Understanding your body fat percentage is a critical component to any fitness program. You need to get a baseline reading of your current levels in order to structure the best diet and exercise plan for optimal results. Usually when someone plans to start a new diet they try to take into consideration the number of calories they are going to consume each day, along with their BMI (body mass index) and the amount of cardio and strength training they will be doing each week. But how often does a person actually take the time to find out how much body fat they have before beginning? Use this body fat calculator below to get an estimate on the amount of adipose tissue on your physique so you can get a clear picture of what you will need to do in order to reduce your levels and get lean.
While you may think BMI and body fat percentage are the same, they are really two very different things. BMI (Body Mass Index) is basically your height divided by your weight while body fat percentage is the weight of your fat divided by your total weight. Body fat percentage gives you a better overall picture of your health and allows you to create a plan that will not only help you lose weight, but specifically unwanted body fat. This allows you to create the best possible health and fitness plan to help you reach your goals.
Why is Body Fat Percentage Important?
The body has two different types of fat. Essential fat is required to allow the body to function properly. Storage fat is extra fat that is stored by the body. It is this storage fat that leads to obesity and health issues. Some of the health problems that can occur are breathing difficulties, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, metabolic abnormalities and hyperlipidemia (increased cholesterol level).
You can determine what percentage of body fat you have by using the calculator above. Just click the radial button next to the type of measurement you prefer along with your gender. Type in your weight and then use the drop down box to input your height. Next, type in your waist measurement (be sure to measure at the narrowest point), your hip measurement (this time measure at the widest point) and finally your neck measurement (again at its narrowest point). Finally, click calculate to receive your results.
In order to get the most accurate body fat percentage estimate be sure to have a scale and a tape measure handy. If you do not have a tape measure that will go around your body you can use string to find the measurement. Take one end of the string and hold it in place, wrap the string around your body part and have the ends of the string meet where you started. Clip the string and measure the string with the tape measure you have. Make sure your measurements are accurate or you will not be able get a precise body fat percentage estimate.
A woman needs a higher body fat percentage than a man does in order to stay healthy. Age is also another important factor, since the older we get the more body fat we need. Here is a breakdown of the healthy levels of body fat each gender needs as we age:
- Healthy woman (20-40 years old): 21-33%
- Healthy woman (61-79 years old): 24-36%
- Healthy man (20-40 years old): 8-19%
- Healthy man (61-79 years old): 13-25%
Remember that having extremely low levels of body fat can also lead to many health issues just as having too much fat on your body can. Be sure to periodically check how you are doing during your fitness plan to ensure that you are reducing your body fat levels but keeping it within the proper range for your age and gender. By staying informed you will be able to readjust your plan whenever necessary in order to get the best results.