What is a Healthy Body Fat Percentage?

I had recently shared a blog on facebook from a woman who took her body fat down to 8% for a fitness photoshoot (Alex “delts” O’Hanlon on Facebook). Great blog about how and why with great pictures to match. However I was then aware that a lot of people either don’t really know what 8 percent looks like, what it means for your body or think that is the body fat percentage they ‘should have’.

Here are 2 charts for you to consider:

body-fat-chart-400x256

Body-Fat-Chart-2

Both charts use different terminology, looking at both can give a better guide of what they mean. The first chart shows changes in fat ranges according to age as well as sex, this is due to the assumption that there will be lower body density as you get older. Most of this is down to people becoming more sedentary as they age, there is no exact study showing how much muscle is lost as we get older but the generally it is 1% per year after 40, but the process starts in your 30′s….. Key point is to keep active and keep strong!!!!!

Why are the charts different for men and women? Women need higher percentage of body fat for ovulation, and history has given us more fat on our hips and tummy to protect our unborn children! Lucky us! No idea why history gave us bongo wings though……

There are lots of different charts available on the internet, many with slightly different readings so use them as a general guide.

Going back to my original point about the woman with the 8 percent body fat, she did that for a particular fitness photoshoot, this is the norm for fitness/bodybuilding competitors and models, and they only keep their body fat that low for a very short period of time, if you read her blog you will see why. Having lower than your ‘essential’ body fat can seriously affect your health, just the same as having to much fat.

I have posted this picture before but it is a useful guide. I have take this from the built lean website, visually it helps get a better understanding of what your body fat might be or what you would like it to be.

body-fat-percentage-picture-men-women

I use measurements, body fat percentage, muscle percent and aesthetics to assess a persons health. The NHS use BMI (body mass index as a scale) but this is only taking into account a height to weight ratio, people with a lot of lean muscle mass can still read as ‘over weight’. Whoever you are it is important to monitor your health and your goals, hopefully this blog will make your goals a little easier to pinpoint, many clients of mine tend to have a random weight in their mind that they want to achieve, this is usually a number plucked out of thin air or based on what hey weighed when they were 16……. How you look and how you feel are always the best ways to monitor progress!

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e. emma@emvita.co.uk

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