Everything You Need to Know About Body Fat Percentage

What the #$%@ is body fat percentage?

What’s a good amount of body fat to aim for?

How the heck do I figure it out how muchI have?

Body fat is an incredibly tricky subject – it’s tough to calculate, tough to track, and most people are way off in their estimates of what they think their body fat percentage is.

As Kanye West once famously declared, “that right there could drive a sane man berserk.”

Luckily, you’re reading Nerd Fitness, which means you’re smart, funny, good looking AND modest. You also understand that this is one of those things that you should probably know something about.

And since we’re talking about kind of a dry, scientific subject here, you’ll be rewarded with cute animal videos at the end of each section so you don’t fall asleep on me.  

Fair warning: lots of half-naked people of all different levels of body fat in this article!

What is body fat percentage?

body fat tape measure

In its simplest form: body fat is the amount of fat in your body, compared to everything else.  Everything else includes your organs, muscles, bones, tendons, water, and so on.

Both men and women carry different amounts of body fat percentage due to…you know…being different.

A super ripped male body builder who is minimizing body fat percentage could have a percentage down as low as 3-4%, while a super ripped female body builder who is minimizing body fat percentage would only get as low as 8-9%.  A male athlete could be in fantastic shape and have 10% body fat, while a women at comparable  level of athleticism and appearance might be at 18-20% body fat.    To take the comparison to the other end of the spectrum, an overweight male at 30% will look vastly different than an overweight woman at 30%.

Feel free to take a break with this video of a lion cub hanging out with a puppy and a rabbit.

What’s a good amount of body fat to have?

Here is the generally accepted chart for women and men when it comes to body fat percentage:

Women

Men

Essential fat

10-12%

2-4%

Athletes

14-20%

6-13%

Fitness

21-24%

14-17%

Acceptable

25-31%

18-25%

Obese

32% plus

26% plus

In what I’m sure is news to nobody, body fat is essential to survival - fat protects your internal organs, provides you with necessary energy stores in times of peril, and more.

“Essential fat” means the minimal amount of fat required for survival - Anything less than this amount would mostly likely result in organ failure, but even approaching this amount of body fat is dangerous.  It’s for this reason that bodybuilders, who can minimize their body fat to the “essential fat” level only do so when prepping for a show – during the rest of the year they maintain a higher body fat percentage so that they can stay healthy and function properly.

If you are looking to have that “ripped” look (dudes) and “toned” look (ugh we hate that word), you’ll want your body fat percentage to hover in the “athletes” section.

If you’re looking to look healthy, I’d argue that you’ll want to be in the fitness range.  Once you get into the upper ends of “acceptable” and “obese,” a decrease in body fat percentage would benefit your health.

So, determining what’s an optimal goal for you:

  • If you are trying to look like Ryan Reynolds or Jessica Beil in Blade III, good luck! Aim for a body fat percentage of 6-8% (men) or 13-15% (women).  Note: your athletic/strength gaining performance will most likely suffer at this percentage, and might not be worth it. Your call.
  • If you are interested in getting that coveted six pack, drop your body fat down to the 8-11% range for dudes and 15-17% range for women.
  • If you are an athlete and interested in optimal athletic performance, aim for a body fat percentage around 15% (men) or 20% (women).  NF team member Staci trains much better at 20% body fat than at 15% body fat.
  • If you are just interested in looking pretty good and feeling pretty good, anything less than 18% for men and anywhere in the 20-23% range for women should get you the “hey, lookin pretty good!” response from your friends :)
  • For the ladies!  If you are concerned about menstruation or fertility, it has been said not to drop below 15% body fat.  Although I can’t find any studies that definitively refutes or proves this, it’s just something I wanted to point out so you can be aware.  Your results may vary!
Hey, you’re still awake! You’ve unlocked the “cute baby pigmy goat jumping around” video.

What do these amounts look like?

Below, you’ll see images of what people look like with different amounts of body fat.

Men:

Male Body Fat Pictures and Percentages 3-10%

Male Body Fat Pictures and Percentages 15-30%

 

Women:

Female Body Fat Percentages 11-18%

Female Body Fat Percentages 20-35%

A quick note:  your body fat percentage is just the amount of body fat  you have; it has nothing to do with the amount of muscle mass you have, which means you can have two people with the same amount of body fat percentage that look WAY different from each other.  Scroll down around halfway on this article for two great examples.

