Body fat percentage is an important indicator of health. A person’s body fat levels will depend on a number of factors, including age, sex, body type, and lifestyle. Keeping one’s body fat percentage at a healthy level will help to reduce the likelihood of serious health risks such as heart disease.
If you are curious about your own body fat percentage, there are a number of ways you can measure this. In this blog post, we will share useful information on how to measure your body fat percentage, looking at 3 different methods: visually estimating, using skinfold calipers, and DEXA scans. Let’s get started!
If you don’t have any specialized equipment to hand, the easiest way to get an estimate on your body fat percentage is to perform a visual check. Cross-referencing photographs online of different body fat percentages will give you a good idea of where you sit in terms of your own percentage. Although they will never be very accurate, they may give you an idea of where you sit.
For men, a body fat percentage of between 5% and 9% would be regarded as essential fat only/super muscular. An athletic body/classic beach body is around 10% to 14% body fat, while a lean and slightly defined body is around 15% to 19% body fat. If there is no clear separation of muscle and fat, it’s likely that your body fat percentage is at around 20% to 24%.
Note that all of these numbers will be higher for women (for example essential fat only/super muscular would be around 10% to 12%).
Using skinfold calipers is an inexpensive way to measure body fat. They are easy to use and require measurements at 3, 5, or 7 different sites on the body depending on which formula you use.
These areas are:
- Above the hip
- Under the shoulder blade
Both manual and digital versions of skinfold calipers are available. It’s important to have some knowledge of anatomy to properly gauge body fat percentage using calipers.
One of the most accurate body fat measurement tools is a DEXA scan. DEXA stands for dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and it is able to assess a person’s body composition as well as their bone density, allowing it to estimate to a high degree of accuracy a person’s muscle mass and fat tissue.
If you are interested in gaining a good understanding of your body composition, such as before commencing physical training, a DEXA scan is highly recommended. It is the most expensive option on the list but offers a far greater degree of accuracy for the cost.
How to Measure Your Body Fat Percentage
Whether you are interested in understanding your body fat percentage for a training purpose or are simply curious, the above methods will all work. Of course, some methods are more effective (and expensive) than others.
If you are interested in achieving a healthy body fat percentage, then partner today us.
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