A large part of health and fitness is tracking your progress, to do this we recommend following your body fat percentage.
There is a lot of speculation around whether Body Mass Index (BMI) or Body Fat percentage should be used, we'll explain the difference and let you decide for yourself.
Feel free to skip all of the information and jump straight down to our very own calculator!
Let's start with BMI, in a few words this is determined by a scale based on a person's height and weight.
Essentially, you multiply your weight by 703 pounds, divide that by your height in inches and finally divide that by your height and inches again.
Sounds simple, right? The problem with BMI is that it doesn't separate your weight by muscle, bone or fat. This means a person can have a healthy BMI, but still carry weight in their belly, which can increase their risk for heart disease. So if you're trying to lose weight, or just wondering if your current weight is healthy, it's worth checking you body fat percentage.
The formula for determining your BF% is a little more involved, which is why we have developed this handy-dandy calculators below. Essentially, it's the weight of the person's fat divided by their weight, determining the weight of a person's fat is the tricky part. If you're really interested in this formula, we will be happy to supply it, but it's far too much to list here.
Here are the most common tests a person can do for their BF%
Calipers - These are the nifty plastic tools that basically pinch fatty parts of your body to determine the percentage. The issue is that the results can be skewed simply by not testing the exact same area over time.
Measurement - This is often referred to as the YMCA or Navy method, we are using a variation of these methods below. Measuring is most accurate in the morning after 7-8 hours of sleep, this is intended to provide a relatively reliable reading but will not be exact. We use a variation most similar to the YMCA method in our calculators below. Measurement results can typically be considered within 3% of the actual amount.
Body Fat scales and monitors - These scales use (small) electrical currents pulsing through your body to determine what is fat/bone/muscle. While this sounds scientific, they can be hit or miss, the standard weight scales with the electrodes for your feet often miss your upper body, while the handheld options often miss your legs. There are options that utilize both handheld and stand-on scales, these seem to be the most accurate. It is worth noting that while the electric pulses are small, pregnant women and those with pacemakers or heart concerns should not consider this option.
BodPod, Water Displacement and DEXA Scanning - these are much more accurate but expensive options. They use tests or scans to separate or virtually see a person's body composition.
*Disclaimer: The calculators below should not be in place of a health or wellness screening. They are intended to give an idea of a body fat percentage, results are not guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
So, you have your BF%, now what? Here is a quick chart to help determine where you are with your health.
Are you where you thought you would be? Where you want to be? Interested in learning how you can lower the percentage? Contact us now to learn bout how the body burns fat and gains muscle. It's never too late to take control of your health!