearly visible. Notable abs.
  5. 6-12% body fat: Athletic. Very clear muscle definition in arms, chest, legs and back. Abs clearly visible and defined. Both the face and jaw have clear angular shape. Some veins might be seen.
  6. 2-5% body fat: Essential body fat. Minimum amount of fat necessary for basic and physiological health. Extremely defined, very vascular.

WOMEN

Women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men. Women’s bodies produce more of the female hormone estrogen, which helps store fat. Women also need more fat for processes like child birth.

  • Over 45% body fat: Overweight/obesity. This level of body fat is associated with health risks such as diabetes, stroke, heart problems, etc.
  • Over 26% body fat: Mildly/moderately overweight. Some extra fat, no muscle definition visible
  • 20-25% body fat: Normal level within the average. Slight muscle definition (shoulders and upper arms) is visible. The abdominals are not yet clearly visible.
  • 17-19% body fat: Fitness. In shape. Great muscle definition is seen in arms and back. Abdominals begin to appear.
  • 14-17% body fat: Athletic. Very defined. Very visible muscle definition in arms, chest, legs and back. Abs easily seen. Both the face and jaw have more shape.
  • 10-13% body fat: Essential body fat. Minimum amount of fat necessary for basic and physiological health. Extremely defined, very vascular. Risks loss of menstrual cycle.

First, your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of fat your body contains. If you are 150 pounds and 10% fat, it means that your body consists of 15 pounds fat and 135 pounds lean body mass (bone, muscle, organ tissue, blood and everything else).

For healthy body-fat percentage ranges based on your fitness level, follow these guidelines: Top athletes: 15 to 20% Fit women: 21 to 24% Healthy/acceptable: 25 to 32%.

How Do I Start To Lower My Body Fat Percentage

  1. Change Your Lifestyle. When you go on a "program" to lose body fat, you may set yourself up for failure. ...
  2. Drink More Water. ...
  3. Consume Fewer Calories Than You Burn. ...
  4. Reduce Starchy Carbs. ...
  5. Eat a Full, Balanced Breakfast. ...
  6. Limit Sugar Consumption. ...
  7. Rotate Your Carbs. ...
  8. Drink Water Before, During and After Working Out.

Marc Ouellette is a Certified In-Home Personal Trainer, Certified Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and Owner of Personal Training Alliance.

I help busy men and women get thin, burn fat, add lean muscle and help them become more energetic and confident.

I'm offering you a Free In-Home Fitness and Nutrition Consultation to see if we can work together so I can help you reach all your health and fitness goals.

"Serving Fairfield County and New Haven County and I Come Right To You!"

Simply contact me here at, info@personaltrainingalliance.com for more information about my services.

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