Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage


Before you go and get your body fat reading there are a couple of things that you really must understand. First, your body needs some amount of fat to be healthy and to function properly. Lower is not always better. If you do not have enough body fat your body cannot run as it should. Fat protects your organs. Fat is what your body burns for energy. Not all fat is bad, only excess fat. Second, your BMI may not give you an accurate idea of how much fat is too much. In fact, there are some cases where your BMI is off completely. There is a difference between the two.

BMI vs Body Fat

Your BMI is the basic tool for figuring out what percentage of fat you have on your body. It is simply not always accurate. It will not tell you if any of your fat is a healthy amount. It simply tells you the percentage of fat you have on your body. Some cases it will tell you that you are obese although you are not. The thing to remember is that your activity level and your diet will affect both. You also need to keep in mind that not all body fat is bad fat. Along those lines, not every BMI reading is going to give you an accurate idea of what body fat is healthy and what amount you really need to lose. Your BMI is not going to distinguish between fat and muscle. Which means that if you are muscular, which weighs more, your BMI will read as higher than it should. Knowing both is extremely important.


What is a healthy body fat percentage?

For men a healthy body fat percentage is only about 6 to 13 percent. That means that the BMI should be around 18-20 BMI. Keep in mind that if you are very athletic, your BMI is not going to be accurate.

For women 14 to 20 percent body fat is healthy. Here is the thing about BMI: It still says that 18 to 20 is a healthy weight. That is very confusing because it would seem that it should change with the fat percentage, but it does not.


Now, for women who work out, going by BMI and not body fat percentage can cause you to lose too much body fat and leave you feeling horrible and tired. Your body isn’t going to function as well as it could. Men have a little more wiggle room than women on this issue because their fat percentage is just so low, as to what they need.

Fit Lady With Water Bottle

An accurate reading

So how to get a good reading is the next topic. There are many ways to get a good reading. A lot of them are difficult and require you to go to a doctor or a special facility. All that is simply not necessary. You can get an accurate reading without all the fuss with a good digital scale. You can find a one that has handle bar like grips that come up from the base. You hold it with your hand. Step on to the base with bare feet, so that your skin is touching the sensors. It will send out a pulse. That pulse will transfer into an accurate reading of everything from weight and BMI to body fat percentage and muscle density. Some scales will go as far as to sync to your smart device so that you can track your information.

So here you go. Hopefully this article takes you down the path to a healthy weight based on an understanding of your body fat percentage.

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Article by: Carmen Kerry

Carmen writes health & fitness articles for BodyFatLoss. She researches the latest and greatest methods to help with weight loss, weight gain and fitness.