How to Measure Body Fat?


Measure Body Fat

Measure Body Fat? Seriously what the hell it is? I have heard a lot of people wondering because they hear too many things related to body fat index and yet understood nothing about it.

I am here to sort it out for you and I will help you understand the details and get a clear idea of how much body fat you need and when and how to shed it if you want.

Now, I am not going to cook false promises as body fat is without a doubt a tricky topic. It is not only hard to calculate but at the same time, tracking body fat index isn’t the easiest job either. Further, most people do not have a clear idea as to how to do percentages and they don’t have an idea of what is the apt percentage either. Luckily for you, you have managed to come to the right place where even the toughest topics are made easy and so you are all set to get your diploma in the topic of body fat percentage.

What Is Body Fat Percentage?

If I talk about it in crude terms, body fat refers to the actual amount of fat in your body when you compare it for everything else. When I say everything else, I mean the organs, bones, tendons, muscles and even water as well. It is natural that body fat percentages are going to differ for both genders.

When it comes to a male body builder who is fully fit, you will find that an apt percentage could be as low as 3 to 4 percent. At the same time, if we talk of a female body builder, the body fat percentage could be 8 or 9 percent. So, gender does have a role to play when it comes to body fat.

So, what is the good amount of fat which you must have?

This is the kind of chart you must follow for the sake of keeping the right body fat.

Category                    women                      men

Essential fat             10 to 12%                  2 to 4 %

Fitness                      21-24%                      14-17%

Athletes                     14-20%                      6-13%

Acceptable                25-31%                      18-25%

Obese                        32% plus                   26% plus

No doubt, body fat is necessary for the sake of survival. When you have the right amount of body fat, it will act like a cushion that will aid the internal organs and at the same time, it is going to give you the right kind of energy to carry out activities too.

When we talk of essential fat, it refers to the amount of minimal fat which is needed for the sake of ensuring survival. When the fat level is less than that, it has the power to lead to organ failure. This is why you need to be sure that your body fat percentage doesn’t fall below this essential lower limit.

When you are looking to get your ripped look and have a well-toned body, you should ideally try and have the body fat percentage in the athletes section. When you wish to look healthy, you should focus to have your fat percentage fall in the fitness section. If you are touching the brackets of obese and acceptable, you should try and cut down the total fat percentage of our body because you could be compromising your health.

So, if you are looking to find what is the best possible goal which you can choose to have, here are the things you need to know.

  • If you wish to look like Ryan Reynolds or even Jessica Beil as she did in Blade III, I will first wish you good luck. Aim to have a body fat percentage of 6-8% for men and even 13-15% for women.
  • When you are interested in getting a six pack(link), you should try and have a body fat in the range of 8-11% for men. Women should target body fat of 15-17%.
  • As an athlete who is looking for optimized performance, you should target to have 15 percent body fat for men and nearly 20% as women.
  • 18% body fat for men and 20-23% body fat for women is an ideal range to get compliments like good looking, pretty person.
  • Those who are concerned about fertility or even menstruation; you need to ensure that your body fat doesn’t drop below 15%. However, this is not a mandatory range and there may be fluctuations in it; based upon your body size and type.


Measure Body Fat

When you are looking to calculate body fat percentages, there are different methods which you can choose. No doubt, each one of them comes with different kinds of accuracy and even the cost will vary too, so, you are free to make your own choice.

#1 Take a look

Now, this is the simplest method, but it is prone to largest errors. You need to have an extremely trained eye and you should try and come to the right deductions. You should try and have a list of pictures and with every picture, you can compare it and then determine as to how you have been progressing so far.

#2 Fat calipers

You can easily find a set of clippers for as less as $5. You should pull away the fat from your body and then take a clipper and measure it. You can always make use of a body fat chart for better grades and apt measurements. As far as I am concerned, I found that the fat calipers give you a value which is less than actual body fat.

#3 Measurement method

When you are taking the measurements, you need to calculate your body fat percentage. You will be calculating different parts of your body and recording the data. Once again it is not going to be extremely accurate because there will be a lot of variations in it. Mostly, it is seen that the data which you record ends up overestimating the exact result.

#4 Body fat scales and monitors

This is a method wherein an electrical current is sent through your body and a biometric impedance analysis is done. I am not really fond of this method and often I have found that the results which are obtained are horribly inaccurate. The amount of water which is present in your body can be hugely misappropriated which skews the results significantly.

