Many people use a scale to keep track of their gym progress. Growing your muscles increases your weight. But scales only tell part of the story. Increases in weight can be caused by fat or water retention. Because of this, it’s best to consider your body fat percentage. Giving you a more accurate understanding of whether you are achieving your fitness goals. Good news. It’s easy to calculate your body fat percentage. Let’s break down everything you need to know.
Methods To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage
There are plenty of ways to find your body fat percentage. Try a few methods. Compare the results. Get a better idea of where you land.
One of the easiest options is to use a tape measure. You just need two figures. Start by measuring around your neck. Then, measure your abdomen. This can be a little tricky. Ask a friend to give you a helping hand. Keep the tape taught. But don’t try to distort the measurements by pulling the tape too tight. To get your body fat level, just subtract your abdominal measurement from your neck measurement.
This method is popular because it’s so easy. Only taking a few minutes. But there are a few caveats to bear in mind. To accurately measure your progress, you need to measure the same place each time. Lift your clothes when measuring. Eliminate the variability that fabric thickness can cause. Measure at the same time of day. Avoid measuring after eating. Your stomach might have expanded, giving a false number.
Another popular option is to use calipers. Pinching the skin to measure the thickness of the fold. I know it sounds a little painful. But it can deliver accurate results. You just need to buy the caliper first. These are available online and fairly cheap.
Using them is easy. Just pinch the skin. Use the caliper to measure how thick the fold of skin is. There are a few areas that you should be measuring. They are the chest, abdomen, and thigh. From there, you just need to plug these measurements into a body fat percentage calculator. Let the machine do the math and pop out your results.
There are a few things to do to ensure an accurate measurement. Take three measurements. Average them. Smoothing out measuring errors. Stick to one side of the body. If possible, try to measure in roughly the same place each time. Despite your best efforts, there will be a small margin of error. Keep this in mind when tracking your results.
Body fat scales are the most convenient way of tracking your progress. Bathroom scales won’t work. You’ll need to go to your gym. They will have specialized body fat scales. Simply stand on the scale. Electrical currents run up your legs. Resistance levels determine how much fat is in your body. There are a few other measurements that will be required. You’ll need to tell it how tall you are, how old you are, and what gender you are. After a few minutes, you’ll get your results.
This is the most accurate way to find your body fat percentage. But there are a few things you need to bear in mind. To track your progress accurately, you’ll need to measure at roughly the same time each day. Avoid measuring after anything that can influence the result, like a big lunch.
Body Fat Vs BMI
Body fat isn’t the only measure you should take into account. Some people prefer to turn to the Body Mass Index (BMI). This is your body weight in pounds divided by your height in feet. Alternatively, it’s your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters. Most of the time, a healthy BMI is between 20 to 25.
But this measure has a few serious flaws. First, it is only looking at weight. This is a problem for bodybuilders. Increasing your muscle mass increases your weight. Even though you attend the gym frequently, your BMI can make you appear unhealthy. Because of this, it’s better to pay attention to your body fat percentage instead.
What Body Fat Percentage What Do You Need?
Hopefully, you have a better idea of how to calculate your body fat percentage. But this raises a more important question. How do you know what the right percentage is? This can be a complex question to answer. Let’s look at some of the things to take into account.
Finding Your Ideal Body Fat Percentage
Your ideal body fat percentage will often vary a little, depending on your age and gender. Here’s how it all breaks down:
- 20- to 29-year-old male. You should aim for between 7 to 17 percent.
- 20- to 29-year-old female. Females have a higher body fat percentage than men. You’ll need 16 to 24 percent.
- 30- to 39-year-old male. Target 12 to 21 percent.
- 30- to 39-year-old female. Ideally, you’ll have 17 to 25 percent body fat.
- 40- to 49-year-old male. As we get older, our body fat percentage You should aim for between 14 to 23 percent.
- 40- to 49-year-old female. Those in this group should try for between 19 to 28 percent.
- 50- to 59-year-old male. Try to hit between 16 to 24 percent body fat.
- 50- to 59-year-old female. You should have between 22 to 31 percent.
- Over 60 male. Try to maintain between 17 to 25 percent body fat.
- Over 60 female. Aim for between 22 to 33 percent.
This is just a general guide. Your lifestyle might impact the type of body fat percentage you are targeting. It’s common for athletes to carry less fat. Bodybuilders also tend to have less body fat. This allows you to better show off your muscles during a competition. For example, some people get as low as five percent body fat before a show.
Problems With Too Much Fat
The problems with high amounts of fat are relatively well-known. Excess fat can clog up your arteries. Leading to significant health problems. Heart attacks and strokes become more likely. High cholesterol and diabetes are also common issues. The excess weight also puts pressure on your joints. Knee and back problems can become more likely. Some people develop sleep apnoea.
The more overweight you are, the higher your risk of developing these symptoms. Once you start to reach the upper band of your body fat index, it’s time to start taking action.
