Methods to calculate body fat

The human body is made up of bones, muscle, and fat.  When trying to get in shape, it is important to know your body composition percentage.  Even though your body needs fat to survive, most individuals have too much body fat.  The average man and women should have about 17-25% and 20-30% body fat respectively.  When the fat percentage of your body goes over the top number, you are considered obese. Having too much fat increases health risks associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes.  Knowing the different techniques for measuring your body fat percentage will help you understand the challenge ahead.  There are several ways to measure your body fat.    

1. Body Mass Index, BMI 

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is most commonly used to calculate body fat percentage.  Many individuals use these tools because they are found on numerous fitness websites.  Just plug in the numbers and your BMI reading pops up on the screen. 

You may also manually figure out your own BMI using a standard formula.  First convert your height into meters and your weight into kilograms (divide pounds by 2.2046). The BMI formula is weight in kilograms divided by height multiplied by height. If your results are between 18.5 and 24.9, you have a normal BMI. Under 18.5 is underweight; over 24.9 is overweight.  While BMI is a decent method, it doesn't adequately assess body fat.  The results can be inaccurate, especially for special populations like growing children, elderly adults or athletes.

2. Pinched skin method 

Another tool used in measuring body fat percentage is body fat calipers. This tool is commonly found in your neighborhood gym.  Ask a trainer or fitness consultant to measure your percentage the next time you visit your gym.  If you don’t feel comfortable with a stranger knowing your fat percentage, buy your own pair.  For 20-100 dollars at a sporting goods store, you can measure your own percentage.  Like anything in life, some of the more expensive calipers are the most accurate.  This particular method is more accurate than the BMI method.

3. Underwater weighing 

The most accurate means to calculate body fat percentage is with hydrostatic or underwater weighing. This method gives you a measurement of your true body composition.  Because you have to use a pool for accurate measurements, this method may be expensive to perform. 

 4. Bod Pod 

This tool is the most accurate way of measuring your body fat for the price.  I have seen many gyms charge only 25 dollars to use this machine.  The results are quick and very accurate.   

Body Fat Calculator

Body Fat Calculator

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You have a body fat percentage of  2434%