Are you surprised about what you thought and what the actual percentages look like? For a chuckle, look at THESE people who have ‘self-estimated’ their own body fat percentage!  Click through the different images and compare the percentages of the people above to the people in the link.  It’s clear they didn’t actually get measured, as most of them aren’t even CLOSE.

How do you calculate your body fat percentage?

tape measure and body fat caliper

The question I get asked above ALLLLLL others.  

There are seven main methods that you can use, each with varying levels of accuracy and cost: 

1) Take a Look - This might be my favorite method, although it requires a trained eye and isn’t exact.  By having an accurate list of pictures and comparing a picture of yourself, you can determine somewhat closely what your body fat percentage is.  This is a great article I’ve found for accurate portrayal of body fat percentage.  Make sure to note the difference in the two men, both at 10% body fat further down the page.

2) Body Fat Calipers – Pick up a set of calipers for $5. Pull the fat away from your muscles, pinch them with the caliper, take the measurements, and look at a chart  to figure out your body fat percentage.  Some recommend using one test site, some multiple.  In my experience, I have found that these calipers tend to underestimate body fat percentage (mine tell me that i’m 9 or 10% when I’m really 12%, and Staci’s say she’s 17% when she’s more like 20%), but are surprisingly accurate considering how cheap they are. Check out more information on caliper use.

3) The measurement method - By taking measurements (like the US Navy measurement or the YMCA measurement), you can calculate your body fat percentage.  I have found, as have others, that this method isn’t incredibly accurate as it can very easily overestimate your body fat.  Considering it only takes a few points of data, this is not surprising.

4) Body fat scales and monitors  - An electrical current is sent through your body and uses “biometrical impedance analysis.”  I don’t really like this method, as I find the number that it spits out to be horribly inaccurate; because they send an electrical current through your body, the amount of water you are carrying can drastically adjust this number.

5) The Bod Pod - The method calculates your body fat percentage by using air displacement to measure your body mass, volume, and density.  This is also pretty darn accurate, but also pretty darn expensive at usually around $75 per session.  Find a bod pod location by putting in your location in the right hand column.

6) Water displacement - Although very accurate (within 1-3% percent), it’s expensive, tedious, and a huge pain in the butt.  If anybody has any experience with a water displacement test, please share your story in the comments.

7) DEXA Scanning- This is considered the most accurate method, as it actually takes a full dual X-ray of your body composition and gives you numbers.   You can get this done at a health facility, and involves you lying on an X-Ray table for about 10 minutes.  It’s typically expensive, anywhere from $50-150 per session depending on where you are located.

VERY IMPORTANT: If you are going to start testing your body fat percentage, do whatever you can to test yourself under the same conditions each and every time.   For example: every Monday morning, on an empty stomach, while drinking a single glass of water.  This way, even if you’re not getting the correct body fat percentage (due to user error), you’ll at least get a consistent incorrect body fat percentage and can calculate how much you lost or if you are progressing in the right way.

“Steve, just tell me the best method!”

If you have the money, and you have a Bod Pod center close to you, then I’d say this would be the best combination of practicality and accuracy.  If you don’t have the money, then I would go with a simple body fat caliper, along with the “take a look” method.  Take a photo of yourself each week and compare the photos to the photos in the article above.

Here’s the thing with body fat percentage: although it’s fun to know and fun to see it getting lower as you get leaner, methods to track it can often be inaccurate. Take multiple tests with your preferred methods and understand that even then it might be off by 1-3% in either direction.

It comes down to this: Look in the mirror: do you like how you look? Awesome.   Do you NOT like what you see?  Follow the advice in the next section.

Another section, another reward.  You’ve unlocked the “baby otter attacks a stuffed animal walrus” video.

What’s the best way to lower body fat percentage?

Alrighty! Let’s say you’re interested in dropping your body fat percentage, like my boy Saint here (whose FULL story you can read).

Here’s the best methods that I’ve found to get down to very low body fat percentages.  Note: these are JUST suggestions, your results may vary!  If you only want to drop a few percentage points, you can start with the advice at the top, and work your way down towards the bottom as you get lower and lower - the closer you get to single digits (dudes) or low double digits (ladies), the more strict you need to be with your diet and training.

Eat a caloric deficit – Although I believe there is more to it than just this, in order to lose weight, you need to be eating a caloric deficit – burning more calories than you consume.  If you are not strength training and still consuming lots of carbohydrates, you will most likely be losing muscle along with fat, which is not optimal but will help you lose body fat.

