Body fat is a tricky concept to conquer. It’s difficult to calculate and track, and most people are way off on their estimates of what they think their body fat percentage is. But what is a good body fat percentage, and how do you calculate yours? This is something you should be aware of for your health, so keep reading!
What Is Body Fat Percentage?
In the most simple terms, body fat percentage is the amount of fat in your body, compared to everything else you have inside - your organs, muscles, bones, tendons, water, etc. Since everyone is built differently, both men and women carry different amounts of body fat percentage. Therefore a male with a body fat of 30% will look incredibly different next to a woman at 30%. Our body fat percentage is just the amount of body fat you have and has nothing to do with the amount of muscle mass you have, which also results in a difference. It's important to note this when figuring out your own.
What Is A Good Body Fat Percentage?
The answer to this has to do with the essential amount of fat needed for survival as a starting point. Body fat is essential for protecting your internal organs and providing you with the necessary energy stores in times of need. Therefore, anything less than this essential amount is dangerous and can lead to organ failure. Even super ripped bodybuilders only cut for a show, then maintain a higher body fat percentage to maintain healthy. What it comes down to are your optimal goals and your lifestyle. See good body fat percentages for each kind of person below.
Essential Fat: 2-4%
Athletes: 6-13% (where to achieve a six pack)
Fitness: 14-17% (optimal athletic performance)
Obese: 26% +
Essential Fat: 10-12%
Athletes: 14-20% (don't drop below 15% for menstruation or fertility)
Fitness: 21-24% (looking good AND feeling good)
Obese: 32% +
How To Measure Your Body Fat
Most people have no idea what their body fat percentage is, and that's because they don't have to proper tools available to them. There's many methods out there to measure your body fat. One way to calculate yours is by taking pictures of your progress week-to-week and comparing them to other people's images with a labeled percentage to get an idea. You can also take measurements and calculate it yourself by using the YMCA measurement. These two options are completely free, and the rest may cost you. Other more pricey options include body fat calipers, body fat scales and monitors, DEXA scanning, water displacement test, or the Bod Pod. Whatever is worth it to you to find out your body fat percentage!
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