The body fat index is a very important piece of information when planning training and evaluating physical form. Therefore, it is important to know how percent fat is calculated and how the results are interpreted.
Although many people do not know that physical exercise requires planning. A process where it is key to know a series of parameters of our body before we start exercising. Therefore, it is not a matter of spending hours on a treadmill or crushing yourself by lifting weights without more, but these exercises should always be done with your head and using a well-organized pattern.
To start this planning and know the evolution of our physical form, it is essential to know how to calculate the percentage of body fat in our body. This is one of the most used parameters in sports planning to set goals and know where the person is in shape.
Your Body Fat Percentage: What Does It Mean?
To understand the importance of this parameter we have to know that the percentage of body fat tells us in a precise way if a person is overweight or underweight, above or below the theoretically recommended weight. This data is more accurate than other similar parameters, such as total weight or BMI (body mass index), which often do not take into account the size and height of the athlete. In return, the percentage of body fat, together with that of muscle mass, bone mass and percentage of water, give us a more precise knowledge of the constitution of the person.
This analysis serves as a starting point at the beginning of the activity, as well as a measure of the evolution of physical form, as the person trains. Losing body fat generally implies gaining muscle mass and improving the overall performance of our body.
How to Calculate Body Fat Percentage?
To calculate the percentage of body fat there are different methods. One of the most used is the formulated calls of Hodgon and Beckett. These use the dimensions of the areas where fat accumulates in the body of men and women. These formulas would be:
For men:% Fat = 495 / (1.0324-0.19077 (log (waist-neck)) + 0.15456 (log (height))) – 450
And for women:% Fat = 495 / (1.29579-0.35004 (log (waist + hip-neck)) + 0.22100 (log (height))) – 450
As we can see, these formulas are quite complex to use. That’s why we make it easy for you with our body fat calculator. To use it you only have to indicate the age, sex and height of the person, in addition to the neck, waist and hip measurements (for women).
With all these data, the calculator applies the formulas that we have just commented and offers us as a result the percentage of body fat that we have in the organism. However, the precision of this measure is relative, due to the limitations of the method.
As an alternative, we can measure body fat in our body using an impedance scale . Compared to normal scales, these are recognized by having silver areas on their surface. These bases generate an electric current, which runs through our body and which, once processed, makes measurements of body fat, water percentage or muscle. Depending on the quality of the product we have purchased, this measurement will be more or less accurate.
How to Understand Body Fat Values?
Once we have the results of our body fat analysis, it is time to interpret them. The first thing we must know is what are the type values of body fat for men and women.
The percentage of body fat for healthy men is between 8% and 20% if they are 30 to 39 years old, 11% to 22% for men between 40 and 59 years old and 13% to 25% for the elderly. of 60. On the other hand, the percentages of fat for a healthy woman would be from 21% to 33%, from 23% to 35% and from 36% to 42% for each of the age ranges that we have discussed for men.
All percentages above these ranges would be a sign of overweight, which becomes obesity when the percentage exceeds the levels established for the level of healthy fat by around 10 or 11 points. On the other hand, if the person does not reach those healthy levels, then they would be underweight.
As a curiosity, these data show us how the percentage of body fat of women is higher than that of men in all stages of their life. Therefore, it is normal that a woman’s body fat index is also higher than that of a man of the same age. This is another important detail, since the older the person is, the more they tend to accumulate more body fat.
How to Lose Body Fat?
At this point, you may already have your body fat level calculated and have already compared it to healthy parameters. If the result is overweight or obese, then you will be interested in knowing how to reduce body fat.
This process of reducing body fat is based on three main axes. One of them is diet. It is key to reduce the contribution of unhealthy calories, such as those present in fried foods, industrial pastries and other unhealthy foods. In return, you should increase the consumption of healthy fats, such as olive oil, as well as consume more fruits, vegetables and little processed foods. Reducing salt intake also helps, as does drinking 2 litres of water a day.
The second line to work is exercise. The most recommended workouts are cardio and strength training, aimed at increasing muscle mass and reducing the body’s fat mass. Workouts such as HIIT, interval resistance or specific bodybuilding work can help you in this task.
As a last element, it is key to lead a healthy lifestyle. This implies maintaining stable eating schedules, getting enough and regular rest, with the same seriousness of schedules, as well as reducing our stress level. These small changes will not only help us lower body fat, but they will make us feel better overall.