Body Fat Percentage

# Thread: Body Fat Percentage

1. ## Body Fat Percentage

How do I tell my body fat percentage? I have absolutely no idea what it is or how to figure out what it is. I know you can do some sort of test to find out but I want a general answer I could find myself.

2. You can either use callipers or a body composition monitor which uses electrical impedance. Callipers require proper training and some experience to get any sort of accurate results, and the electrical monitors will cost you a little if you want a good one.

At the end of the day, why do you care about the number? If you're not happy with the way you look train hard and eat right untill you ARE happy!

3. NICK, here's a ballpark for you:

If you're looking to drop weight, the following method should give you something close enough that you can at least aim for some targets with regard to goal weight and macronutrients (grams of protein and fat per pound lean mass)

What weight do you think you'd need to be to see abs?

90% of this weight (80% if you're a girl) is your approximate lean mass.

Subtract your approximate lean mass from your current weight. This is your approximate fat mass.

Divide your approximate fat mass by your current weight. This is your approximate % bodyfat.

So, for example, suppose you currently weigh 180 lbs and you figure you'd need to weigh 165 lbs to see abs.

Your lean mass is probably about 90% of 165 lbs - or 148.5 lbs
180 -148.5 = 31.5
31.5 / 180 = 17.5%

Does this help you at all?

4. Built, it would but I used to weigh 178 before I lost weight, so I've lost about 17 pounds.

5. Im having a hard time with the formula above. My calculator keeps reading

√(-1/64)

Math joke

6. I bought a Tanita scale for \$30.00. Works great and you can program it for multiple people. My fiance and I check ours every Saturday to see how well we did throughout the week and to see if we need to make any changes in our diet or food intake.

7. N I C K - can you see abs? What weight do you figure you'd need to hit for that to happen?

Ectomorph - tanita are crap. Deplete carbs and it tells you you've gained fat and lost muscle. Have a cheat weekend, get bloated to shit, it tells you you're ripped and jacked.

Pick a number for your lean mass, then use it to back out what you figure your bodyfat is at any given level and leave it alone. Look in the mirror. Weigh yourself. These will tell you more than tanita ever could.

My .02

8. Built what do you recommend for fat % measurement? Keep in mind my fiance is also lifting with me and she needs all the encouragement she can get. All she cares about each week is seeing that fat % number go down. I am bulking so it doesnt matter much to me. I think she looks really hot already but she wants to lose even more. She is already quite small so every little bit she loses is awesome. So far she has been doing VERY well especially watching what she eats which is obviously the most important. She loves candy and has been learning to stay away from it or only eat it on our cheat days. Like you always say "abs are made in the kitchen". And she truly understands that now. But the Tanita scale has helped her confidence a lot. When that fat # drops its very rewarding for both of us.

9. Originally Posted by ectomorph141
Built what do you recommend for fat % measurement? Keep in mind my fiance is also lifting with me and she needs all the encouragement she can get. All she cares about each week is seeing that fat % number go down. I am bulking so it doesnt matter much to me. I think she looks really hot already but she wants to lose even more. She is already quite small so every little bit she loses is awesome. So far she has been doing VERY well especially watching what she eats which is obviously the most important. She loves candy and has been learning to stay away from it or only eat it on our cheat days. Like you always say "abs are made in the kitchen". And she truly understands that now. But the Tanita scale has helped her confidence a lot. When that fat # drops its very rewarding for both of us.
Good to hear she's so stoked.

(You too!)

What do I recommend for bodyfat measurement?

What is your lean mass now? Assume it neither goes up nor down and from this point, your bodyfat percentage is this:

(Current weight - lean mass)/(current weight) x 100%

A better way to think about it might be this: Assume you train and eat properly and neither gain nor lose lean mass while dieting down.
Figure out what weight you need to hit to get to a set percent bodyfat.

For instance, I currently have 118.5 lbs lean mass. To hit 14% (my ab shot to the left), I'll need to get my weight down to 138 lbs (which is cool because I was 130 lbs in that shot!)

So, take your lean mass and divide it by (1-goal bodyfat)

For me, 118.5 / (1-.14) = 138

This AM I weighed 147, so I have nine pounds to go.

10. FWIW, tanita & the other impedence-based scales aren't realy "crap" but rather they are measuring a different way than calipers and are dependent upon the amount of water in your system. Ideally you'd want to be measuring at the same time of day each day when you've not modified the amount of water in your system (e.g. first thing in the morning before you eat), but its still dependent upon water which is quite variable as we all know.

