Throughout your health and fitness journey, you have probably heard other people discussing their body fat percentage and what they want it to be at. If you haven’t done so before, you were probably wondering ‘how can I calculate my body fat percentage?’
Your body fat percentage can give you a window into greater understanding where you are at with your current health and fitness level and give you a greater base to tailor your workouts and lifestyle off of.
Before we learn how to calculate body fat percentage, let’s begin by first defining what your body fat percentage tells you.
What is ‘body fat percentage’?
Your body fat percentage is simply the percentage of your body weight that is fat.
What is considered a healthy body fat percentage?
- For men, 8-17% body fat is considered healthy.
- For women, 15-24% body fat is considered healthy.
Now, let’s go on to find out how to learn your body fat percentage.
How to calculate your body fat percentage
There are a number of ways that you can calculate your body fat percentage. For example, you can go to a medical or fitness office and do formal (and expensive) tests.
You can do the bioelectrical impedance analysis, hydrodensitometry, and air displacement plethysmography... but you can also do simple measurements at home!
How to calculate your body fat percentage at home
With a tape measure
To measure your body fat percentage at home, you will need a tape measure. By recording measurements of different parts of your body, you can compare your numbers to a body fat chart and estimate your body fat percentage.
For females, your body fat percentage takes into consideration: gender, weight, waist circumference, neck circumference, and hip circumference.
- To calculate your body fat percentage, add waist circumference and hip circumference. Subtract your neck circumference from this measurement to get your circumference value. Compare your circumference value to a body fat chart, according to your height, for your estimate body fat percentage.
For males, your body fat percentage takes into consideration: gender, weight, neck circumference, and abdomen circumference.
- To calculate your body fat percentage, subtract neck measurement from abdomen measurement. This result is your circumference value. Compare your circumference value to a body fat chart, according to your height, for your estimated body fat percentage.
If you use calipers, many follow the Jason and Pollock approach, which is a skin-fold test.
You can use the Jason-Pollock Body Fat Calculator, which takes into consideration: gender, weight, age, fold one (pectoral), fold two (abdominal), and fold three (thigh).
Now that you know how to calculate your body fat percentage, you can use your results as a loose way to monitor your progress.