Lift heavy things - When you strength train with heavy objects (or with intense body weight training), you get stronger and keep the muscle mass that you already have.  On top of that, you also push your metabolism into an “afterburner” effect which burns extra calories even after you are done working out.

SprintsWhen you run sprints, you create a similar afterburner effect with strength training, meaning extra calories burned after the completion of your workout.

Eat less than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day - When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, it no longer has steady access to its preferred source of energy, sugar (which all carbs become once they’re consumed and processed by your body). It now has to pull from fat storage to fuel itself.

Follow the Paleo Diet – I am biased here, but this is the diet that I follow whenever I need to drop weight.  I recently dropped from 13-14% down to 10-11% in back in March for a vacation.  I had only followed this plan for three weeks (heavy strength training, Paleo Diet, and working out in a fasted state).  As you get very low, I would recommend cutting on almost all fruit and nuts and focusing on just consuming protein and vegetables.

Work out in a fasted state - Although advanced techniques to get to super low body fat percentages are beyond the scope of this article, here’s another tactic if you want to drop the last few percentage points: strength train in a fasted state, and don’t consume your first meal of the day until AFTER your workout.  This is a technique used by LeanGains and guys like Vic Magary and Anthony Mychal.  I’ve been training in a fasted state with zero issues on energy.

How is Body Fat Percent different from Body Mass Index?

weight scale
When you go to a doctor, they will most likely calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI).

Body Mass Index looks at your height and your weigh; based off this ratio, it tells you whether you are underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.

Seems pretty straight forward right?  Obviously, as your weight increases disproportionately compared to your height, you are more likely to be overweight.  Notice I just said “more likely.”

Here’s why: Your BMI isn’t directly correlated to your body fat percentage – it only factors in your height and weight.  It will give you the same reading if you’re made of 180 pounds of pure muscle, or 180 pounds of pure Cheetos.

For example, if I was six feet tall and 185 pounds witha body fat percentage of 10%, I would be put in the same “overweight” category as a guy who was six feet tall, 185 pounds, and a body fat percentage of 25%.  If two women have the same amount of body fat, and one tends to carry more water weight or have bigger bones than the other, one woman could be considered “overweight” while the other might be “average.”

For example: Lebron James is considered borderline obese when measured on the BMI scale, at a height of 6’8″ and 250 pounds.

That being said, I do believe BMI can be helpful - if you are above 30% body fat, then both your BMI and your body fat percentage would tell you that weight loss should be your primary goal.  HOWEVER, as soon as you start to get serious about your body weight and training, then BMI quickly loses its appeal.

Feel free to take note take note of your BMI, and then move onto the important stuff.

You’ve unlocked the final reward: “jack russell terrier and her adopted children, a piglet and a baby leopard” video. 

What other questions do you have?

bunny rabbit on scale
And that concludes today’s lesson on body fat percentage, friend!

I do most of my work in coffee shops these days, so I hope you understand the amount of work and ridiculous number of embarrassing Google searches that had to happen in order to bring this post together.  I just hope I don’t need to search for “chubby man in underwear” again any time soon!

Now, I know this is one of those super complicated topics, so I’d love to help answer any OTHER questions you have!  Just leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help out!

-Steve

###

photo sources: tape measure and caliper, tape measure, weight scale, bunny in scale

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  • Steph

    What if you are a very large chested woman?  Will that factor in on your total body fat percentage?  The last time I was measured, it seemed much higher than I expected…especially when I compare what my body looks like in the mirror to the pictures above.

    Thanks!

  • C0verst0ry

    This is going to be highly dependent upon the amount of muscle mass that you have though. I’m an amateur power lifter, and at 286lbs, I have a body fat percentage of 24% based on the YMCA tape measurement formula. At the same time, based on my height of 6’2″ at that weight, my BMI is 37. That’s a pretty big difference.

  • Alexandra

    My college offers free water displacement testing so I’ve had it done a few times and I do agree it’s pretty accurate as I tested it against body calipers and on a electronic scale.  It was a little scary at first (probably because I have an aversion to water anyways) but I basically had to climb up into a small tank of water, sit in a chair and then lower my head underwater while breathing out all of my air.

    It’s the exact opposite thing that you want to do underwater, and I couldn’t wait to hear the banging from above telling me I was done.  I’d say it’s worth it though if you can find a cheap place to do it!

  • Skypig

    That I can get behind. More nuanced than your original post.

    That said, I often train completely fasted, without BCAA (I travel a lot) and I’ve not noticed muscle atrophy, although I add the caveat that I eat immediately after working out.

