You have been working out for for a while now, you go to the gym or you run or you go for long walks and you are addressing the balance of carbs and protein in your diet. Yet one week you get on your scales your weight remains unchanged. Scales are not the only answer to measuring your progress because it does not take into account your body's composition. This is what your body is made up of, how much fat you have relative to lean tissue. By figuring out your body fat percentage you can get a better look at how your body is composed and how "healthy" you are.
Depending on your age, sex and how active you are the level of your body fat percentage will vary. Your body fat percentage is a measurement of the amount of your total body mass that fat, as opposed to lean body mass (muscle, bones, organs, tissues, blood, and anything else). So, for example, if you weigh 200 pounds and you have 30% body fat, this means that your body contains 60 pounds of fat and 140 pounds of lean body mass.
Measuring changes in body fat percentage, rather than just measuring changes in weight, can be very motivational when you're dieting. A measurement of ones body fat percentage is a more accurate measure of your excess body weight than your BMI, or body mass index, measurement would be because this does not take into account ones body frame size, nor does it account for the amount of muscle mass a person has. However, body fat percentage is not as popular as BMI's because the skills and technology needed to measure body fat percentage are not readily available. Until now..
At your local wellness club you can get these body fat % measurements taken weekly, as well as visceral fat, metabolic age, muscle mass, % body water, physique rating, BMR and bone mass. All the information you need to monitor your progress. As well as the additional benefits from being a member.
Your body requires a certain amount of fat to function properly. Fat is essential to the body as it helps to regulate temperature, provides insulation and cushioning for organs/tissues, and it is the body's main form of storage. There are some general body fat percentage categories that will help give you an idea of the different levels of body fat:
Acceptable levels of body fat vary depending on age and sex. Healthy body fat percentages for men and women aged 20-39 are levels between 21-32% for women and 8-19% for men; while those who are aged 40-59 will remain healthy by maintaining levels 23-33% for women and 11-21% for men; finally 60 + will be fine with levels of 24-35% for women and 13-24% for men. While athlete's body fat percentages usually range between 14-20% for women and 6-13% for men. See the chart below for more details.