Have you measured your weight recently? You may have been concerned about your possibly increasing body weight. Using any of the available tools, you probably managed to know your BMI value. BMI is basically the ratio between your body mass and your height.
The taller you are, the more mass you can have without compromising your BMI value. Health experts use BMI to classify you to either underweight, normal, overweight or obese. A BMI under 20 is underweight while one between 20 and 25 is normal. A value between 25 and 30 is overweight and anything above 30 is considered obese and some measures have to be put in place to reduce such a weight to healthier values.
BMI versus Fat percentage
The human body will often stock up either fat or muscle mass. This determines the number of kilograms you end up weighing. However, fat is lighter than muscle mass. It is not uncommon to find people across the globe who’s BMI values indicate them to be overweight when in fact they are far from it. People who work out quite often and have accumulated significant muscle mass become the immediate BMI victims. If you start a work out program to cut down your weight, you will see an exponential reduction during the first several weeks of exercising.Your weight reduction curve will then level off before showing a rise if you continue training. A gain in muscle mass causes this behavior observed on your weight curve.
Here is how body fat percentages can be used to determine your fitness. An ordinary male who takes part in little exercise and generally has some significant fat under their skin but is not obese would have a body fat percentage between 20 and 30 percent. Anything above 30 would be considered obese. On the other hand, an ordinary female of the same characteristics would have a body fat percentage of between 28 to 40 percent. Anything above 40 would be considered obese.
Influence of exercise on body fat percentage
Men who exercise can potentially drop their fat percentage to lower than 18 %. Getting to 14% gets rid of a significant amount of fat under the skin, leaving you with a healthy looking body. I bet you are already asking how about something as low as below 10%? Well below 10, one becomes an elite level athlete! yeah, many of the top sportsmen have body fat percentages in the ranges of 5%-8%. They rarely ever get to 10% unless they are on off season. Starting from around 12% body fat and below, your body would split into sections to clearly define muscles and you will also get those 6 packs you have been going to the gym for. However, don’t be too excited about getting to 10%
A body fat percentage similar to that of elite sportspeople would be difficult for an ordinary person to achieve for two reasons. The major reason being the amount of time an ordinary person is able to dedicate to exercising. The other reason would be eating habits. Unlike the rest of us, top sportspeople have nutritionists checking their diet and even calculating for them the number of calories they need to eat each day. When was the last time you even thought about how many calories were in that bread you took in the morning? This is how they are able to keep their body fat at certain values. This may not be as feasible for the rest of us.
Note that women require more body fat than men. Men can drop their percentages to something like 5% and still be alright but women should not go below 12% for health reasons.
Measuring body fat
Checking your body fat may not as easy as measuring your weight. A number of solutions are nevertheless available for use. One method is the use of skin calipers which you pinch your skin with to get some values.You then use these values to calculate your fat percentage. Another way is to measure your body weight under water and compare that weight to the weight you get when you measure your weight in air. These are just examples of available methods for you. It is however recommended that you visit a professional to have your percentages determined with specialized equipment.