Body Composition - Percent Body Fat and Lean Body Mass

Percent Body Fat and Lean Body MassBecause of the limits of the values from a BMI calculation for an above average muscular person, can the body status often be better estimated through the use of "Percent Body Fat" and "Lean Body Mass" calculated, which can be helpful in setting realistic goals with regard to losing weight and planning fitness programmes. This can also be the case for "Pear Shaped" women.

Even when your BMI value is within the Healthy Range, it can be necessary for a little fine-tuning for excess fat.

Independent if your BMI result is within the healthy range, it is important to know if you are carrying too much or too little fat around. Excess fat can add extra stress to your body and in severe cases can cause serious illnesses, too little fat can compromise your immune system and normal bodily functions.

How are these values useful?

Your body weight is made up of muscle, bones, internal organs, fat and water. What's important, is that the percent of Body Fat to the total body weight is held in healthy proportion.

This calculation can also be useful whilst following a weight loss programme, to enable you to check that your weight loss is really from the reduction of fat and not in the loss of important muscle tissue.

A high body fat percentage is also often linked with illnesses such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Less is not always better

Too little Body Fat can lead to disruption of the normal body functions, for example body temperature regulation, vitamin storage and the protection of internal organs by padding.

A certain amount of Body Fat is important for the body to stay healthy and to function normally.

A Body Fat measurement calculates the entire fat of the body. This can be divided into 2 categories:

Stored Fat:
This is usually the fat that we want to get rid of during our weight loss programme! It's the fat that lays directly under the skin

Essential Fat:
This fat is essential for the body and helps to keep the body healthy and correctly functioning

The striving after a Percent Body Fat that is so low that it reduces the Essential Fat portion is extremely unhealthy. A part of our Stored Fat is also important and necessary by the protection of internal organs.

Stay healthy by maintaining the correct Percent Body Fat for your gender and age.

Can FitTrack Calculate My Body Composition?

Yes! Based on various body measurements, FitTrack calculates your Percent Body Fat and your Lean Body Mass. The calculations are different for men and women and therefore allow for different Body Fat distribution in both male and female, and also in age.

Ideal Percent Body Fat Guidelines

In reality, this ideal doesn't exist because every person is different. For this reason, we can only use guidelines. Women have by nature, a higher Body Fat Percent than men, and the Body Fat Percent increases as we get older.

Description Women Men
Underweight < 14% < 6%
Essential Fat 10 - 12% 2 - 4%
Lean 15 - 20% 7 - 13%
Healthy Range 21 - 27% 14 - 17%
Overweight 28 - 31% 18 - 25%
Obese 32% + 25% +

Age orientated span for healthy amounts of Body Fat:

Age Healthy Percent Body Fat for Women Healthy Percent Body Fat for Men
20 - 39 21 - 32% (14 - 21) 8 - 9% (9-15)
40 - 59 23 - 33% (15-23) 11 - 21% (11-17)
60 + 24 - 35% (16-25) 13 - 24% (12-19)