#5 The bod pod

This method is used for the sake of calculating your body fat percentage by making use of the air displacement method. It measures the body mass, the density and volume as well. While the accuracy is going to be pretty high, this method is fairly expensive as a single session can cost you as much as $75. No doubt, not everyone can afford to spend so much merely for the sake of finding an apt body composition calculator.

#6 Water displacement

The accuracy percentage of this method is extremely high, but once again this method is expensive, cumbersome and it can be a big pain in the ass as well. This isn’t the most comfortable way which you are going to find.

#7 DEXA scanning

When you choose this method, a dual X-ray of your body composition will be taken and you will get some really accurate numbers as well. You can either choose a health center that offers you this facility or even opt for an X-ray table. However, once again the cost factor comes into play as a single session can cost you anything from $50 to up to $150 as well.

An important point which you need to know is that regardless of the method you choose for weighing percentages, you should ensure that you do not change the body conditions at all. If you took measurements on an empty stomach, you should do the same every time you choose to take a measurement.

If you want me to tell you which is the best method, I would say bod pod is by far the best, but you need to have a lot of money to do it regularly. If you are looking to get it done for cheap, take a caliper and also keep clicking pictures to come to right assessment.

body-fat (1)

What Is The Best Way To Cut Down Your Body Fat Percentage?

If you are looking to lower your body fat percentage, here are the main methods which you need to know.

  • Eat a calorific diet: remember the diet you choose always holds the highest importance. You need to burn a lot more calories than what you are consuming. Make sure not to lose a great deal of muscle, but the right diet will help you cut down on your body fat percentage.
  • Lift heavy things: you should try and strength train with a lot of heavy objects. This will help you get stronger and you will be able to increase the rate of metabolism. This helps in burning a lot more calories and thus you will be able to cut down on body fat index.
  • Sprints: when you are performing sprints, the afterburner effect is going to improve even further and this will help you shed the extra set of calories with ease.

These are a few methods which you can choose and it is sure to help you out. Make sure that you do not eat more than 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. When your body has been deprived of the much-needed carbohydrates, it will fall back on the fat source to derive energy and this in turn helps in lowering the body fat.

You are also requested to follow Paleo diet because it is the best possible way by which you can cut down your weight. When I followed the Paleo diet, I spotted a huge and drastic change in my weight. I kept following this plan for three weeks and when I saw that my weight reduced terribly, I opted for sprucing my diet a little bit.

Work out when you have fasted: if you are looking to further cut down on your body fat percentage, you should try and strength train even when you are in a fasted state. Make sure not to have your first meal at least before you have done the first workout of the day.

The body mass index is different from body fat percentage. When you are measuring your BMI, it will merely tell you whether you are underweight, normal and even obese. However, the body fat percentage doesn’t directly means the same. While BMI mainly takes into account the height and weight, the body fat percentage is a lot more than that. When you measure the body fat percentage, you are going to take into consideration lots of parameters.

So, now that you know how to measure body fat, you should try and implement these. When you have added the data, you will be able to analyze your own body style and this is going to give you the right idea regarding what you need to do and the methods by which you can stay in the perfect shape.If you’re looking for beginners workout, you can check out are article before measuring your body fat.

60141 2


Make sure to note down your BMI and then analyze as to how much body fat you have. Every factor has to be accounted for and be sure that you are trying your best to handle the main points and thereby have the kind of body that you have always wanted.

-Terry Asher

Follow Me


Gym Junkies Founder & Editor in Chief at Gym Junkies LLC
I’m Terry and I’m here to help you achieve your fitness goals. I truly believe anyone can achieve the figure they want with the proper guidance. Through my extensive fitness blog, top fitness videos, leading workout supplements, and top selling eBooks, I have been able to help thousands of people online lose weight, tone up and get in shape. My passion is helping people all around the world change their lives for the better.
Follow Me


  1. Yeah I’ve heard a lot about body fat percentages and stuff without having more than a (very) general idea about what I actually is and, even less of an idea about how it relates to everything that I’m doing. This has given me a good idea of what is healthy and what I should be aiming for, given my goals. And the Athletic percentage seeks lost appropriate for what I’m looking at, and I’m probably in the acceptable now given that I’m not very fit at this current point in time. I haven’t worked out what my body fat percentage is yet, but I do appreciate all the different ways to do it that you listed. I can’t shell out the money for some of those, so I may have to be looking at an estimate, but I’m going to try and get a general idea soon. Glad to see some other things that I’ve read about on here like the Paleo diet and getting your body to consume fat coming into play as part of the ways to reduce body fat percentages.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here