Does Body Fat Percentage Matter?
There is mounting evidence that your body fat percentage is a far more important biometric (health factor) than your weight. Measuring body fat percentages and body part inches are considered more accurate forms of tracking fitness and health progress as opposed to using scales alone.
Second only to your own perceived appearance in the mirror, body fat percentage is important when deciding to start any fitness, diet or weight loss program. Understanding the importance of your body fat percentage and learning how to lower are equally important.
Why is your body fat percentage important?
- Scales measure only weight, a 150 pound woman weighs 150 pounds regardless of whether here body fat percentage is 15% or 50%, but those two extremes would appear very differently in a mirror.
- Better method to track progress. If your fitness goal includes reducing fat and increasing lean muscle mass, your scale will not help track your progress, or lack of progress. To accurately measure fat loss and muscle gain, use your body fat percentage as a base.
- Too little or too much? Your body fat insulates, cushions, regulates body temperature and stores fuel for emergencies, but too much fat causes problems and increases your risk of chronic diseases and conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, etc. How do you know where you stand in regards to lean-to-fat ratio if you do not measure it?
- Determine your ideal body fat percentage and make that your new goal. If your current goal is to lose XX pounds, consider switching to “I will decrease my body fat from 35% to 25% in 3 months.” Losing pounds is similar to “I will stop smoking”, they both have negative connotations and are successful through eliminating or depriving your body. While decreasing body fat can be achieved by positive actions, clean eating, exercise and increasing lean muscle. No calorie counting required.
How is Body fat measured?
There are several different methods for measuring body fat, some are more accurate than others. Hydrostatic weighing, being submerged in a huge tank, and other high-tech approaches are expensive and difficult to find. There are also hand-held electronic devices and scales which measure body fat, these are often inaccurate. As your fitness professional what they have access to to get a baseline. I’m had been using the Bod Pod and I’m now using a Styku for measurements.
How much fat? Women have much higher levels of essential fat relative to men due to physiological differences including hormones, breasts, and sexual characteristics. An example of recommended body fat percentages:
Fit Female: 21-245%
Average Female: 25-31%
Obese Female: Over 32%
Fit Male: 14-17%
Average Male: 18-24%
Obese Male: Over 25%