If you’re looking to get in shape, it’s a good ides not just to rely on your bathroom scale. You must take into account your body fat percentage. The problem with relying on your weight alone is that it will not give you a clear picture as to where you stand with respect to actual fat you’re carrying.
The most widely used and probably the easiest way to estimate your body fat percentage is by using the Body Mass Index scale or BMI. Although it’s not the most accurate, but it’s still helpful in providing a general ideal. To calculate your BMI, divide your weight (in pounds) by your height squared (in inches). So if your height is x and your weight is y then y / x2 = your BMI
Use the following cart to establish your results:
- Underweight: Below 18.5
- Normal: 18.5-25
- Overweight: 25-30
- Obese: Above 30
Calculating Body Fat Percentage
Measuring body fat percentage is a bit more complex than the BMI formula. One of the tools that is widely used for this purpose is the calipers. It is a clamp-like contraption that is used to measure the skin folds at various locations on the body. Although this is the most widely used method it is also the least accurate. Its popularity can be linked to the ease of use and the cost.
Some of the other techniques used to calculate body fat include:
- Underwater weighing: One of the most accurate and expensive method.
- Dual X-ray Absorptiometry Scan.
- Bioelectrical Impedance: measures the speed of electrical currents as it travels through the body. Least expensive methods out of the three
What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?
Age, gender and body type are important considerations when ascertaining the Body Fat Percentages:
Healthy Body Fat Percentages for Men
- Ages 20-39: 8% to 19%
- Ages 40-59: 11% to 21%
- Ages 60-79: 13% to 24%
Healthy Body Fat Percentages for men
- Ages 20-39: 21% to 32%
- Ages 40-59: 23% to 33%
- Ages 60-79: 24% to 35%