The percentage of fat and non-fat mass in your body is known as body composition. A healthy body composition consists of a lower percentage of body fat and a larger percentage of non-fat mass (muscle, bones, and organs).
Knowing your body composition can assist you in determining your degree of health and fitness. Typically, you’ll measure your body composition at the outset of a weight-loss or fitness program and then check it again at regular intervals to track your progress.
What Is Body Composition and How Does It Affect You?
Body fat and non-fat mass are the two types of mass that make up your body.
Here are a few important distinctions between the two:
- Body fat can be present in muscle tissue, subcutaneous fat beneath the skin, and surrounding organs (visceral fat). A certain amount of fat is required for overall “Essential fat” protects internal organs, stores energy, and regulates vital hormones in the body. However, you may have excess fat accumulation and non-essential body fat.
- Bone, water, muscle, organs, and tissues are all examples of non-fat It’s also known as lean tissue. Body fat is metabolically inactive, meaning it does not burn calories for energy.
Body fat percentage is a body composition measurement that indicates how much of your body’s weight is made up of fat. Fat-free mass is the percentage of your body that is not fat. There are different typical body fat ranges for males and women.
Your body composition cannot be determined by weighing yourself on a conventional bathroom scale. A standard scale is unable to determine how much of your overall weight is made up of water, fat, or muscle. You should receive an assessment of your body fat % to see if your body composition is healthy. Take simple measures and plug them into a body fat percentage calculator to do so.
Body Composition That Is Healthy
For various demographics, the American Council on Exercise (ACE) provides the following ranges of values.
ACE Body Fat Percent Norms for Men and Women
Description Women Men Essential Fat 10% to 13% 2% to 5%
Athletes 14% to 20% 6% to 13%
Fitness 21% to 24% 14% to 17%
Acceptable 25% to 31% 18% to 24%
Over 32% Over 25%
Athletes have lower body fat, which may help them perform better in sports like running and cycling. However, having a very low body fat percentage is a health issue. The female athlete triad, for example, raises the risk of injury and health problems. It involves eating disorders, amenorrhea, and low bone mass, which puts you at risk for stress fractures and osteoporosis.
You have an excessive amount of body fat and a high body fat percentage if you are overweight or obese.
If you have a high body fat percentage, you can improve your body composition by developing lean body mass (muscle and bone mass) and decreasing excess body fat.
How to Calculate Your Body Composition
At home, at the gym, or from your doctor, you can receive an estimate of your body fat % in a variety of ways.
Handheld units and BIA body fat scales that you step onto like a standard scale can both measure bioelectrical impedance. A little electrical current is passed through your body by these tools. 1 Fat, water, and lean tissue all obstruct the stream in different ways, resulting in the reading.
Many home scales are available, and no specific training is required to use them. Some scales, such as the Fitbit Aria 2, even connect to your fitness tracker so you can track how changes in your daily activity and food affect your weight.
Measurements of the Skinfold
Skinfold measurements are a common approach employed by personal trainers or as part of a weight loss program. Calipers capture measurements in various places of your body, which are then converted into a body fat percentage using a formula.
Scan with DEXA
A DEXA scan, also known as a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan, is a medical test that can be used to determine bone density.
Weighing by Hydrostatic Pressure
Hydrostatic weighing necessitates being completely submerged in water. Dunking in a water tank is the gold standard for body fat measurement. It’s more difficult to locate a clinic or gym that provides this service.
Body Composition Influencing Factors
Factors beyond your control can also affect your body composition:
- People lose muscle mass as they get older if they don’t keep up with enough weight training. As a result, your metabolism will slow down.
- Genes play a part in whether you are naturally slim or have a proclivity to store fat, as well as where you store it.
- Hormones: Hormones can affect body composition and water
- As a way of preparing for pregnancy and nursing, women have more body fat than