What is more useful is the RELATIVE CHANGE in whatever method of measure you are using. As far as I know the only worthwhile ABSOLUTE method of measure is hydrostatic. In the past I've relied on 9 pt caliber measures (3 sets of measures done by the same person, averaged out), and take the measure every 3 days (afte I made some minor modifacation to my diet) to watch the relative trends in the overal number as well as the caliper measures at each point to get a sense of where I tend to hold fat & water.

IMO its not worth getting all excited about but calipers are the most commonly referred to method of measure (or the implied de facto method of measure) within the BB community. I know a lot of people who do this "My tanita scale says I"m 22% bodyfat" and everyone else is like "OMG No way are you that much - tanita scales are shit". Its just measuring different things, and still we all generally think in terms of the numbers associated w/ caliper measures.

Beyond that, you're better off just going by how your clothes fit. From past benchmarks, I also know things like the big ropey vein that runs across my chest to shoulder shows up at 11% bodyfat, striations in my shoudlers show up at 12%, etc.

11. Originally Posted by Built
N I C K - can you see abs? What weight do you figure you'd need to hit for that to happen?

Ectomorph - tanita are crap. Deplete carbs and it tells you you've gained fat and lost muscle. Have a cheat weekend, get bloated to shit, it tells you you're ripped and jacked.

Pick a number for your lean mass, then use it to back out what you figure your bodyfat is at any given level and leave it alone. Look in the mirror. Weigh yourself. These will tell you more than tanita ever could.

My .02

No not really. But I just looked in the mirror and I'd say I've probably got a very thin layer of fat over the abs. Although the lower region seems to have a little bit bigger layer of fat. So I figure maybe 2 or 3 more pounds of fat gone and I should be good. Looks like no drinking for me this weekend.....Damn.

A theory I've had for lack of ab visibility could be weak abs? But I know I've got really strong abs, so I'm 100% positive this isn't the case. For me at least.

12. Originally Posted by N_I_C_K
How do I tell my body fat percentage?
Look in the mirror, if you look fat you are fat.

13. Originally Posted by GeorgeForemanRules
Look in the mirror, if you look fat you are fat.
Does this work for your penis too???

14. Originally Posted by GeorgeForemanRules
Look in the mirror, if you look fat you are fat.
Tool.

15. Originally Posted by suprfast
Does this work for your penis too???
Yes, if you have to measure it to find out it's big or small you have already lost.

16. Originally Posted by GeorgeForemanRules
Yes, if you have to measure it to find out it's big or small you have already lost.

17. This sounds like something you two should message each other and talk about. Not on my topic.

Thanks for jacking up my rep George, I could care less what it is. Don't even know what it means?

18. Sassy and Built,
Great replies. I do agree that the Tanita fat % can be decieving at times for sure because of the way it measures water. Luckily I convinced my fiance not to beat herself up at all about the BF% that the Tanita shows. I also remind her that she will gain muscle weight and not to freak out about that. She has been at it about 5 weeks and she is still slowly dropping weight yet gaining muscle. She is physically changing for sure and its all positive. Her clothing is starting to get a little loose fitting dropping her from a tight size 5-6 to a loose fitting size 5-6. We also cant help but laugh at her new visible friend "the tricep".
Its funny because she has quite tiny arms and now out of nowhere her tricep really is becoming very visible. Especially since the bf is trimming off her little arms and now she is gaining muscle.

19. This honeymoon period at the beginning is just so addicting. I still remember being charmed at the appearance of "tricep" - and bicep, and abs, oh, and quad - I remember the feeling when my hand accidentally knocked against my quad when I was walking up some stairs and my quad felt hard. HARD! I was hooked.

But then, I had me at "bicep".

20. Originally Posted by Built
This honeymoon period at the beginning is just so addicting. I still remember being charmed at the appearance of "tricep" - and bicep, and abs, oh, and quad - I remember the feeling when my hand accidentally knocked against my quad when I was walking up some stairs and my quad felt hard. HARD! I was hooked.

But then, I had me at "bicep".
I was on my 5th photoshoot in a row before the North Americans last year (2nd show in 1 month period after several months of dieting and getting ridiculously depleted). And the photographer was focusing on a bicep shot and wanted "flexing" (yea, schmoe video), and I found myself looking at my forearms, like. .. holyshitlookitthat!

Its pretty cool when you see new detail.

When other people look at you (or people in the gym, particularly women), its always a first-impression response and so many are always OMG she looks so manly (and this is for anyone who has a shape other than Blah or Blob).. but when its YOU that found the new shape, its totallly cool!

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