Learn About Body Fat
People often focus on their weight, but body-fat percentage is a better indicator of overall fitness. It is, however, more difficult to measure.
What is body fat?
Simply put, it’s the amount of fat on your body. Some is supposed to be there to help your body function properly. Too much will cause it to function poorly.
Can I have too much body fat?
Yes. This is a common problem in today’s world. Besides being unsightly, too much body fat puts excessive stress on your bodily functions, causing you to easily become sick or injured.
Can I have too little body fat?
Yes. While rarely a problem, too little body fat puts your body at risk of serious illness. Body fat serves as an insulator, helping to protect your body. Without it you become adversely affected by environmental conditions.
Is losing body fat more important than losing weight?
Yes. Obesity is equivalent to having too much body fat. Weight alone does not determine obesity. Muscle tissue weighs much more than fat. Because of this, when you add muscle and lose fat, you shrink at the same weight. Some of our clients have lost dress sizes while gaining weight! On the other hand, a very thin person with high body fat, while not obese on the BMI scale, may be tremendously unhealthy and in need of gaining muscleand weightin order to become healthy.
How can I measure my body fat?
Two easy and inexpensive methods are the weight-to-waist ratio and the body fat caliper (see Body Fat Tester), with the latter being more accurate. The most accurate methods all require supervision and equipmentsuch as being weighed in waterand are quite expensive. For everyday purposes, the cheap and easy methods are effective.
Use the body fat calculator to estimate your body fat based on some simple measurements, which you should try to make under the same conditions each time. This will make your readings more accurate, though they still could be off by up to 5%. Nonetheless, as long as you are headed in the right direction (down, in most cases), you’ll know you’re on the right track.
Once I calculate my body fat, what should I do with this information?
Write it down or just remember it. Body fat percentage is merely a gauge to let you know how your training is going. You don’t need to alter your program based on it, though having a high reading will often motivate you to work out harder. If you suspect that you’re outrageously high or low, we recommend that you see your doctor for a consultation.