    In law enforcement work I’ve learned when I need to fuel for performance and when I’m just training. On more metcon heavy iterations I do adjust calories. I’m not a slave to any particular regimen but, in my personal experience, I’ve noticed my best results following IF and heavy compound lifts.

    YMMV.

  • http://liveforfood.co.uk/ Sarah

    Those images of what body fat percentages actually look like are really interesting and helpful!  It also explains why my weight is not that high but yet I still have “fat bits”!  Great post.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HL6UPKOVGBXLIQXE6HBHGZ5UCM James

    Good article, especially the pics for comparison!

    However, I have to disagree with the suggestions of Paleo and fasted training as methods to drop body fat. If the macro nutrient intake is held constant, these options will not make a difference.

  • http://www.ombailamos.com/ chacha1

    Just an unsolicited woman’s point of view … a long lean man can be miiiiiighty attractive. :-)

  • http://www.ombailamos.com/ chacha1

    Yes it will.  Unfortunately, boobage is almost entirely composed of fat.  This is a good reason to use more than body-fat percentage to assess your overall health and fitness.  :-)

  • http://www.ombailamos.com/ chacha1

    Respectfully disagreeing with your disagreement.  :-)  Nutrient intake pretty much determines whether or not you drop body fat.  If your overall intake is too high (regardless of fat/protein/carb proportions) for your caloric expenditure, you will not drop body fat.  If you hold it constant at a too-high (or too-low!) level, it most certainly makes a difference to your success.  If your balance favors fat or carbs over protein, it makes a difference.

    The best and most current fitness science is swinging around in favor of Paleo-style diets (many professionals recommend “Paleo style” including whole grains and dairy, rather than hardcore hunter/gatherer Paleo) and there is definitely good new science supporting fasted training.

    You just have to be careful not to assume that “fasted training” means “don’t eat all day and then go work out.”  That’s not what it means, at all.

    Ultimately though, what works for a given person is likely to be unique to that person.  So trying different recommendations until the person finds what works for them is the wisest course. 

    “Fitness” can be a subjective term, and shouldn’t be sought at the expense of long-term health.  The individuality of metabolism does mean different methods work for different people.

  • Pingback: The Getting Back/In Shape Thread - Page 31

  • Stephen Wakely

    Saint looks happier without the six pack!

  • Grok

    Paleo including whole grains?  I don’t know what “Paleo” diet you have been following, but in no way does any Paleo diet include whole grains.

    Gluten causes inflammation at best and is linked to autoimmune disease at worst.  In my opinion, it should not be part of anyones diet.

  • http://twitter.com/thatgirljj jj

    I’ve had the water displacement test and it actually was not a huge pain in the butt at all.  The only thing that was a mild hassle was figuring out when the mobile truck would be at a good location for me, and then letting my hair dry afterwards.  I’m a very comfortable swimmer though, if you have the least amount of apprehension about being fully submerged it’s not the test for you.

    Incidentally, through comparing the dunk test to a pinch test, I realized that most of my fat is subcutaneous (i.e. where it doesn’t look so great) and not intrabdominal (i.e. where it’s super bad for your health) as my dunk test was substantially lower than my pinch test numbers.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcardillo55 Michael J Cardillo

    I’ve had mine tested hydrostatically before see a couple other people commenting that they used a similar method. It’s slightly different from “water displacement” and uses the fact that fat floats in water. So they essentially weight you while you’re laying in a tub, exhaling as much as you can and then it’s just your regular weight – underwater weight = how many pounds of fat you have. I’ve done it twice and it’s pretty easy, just mildy gross thinking how many other people were in that water….

  • Mike

    What about alternating energy surplus/deficit over short periods depending on training?

    i.e. eat to surplus for the 24 hours following strength training, and eat a bit below energy needs leading up to the next work out. Could that get the best of muscle building and leaning?

  • Mike

    I have real doubts about that image. The muscle looks about the size of a 150-200g piece of steak. Unless human muscle is 11-15x as dense as beef steak it does not fit.

  • DaveSix

    Love the reward videos. LOL

  • http://daybreakrun.com/ Joe

    The day I got a new body fat measuring scale and the % dropped from 22% to 19% just by switching scales, well, that was the day I figured I would never get an accurate measurement at home.  Instead, I monitor the trend.  If I measure the same time of day every day (usually after waking) and it is going in the right direction, I’m content with what I am doing!

  • agthorn1981

    She’s an olympic weightlifter who can squat nearly 500 lbs, so I believe her.

