Your body's fat levels are a more accurate indicator of good health than your BMI, because BMI fails to identify a large percentage of people who are overweight. In fact, studies have shown that 50% of the women who have a normal weight have fat percentages of more than 30%, which causes great concerns for their health. This means that some people carry a lot of fat, even though their weight appears to be normal for their height.
What is the ideal body fat percentage?
The ideal body fat percentage varies depending on various factors such as gender and age. For younger men, the optimal percentage is between 8% and 18% and for older men, between 14% and 20%. For younger women, the optimal percentage is between 20% and 26% and for older women, it can be between 24% and 28%. Body fat percentages of more than 25% for men and 35% for women can increase the risk for many diseases.
Finding your body fat percentage
To identify your body fat percentage, you can use a body fat monitor. Alternatively, you can find a formula to calculate this percentage on the Internet. Simply look for one of the following keywords: body calculator, body chart, fat calculator, fat weight or diet calculator. Another way would be to use a fat caliper. These calipers are used to take skinfold measurements to calculate how much subcutaneous fat you have.
How to lower your body fat
There are two ways to reduce your body fat percentage: you can either lose the extra fat or increase your muscle mass. This means that it would be advisable to reduce your calorie intake. However, you need to keep in mind that it would be a bad idea to restrict your food intake too much. Very low calorie diets can have the opposite effect. For example, if you eat only 500 calories per day to lose weight more quickly, after a few days, your body will get into “starvation mode”. This will cause you to lose a lot of muscle mass, which means that you may end up increasing your fat percentage instead of decreasing it. Additionally, you will need to follow an exercise programme for at least half an hour, three to five times a week. Don’t expect to reach the optimal fat percentage without physical activity.