Problems With Too Little Fat
While many people are familiar with the problems associated with obesity, being underweight can also start to cause problems. You need to make sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive. If you aren’t doing this, it can cause significant problems. You might start to lose strength, as your body lacks the tools to build new muscle. You’ll also be placing additional strain on your heart, which can increase your chance of stroke. People also report feeling fatigued and lightheaded.
If you start experiencing these symptoms, it’s a sign that you are starving yourself. Time to rethink your diet. Make sure that you are getting the nutrients that you need.
Achieving Your Perfect Body Fat Percentage
As we mentioned, many bodybuilders aim for an exceptionally low body fat percentage. They can get it as low as four percent. This delivers the eye-popping muscle definition and veiny appearance that the judges are looking for. But they won’t be able to maintain such a low level of body fat over the long term. Often, just for the days immediately before the competition.
After that, they let their body fat drift to a safer level, around 15 percent. Keeping your body at such a low body fat percentage over the long term isn’t safe. Don’t worry, even at these levels, everyone will be able to appreciate your muscles and abs. But how can you achieve this drastic drop in body fat levels? Usually, you’ll need to use a mix of measures. Let’s look at some of the options you can explore.
Building A Good Diet
The most important element is making sure that you are building a good diet. When creating a cutting diet, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Eliminate as many fatty foods as possible. No more deep-fried burgers. Bid the box of donuts goodbye.
Next, you need to make sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Get plenty of protein, allowing you to grow new muscle. Try to stick to homemade meals. That way you know what is in them. It’ll also be easier for you to control the portion sizes.
Sticking to the diet is usually the hardest part. Build in plenty of meal variety, so you don’t get bored. Also, give yourself the occasional cheat day. Allowing yourself to eat whatever you want without feeling guilty.
Don’t forget to give yourself plenty of time to hydrate. Try to stick to water, rather than soft drinks or alcohol. Protein shakes are also a good option. Have something to drink before your workout session. This will give you the energy you need to push yourself hard.
The best way to lose weight is to hit the gym regularly. Ideally, you should be getting 150 minutes of heartrate-raising exercise per week. For bodybuilders, though, it’s also important to consider what parts of your body you are working out. Split your muscles into distinct groups. Allowing you to target them individually. Maximizing the time that you are spending in the gym. For example, you can be working your upper body while giving your lower body time to recover.
During the cutting cycle, though, you should place a particular emphasis on cardio. This boosts your metabolism. Helping your body burn through fat. Don’t forget to spend some time building muscle. Ensuring that you retain the lean muscle you put on during the bulking cycle.
Give Yourself Time To Cut Weight
Don’t expect to get dramatic results overnight. Give yourself some time to cut weight. Most bodybuilders aim to have a cutting cycle that lasts for 12 weeks. However, if you put on a lot of weight, you might need to stretch this out for longer. Make sure that you are setting realistic goals. Cutting weight too quickly can put stress on your body. Raising the risk that you will suffer health problems.
Build The Right Cutting Stack
You can try to cut weight naturally. But this can take a long time. Even with the right diet and exercise routine, it can take weeks before you see results. Often, bodybuilders don’t have that long. A competition is coming up and they only have a few months to get in shape. Because of this, they turn to supplements to help them cut weight. In this case, you have two options.
First, you can try steroids. Drugs like Anavar and Winstrol are ideal. Cutting through the fat while preserving your lean muscle. But they come with a major downside. These drugs place your health at risk. Liver damage, cancer risk, and mental health issues are just some of the consequences of long-term steroid abuse. Plus, steroids are illegal. Get caught and you’ll be facing harsh criminal penalties. Because of this, it’s just not worth the risk.
The good news is that there is another way. Use supplements from Crazy Mass. Made from natural ingredients they can help you get the same results as steroids. Without the need to put your health at risk. We have plenty of options to choose from. P-VAR and Winnidrol are alternatives to Anavar and Winstrol. Or you can try our stacking cycle. Combining multiple supplements to get the best results.
Knowing your body fat percentage is important, particularly if you are a bodybuilder. You’ll be able to track your progress in the gym. Cutting your body fat levels to get into shape before a competition, so you can impress the judges with your muscle mass.
Gary David is the founder and CEO of CrazyMass, one of the nation’s leading supplement companies. Before starting CrazyMass in 2006, Gary was a bodybuilder and personal trainer for several gyms throughout Northwest Michigan, helping clients meet their fitness goals. Gary happily worked in this profession for over 15 years. He saw that most weight gaining products to increase muscle were made with ingredients that were dangerous or of poor quality. He knew there was a safer and healthier way to do this, so he created a special blend of herbs, amino acids, and nutrients to help bodybuilders slim down and gain muscle.
Although Gary no longer participates in bodybuilding competitions, he continues to be involved in the community, helping others prep for shows and attending events where he can advertise CrazyMass products. When Gary isn’t working long hours, he likes to spend his time working out at the gym, boating on Lake Michigan, traveling the trails around Northern Michigan by four-wheeler, and spending time with his family. He also loves to take a yearly trip to Europe with his wife and children.