  • http://www.healthfitnessfanatics.com/ Hassan

    I do the exact same thing. I am not obsessed with the number just the trend. As far as I am get the definition, I am content. 

  • CoreyD

    Yes you can.  The biggest obstacle really is comparing yourself to pictures with different levels of muscularity than you have.  The article linked shows how different 10% BF can look with little muscle to a good amount of it. If you can find a chart like the one Steve made that has your level of muscularity, you should be able to judge within 3% or so as long as you are honest with yourself.

  • CoreyD

    The biggest thing I tell people here is that as you increase in muscle mass, you decrease the usefulness of BMI.  Steve provided a good example in LeBron James being overweight.  If you look at NFL linebackers that are in great shape and around 15% BF, well, they are usually around 34-35 on the BMI scale, which is well into obese (>30).

  • CoreyD

    Like Steve said, avacadoes and nuts (healthy fat dense foods) are the better option, but whole milk is also very useful for this.  This is because fat is much more calorie dense (9 kcal per gram vs 4 kcal per gram) than carbs or protein.  A method popular among power lifters adn body builds is GOMAD-Gallon of Milk a Day.  You have it in glasses throughout the day.  Once doesn’t necessarily need a whole gallon, but even just a quart a day in addition to what you are doing now could be helpful.

  • CoreyD

    Need to make sure I read through before posting next time, that was bad.

  • CoreyD

    Because it’s easy and is the norm.  BMI was actually developed to look at the average fitness of an entire population (like counry size) as the average person will not have a ton of muscle or very little.  It’s supposed ot be the average weight vs average height comparison.  That is why BMI does actually end up being useful for measuring people with average amounts of muscularity.  But as you depart from that average, that’s where it goes wrong, and muscular and very fit people tend to have BMIs that reflect worse levels of health than they actually have.

  • CoreyD

    Yep.  There’s a huge lean gains/fasting support thread on the forum where a lot of people do this.  I myself do it as well.  I eat the same thing in the 24 hours after lifting as I do the rest of the week, but I add in a quart of whole milk and 2 scoops of whey protein which jumps my calories by 800 or so. This take me from a 400 calorie deficit on non-lifting days to a 400 surplus on lifting days.  I’ve been making strength gains over the last month or so while maintaining my bodyfat, maybe even losing a bit.

  • CoreyD

    I disagree.  Fasting causes hormonal adaptions that cause your body to burn the fat.  That is what fat storage is for, energy during short times without food.  But, since you are getting the same calories in a 24 hour period, you’re not fasting long enough to cause the homroal adaptions that cause the body to burn the muscle as well.  The intermitent fasting then results in a higher fat to muscle ratio of weight loss than otherwise.

  • http://funkydung.com/ Eric Williams

    Agreed. However, the people who need to be “scared straight” aren’t generally athletes. ;)

  • http://www.ombailamos.com/ chacha1

    Gluten only causes inflammation in people who are gluten-intolerant.  “Paleo style” like I said is not hard-core hunter-gatherer Paleo.  It’s for the person who wants to optimize nutrition and clean, whole foods without living bread-free.

  • Linda Li

    Thanks for this extremely informative article on body fat percentage!

  • Aakash kotnala

    nice article man ,check http://www.muscleslovers.blogspot.com   for my blog

  • Colleen

    Killer article, Steve.  SO well done!  It’s been a year of work for me and I still find myself questioning my measurements, weight, body fat, etc.  Thank you for the info and advice!

  • nebtlly

    Thanks to the illustrations, I was pretty on target when estimating my current BF at around 23-24%. Got it measured today at 23.3. I do wish the ones for the ladies looked a little bit less fake (especially the middle two), though. A thought: how about an index of NF readers, showing pictures, BF (and type of measurement), routine, diet etc? It might be a pain to put together, but it would be infinitely more useful to anyone looking for ths kind of information along with real photos.

  • Erica

    Your post is superb and attractive as you post the images too it makes it more understandable………..

    - EErica Martin Raspberry Ketones

  • http://www.StartLivingLifeToday.com/ Kristen Vatt

    Great information! I’ve been focusing on lowering my body fat percentage so now I have a better understanding of what’s a good amount of body fat to have as a woman. Thanks

  • http://www.fitdeskjockey.com/ Lean Muscle Matt

    Hey Steve,

    Love your writing style sir, and the fact that you’re as crazy about fitness as me! :) 

    What do you mean by, “I would recommend cutting on almost all fruits and nuts…”? Are talking about getting “cut”, or is it supposed to say “cutting out”?

