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Chart For Body Fat Percentage

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Use this chart for body fat percentage to determine your disease risk and find what body fat percentage is healthy for you.

 

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how the fitness and nutrition industry has detrimentally affected the health and wellness of society over the years by the constant focus on weight loss instead of fat loss and irresponsibly neglecting to clarify that they are not one and the same.

Your overall weight, or body composition, is made up of total body fat and lean body mass (everything other than fat).

Body Composition (Total Weight) = Body Fat + Lean Body Mass

As muscle weighs more than fat, someone could be leaning up by replacing visceral, disease-inducing fat with healthy, calorie-burning muscle mass and weigh the same as they did before. #ditchthescale

Someone could lose calorie-burning, structure-supporting, disease-preventing lean muscle mass and lose weight. #ditchthescale

A woman could weigh “just right” and rock washboard abs but struggle with hormonal imbalances because she doesn’t have enough body fat. #ditchthescale

A muscular man could be at a healthy body fat percentage, but due to a number on the scale be considered overweight. #ditchthescale

If you remember I shared this real-life example of the absurdity of a number on the scale as it relates to wellness or overall health.

This is Zach’s latest evaluation for our health insurance company discount and as you can see per this assessment he is “overweight”.

And as you can also see, he is not exactly “overweight.”

The point is this.

Weight, or body composition, is multi-factorial, and fat loss is very poorly reflected by a number on the scale.

Sooooooooo. . . .

. . . around here I am all about fat loss as it relates to body composition change which includes lean body mass or muscle.

Body Composition (Total Weight) = Body Fat + Lean Body Mass

Calculating lean body mass is sometimes necessary for medicine, but more often than not it is used by bodybuilders or those specifically interested in muscle hypertrophy as this number can be used to isolate total muscle mass.

Generally when we talk about body composition we are talking about body fat percentage.

If you missed my post on how to measure your body fat percentage, then be sure to read it HERE.

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

Let me be very clear that this spectrum is not a gospel truth, but more so it is my assessment of the habits generally true of people at these points on the spectrum based on 15 years of medicine and a lifelong pursuit of wellness.

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

Obese

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

Those with this body fat percentage are at an incredibly high risk of mortality (or death). Heart attacks, strokes, complications of diabetes – are extremely likely at this point on the body composition spectrum.

Quality of life is often very poor with little to no exercise routine. Day-to-day activity may result in feeling out of breath.

The diet involves too much food and is often highly processed without nutritional balance.

4 out of 10 adults in the United States are obese.

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

Overweight

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

My FASTer Way to Fat Loss clients hear me call this point on the spectrum the “Dad Bod.”

3 out of 10 adults in the U.S. are considered to have a body fat percentage that categorizes them as “overweight,” but I would argue that the characteristics often true of this point on the spectrum are where the majority of Americans live including many in the “obese” body fat percentage.

Men and women living with this body fat percentage may be very active but often confuse that activity for exercise.

Those who do exercise may be unbalanced or inconsistent.

Nutrition is typically the primary reason people at this point on the spectrum retain excess body fat.

This person may be on 1 or 2 meds for chronic disease or none at all. Regardless of medical diagnoses, this excess body fat percentage puts one at risk for disease.

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

Fit

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

What body fat percentage is healthy? This is the center of the body composition spectrum. This is a healthy body fat percentage that will promote disease prevention and sustainable wellness.

This is the point on the body composition spectrum that everyone should strive to live in and establish as their baseline.

Living fit with a healthy ratio of muscle mass to body fat typically looks like 20-30 mins a day of moderate to high-intensity exercise 3-5 days a week with a balance of cardio and strength training.

Living optimally well will include minimally processed food with little to no artificial ingredients on a regular basis. Whole food nutrition is a priority long-term.

It is important to understand that living well does not necessarily mean that you will have ripped abs, especially for women. Abs are a state of muscle bulking. One needs to have core strength to live well (strong internal ab muscles) but bulking your external ab muscles is aesthetic and not essential.

One can live with a healthy, disease-preventing body fat percentage and not have shredded abs!

More to come on all things abs another day.

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

Lean

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

This point on the body composition spectrum is typically for aesthetic or job-related purposes. I call this the “Red Carpet Body.”

Those who sustain this body fat percentage are often high-performance athletes or for job-related purposes such as singers, actors, actresses, fitness influencers, etc.

This body fat percentage is difficult to sustain (especially for women) and typically involves 5 days a week of cardio/strength training for 30 mins – 1 hr.

Nutrition has to be dialed in and is often calculated or tracked.

This body fat percentage is typically a short-term body goal and not innately a sign of good health.

One may or may not be on a med for chronic disease (high blood pressure for example) although the risk of most chronic diseases is significantly lower at this body fat percentage.

With targeted exercises, ab definition is common.

For reference, I personally live right on the edge of “fit” and “lean.”

Chart For Body Fat Percentage

Extra Lean

HOW YOUR BODY FAT PERCENTAGE RELATES TO OVERALL HEALTH

In my opinion, this point on the body composition spectrum is strictly aesthetic and should not be sustained (especially for women).

Very few people can sustain this body fat percentage and live optimally well.

This is the bodybuilder or maybe an actor or actress preparing for a specific role.

To build the muscle mass and shred the body fat required to attain this point on the spectrum one is typically exercising 1-2 times daily. For example, cardio in the morning with strength training in the evening.

Nutrition is precise and often requires supplementation.

This point on the spectrum could actually result in chronic conditions due to the stress of excessive exercise and supplementation.

I do believe it is possible to reach this point on the spectrum naturally and healthily, but it is a full-time job and rarely sustainable.

It is important to note that men and women may be genetically pre-dispositioned to have this body fat percentage and struggle to put on weight or muscle mass which has its own potential health complications.

Stay tuned because I am going to use this spectrum to explain the secret to breaking free from yoyo dieting!

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