The Importance of Knowing Your Body Fat

Most Americans have a scale in their home and most women are obsessed with the number on the scale. But why? What does that number tell you? You can have two individuals weight the exact same weight and look completely different. Case in point, the image below. Both males are 6 feet tall and weigh 250 lbs. but the guy on the right is completely out of shape while the guy on the left looks like he’s ready for a body building competition.

You see when you step on that scale is that number fat or muscle? You don’t know, do you? So if you don’t know whether you are carrying fat or muscle, why are you obsessed with the number.

The fact of the matter is is that the number on the scale is a means to an end. It is a measuring point in finding out what amount of fat you are truly carrying.

Body fat measurements should be your top priority. It will tell you within percentage points what portion of your body is fat mass and what is lean mass.

It can be measured in many ways, the top three ways are as follows:

Skin-Fold Calipers: The “skin fold” method measures your body fat percentage by pinching your fat with your fingers then measuring the thickness with a body fat caliper. The reading is given in millimeters, which you compare to a chart with age and gender to arrive at your body fat percentage.

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA): BIA determines the electrical impedance, or opposition to the flow of an electric current through the body. Muscle has high water content, and is highly conductive, while fat has lower water content and is not highly conductive. Based on the strength of the impedance along with height and weight metrics, the BIA scale will estimate fat-free body mass and body fat percentage.

Hydrostatic Weighing: This method is considered the “Gold Standard” (+/- 1.5% error) of body fat measurement that requires being submerged in a specialized tank of water. Because bone and muscle are more dense than water, a person with a larger percentage of fat free mass will weigh more in the water and have a lower percent body fat. Conversely, a large amount of fat mass will make the body lighter in water and have a higher percent body fat.

Once you learn your body fat percentage, multiply that number by your weight in pounds and that will give your total fat mass. This is the number that you should be obsessed with!

If you are curious about your body fat, give me a call or come to a class and I can take it for you! Just fill out the form on the sign-up page!