    I’m on the way to <10% body fat merely as a personal challenge, but I definitely don't plan on living there. :) I'd also add that for the sake of the best comparison you should be consistent regarding both the method you chose to measure your body fat percentage, as well as who you have perform the test (if applicable). I know from experience that not doing so can lead to erroneous readings, and "wasted" time.

    I've noticed that some if the new, and pretty darn expensive biometric impedance machines actually give you a read out of how much water is in your body, so they're also able to adjust for such a variable. Just thought I'd share.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say that I loved the post, especially the pictures showing what different increments of body fat percentage look like. Big win there buddy!

    Go big or go home,
    -Matt

  • Erin

    Thanks for the information. Body fat percentage is more accurate than BMI. I had been so concentrating on reaching a normal body mass index.  Has anybody heard of Roca Labs Formula? I heard it gives an immediate gastric bypass effect without the surgery. That would be really interesting. Anybody knows if it works?

  • http://www.bodybuilderdietinfo.com/ Body Builder Diet Info

    From my working experience with many, there are effective ways to lose fats
    1. Exercise moderately with aerobics and weight
    2. Cut down on fat ladden food
    3. Do weight training
    4. Stagger food intake
    5. Take in at least 8 glasses of water everyday

  • Joia

    Seconding Kristen – there aren’t enough articles with pictures on female body fat percentage that don’t equate “low fat” with “low weight” (I.e. skin and bones). Thanks!

  • http://AkersFitness.com Bryan Akers

    Thanks for the great info! I’ve tried the calipers and the measurement method but had never just compared before and after photos before (or had anything to compare them to, really…) That’s a great idea :) I’ll definitely be sharing this post with some of AkersFitness.com Challenge participants to reference when doing their measurements and photos. 

  • http://www.linkedin.com/pub/suhail-tufail/22/8b0/996 suhail tufail

    So fine post. We need to know about our fat for control our health and fitness. So this article will be so helpful for all.

  • http://www.greatnnatural.com/ rodney

    Fine post I was looking for info about fat %.
    This is the best I have found.

    R

  • http://Fitnessofthegods.com/ Fitnessofthegods

    Killer article! Loved the body fat example pictures! I may steal that idea (hope ya don’t mind!) I’m gonna book mark this bad boy!

  • http://fitnessaftercollege.com/ Donny

    This is a great article, bodyfat percentage is a MUCH better fitness metric to use than weight or BMI. I’m currently using a bodyfat scale. I agree that the accuracy is not great, but it’s worked better for me than the Navy/YMCA methods because I have a broader body type (I was getting 12-13% from YMCA method, when I was clearly more in the 18-19 range on the scale reading.) I am probably going to be switching to calipers in the near future.

  • http://fitnessaftercollege.com/ Donny

    This is a great article, bodyfat percentage is a much better fitness metric than weight or BMI. I use a bodyfat scale currently. I agree that the accuracy isn’t great, but when I was using the Navy/YMCA method, I got a result around 11-12% when I was visibly in the 17-18% range given by the bodyfat scale. I attribute this to my atypical proportions – I have unusually broad shoulders and ribs. The scale accuracy isn’t great, but it seems to do a good job telling me how much my percentage has changed, which is very useful.

    That being said, I’ve been leaning towards switching to the caliper method, and this will probably push me towards that.

  • Jon Kidwell

    I really like this post. As previously mentioned, body fat % is so much better than BMI because the actual fat percentage of your body can play a bigger role in health related illnesses. 
    I think the picture comparison is a great idea and visual for those that are not trained in measuring body fat composition. I appreciate the information and the format. Thanks!

  • http://www.manvsgradschool.com/ Michael

    It’s funny how a few years back I thought that to get a six-pack I needed to do more crunches, more gym. Now I now better. It’s all about eating less. 
    Thanks to this type of advice I’m now at ~12%BF (from 25+%) and getting slimmer!
    I find that skipping breakfast everyday helps me tons.

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  • Barborakot

    I run 12 km (up and down hill) first thing in the morning
    2 times a week. I have been running for  2 years now and have no problem with energy at
    all. Actually I find it quite energising and makes me feel little bit high. But
    that’s probably released endorphins, I guess.  

  • http://www.flawlessbeautyandskin.com/ Suzzy Boleche

    This is a great post. I have always been a little confused on what body fat percentage to shoot for. The pictures help me know what to shoot for, and how to get there.