Body Composition is the percentage of fats and lean body mass (muscle, bone, connective tissue) stored in your body. It is very important to know about your body composition in order to assess your health and fitness level. We are made up of the same parts that include muscles, bones, and connective tissues. However, our body fat varies immensely from person to person.
And this is what we will learn about body composition; the percentage of body fat to lean body mass. Healthy body composition is one which includes less percentage of body fat as compared to lean body mass.
LEAN MASS AND FATS
Lean Mass is everything contained in our body which includes the muscles, bones, connective tissues and organs. A healthy body contains more lean mass than fats. Therefore, it is inappropriate to judge a person’s health by his weight. The weight of two persons may be equal but their body fat percentage and lean mass will differ. So, how exactly can you calculate your body fat?
- Body Fat Calipers – A device used to measure the thickness of the skin with its underlying layer of fat.
- Bioelectrical Impedance – Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis or BIA is the process of determining body composition by calculating the exact percentage of body fat in relation to lean body mass. In this method, two electrodes are placed on the person’s right hand and right foot. A low-level imperceptible electrical current is then passed through the body. The current passes through the tissues and gives us an estimate of the total body water (TBW) from which body fat is calculated. BIA determines the resistance to the flow of current as it passes through the body; tissues containing fats and bone slow down the current flow hence, offering high resistance.
- Body Fat Calculators – There are many body fat calculators online where you can easily enter the required details such as your weight, height, waist circumference, etc and get a rough estimate of your body fat percentage.
BODY FAT PERCENTAGE FOR MEN & WOMEN
We think the word body fat percentage is only used in bodybuilding by professional bodybuilders. Well, its true because professionals must have a low-fat percentage in order to compete (5% or so). Body fat percentage means different on different levels. A body fat of 5% can cause some severe health problems to an average person. Conversely, 25% of body fat can be both healthy and unhealthy depending on the age and gender of the person.
It is very important to note the differences between men and women when it comes to calculating their body fat percentages. Women should have a higher amount of fats than men in order to stay healthy and for a safe pregnancy.
Body fat around 20% to 26% for women between the age of 20-40 is good. Those between 40+ to 60+ should have 23% to 30% of body fat. On the other hand, 10% to 20% of body fat is good to excellent for men between 20-40. Those between 40+ to 60+ should be around 19% to 23%.
Know your Body Fat percentage by using the Body Fat Calculator.
FACTORS ON BODY COMPOSITION
Our bodies may differ in body fats and lean mass but the body composition mainly depends on the following factors:
- Genetics – What is your body type? Are you a naturally skinny ectomorph, a muscular mesomorph, or a heavier endomorph? All these depend on your genetics.
- Metabolism – Do you burn off everything you eat or the opposite? This is another genetic factor. Some people don’t gain much weight no matter what they do, while others complain they can get fat just by looking at the food.
- Calorie Consumption – How many calories do you eat in the course of the day? If you consume more food than you need – whether in the form of protein, carbs, or fat – your body will tend to store the excess as body fat.
- Quality of Diet – How often do you “eat clean”? Are the calories you are consuming in the form of quality food, including lean protein sources, a variety of nutrient-rich carbohydrates that include vegetables, fruits, and starches? Are you eating a low-fat diet? Or do your eating habits include a lot of fast food, highly processed packaged foods, foods items dense in fat and sugar?
- Type of Exercise – Are you doing serious bodybuilding training, the kind of weight training that encourages your body to turn your daily food intake into lean muscle tissue? If so, are your workouts sufficiently intense and consistent?