Body Fat Percentage Women & Men – What Should You Know? 2022
If you are training regularly and the scales aren’t moving, it may be time to check your body fat percentage.
Monitoring your body fat percentage when following an exercise routine is a great way to track your overall weight. For some, it can be a better way to track your progress than just scales alone.
For many people starting, regular Hiit training or weight lifting can prevent the weight from dropping. That’s because the increase in muscle from exercising can often prevent weight loss from happening. However, when this is the case, visually you can still see progress and your body changing. But for many people, seeing the scale go down is motivation. So, if this is the case it may be time to start measuring your body fat percentage, regardless of whether you are a female or male.
This article is dedicated to the Body fat percentage in men and women. So if you want to learn more, keep reading.
Best Way to Measure Body Fat
Since the average bathroom scales are unable to differentiate between muscle, fat, and water there is a better way to track your body fat percentage. This is can be done through tools such as:
– Air Displacement Plethysmography
– Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
– Bioimpedance Spectroscopy
– Electrical Impedance Myography
– A Skinfold Caliper
– Body Circumference Measurement
– Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry
– Hydrostatic Weighing
Some of these ways to measure you fat content in your body you may have not heard of. However, for the sake of this article and keeping it simple, we will focus on the main ways that are available to most people. These are skinfold calipers, body circumference measurement, and bioelectrical impedance analysis (Body Scales).
Skinfold calipers or body fat calipers are common among professionals and coaches. This is because this type of method is relatively accurate and also cheap to perform.
A skinfold caliper is used to measure the skinfold thickness of certain parts of the body. This gives your an estimate of your total body fat percentage. However, it is important to note that it is only as good as the person measuring as the method is based on the hypothesis that the body fat is equally distributed around the body.
The second most common way of measuring body fat in men and women is body circumference measurement. This involves measuring your waist and hip measurements and then adding them together. Once you have these two numbers, you then subtract the neck measurement to get your circumference value.
This then gives you an estimated body fat percentage which is based on statistical data collected over the past years.
Last but not least is bioelectrical impedance analysis (Body Scales). This is the most common form of measuring body fat at home or the gym. BIA works by placing two electrodes on the body which then sends a current through the body. It then provides an estimate of the amount of water in the body, and then your body fat percentage is calculated by using equations.
How to Measure Body Fat With Calipers?
Before using calipers to measure your fat content, remember calipers can have a high error rate. So it is important to do multiple measurements to get correct measurements.
So, how to measure body fat with calipers correctly?
First, start by preparing everything you need:
1. Skinfold Caliper
2. Someone to help perform the measurements
3. A marker/pen
4. Paper or smartphone to record results
5. A basic calculator
Once you have all of the above, you can now start to mark the areas of the body for measurement. These areas include:
Once you have marked these areas for measurement, take your calipers and perform three measurements and then take an average. Make sure to hold the calipers perpendicular to the skinfold and make sure the measurement point of the skinfold is halfway along the length of the fold
Once you have an average for each site use the below calculation to get your body fat percentage.
Body Fat Calculation for Males
Body Density = 1.112 – (0.00043499 * sum of skinfolds) + (0.00000055 * square of the sum of skinfold sites) – (0.00028826 * age)
Body Fat Percentage = (495 / Body Density) – 450
Body Fat Calculation for Females
Body Density = 1.097 – (0.00046971 * sum of skinfolds) + (0.00000056 * square of the sum of skinfold sites) – (0.00012828 * age)
Body Fat Percentage = (495 / Body Density) – 450
Body Fat Percentage Women
Now you may be wondering what the body fat percentage of women vs a man is. Typically women have a higher body fat percentage than males. The average woman will sit between 25-31%, while a female that is regularly training will most likely sit between 21-24%.
For female athletes, the body fat percentage rapidly drops. Most professional athletes will sit in between the 14-20% range, but many athletic women drop below this. However, it is not highly recommended to be.
If you have more than 32% body fat as a female you are likely to be classed in the obese range. So, if this is the case it is recommended to start some form of exercise or fitness routine to reduce your fat percentage.
Body Fat Percentage Men
The body fat percentage of men is much lower than women. This is because the male body typically holds less fat than their counterpart.
Male athletes generally sit between 6-13%, while a fit male should sit anywhere between 14-17%.
For men in general, an acceptable body fat content is around 18-24% and anything above 25% is classed as obese.
What Should Your Body Fat Percentage Be?
Since men and women require different amounts of fat to be stored in the body, the body fat percentage will be different.
For males, a 2-5% of body fat percentage is essential and anything between 6-20% is classed as healthy.
For women, the range increases slightly. 10-13% body fat is essential, while anything between 21-31% is classed as healthy.
Remember when trying to lose body fat you don’t want to go too low. The body needs a certain amount of body fat to stay healthy. So never try to push below that of a professional female or male athlete.
Body Fat Calculator
If you are looking to perform the skin fold test or even body circumference measurement, there are body fat calculators available online to help you. Some of the most popular ones are:
Remember the results will be only as good as your measurements. So if you looking at using either of the above methods, make sure you do multiple measurements first.