Body Fat Percentage Calculator

calculate body fat percentage

Use this calculator to estimate your body fat percentage.

This is a good tool for measuring fat loss progress since the scale isn’t always accurate due to weight fluctuations.

Age

Gender

Weight

Formula ?If you have calipers - the skinfold test is most accurate.

Waistline ?Men: Measure at the navel.
Women: Halfway between navel and breastbone.

Body Fat

What is Body Fat Percentage?

Body fat percentage is simply the proportion of your body weight that is comprised of fat tissue.


Example:

A 155-pound female who has a body fat percentage of 30% would have 46.5 pounds of fat tissue. The remaining 108.5 pounds of her body weight would be composed of muscle, bone, nervous, skin, and other tissues.

Body fat percentage usually relates to your fitness level and it can be a better indicator of health than your BMI.

Here’s how the American Council on Exercise relates the body fat percentage of men and women to their level of fitness.

  MEN WOMEN
Essential Fat 2-5% 10-13% **
Athletes 6-14% 14-20% **
Fitness 14-17% 21-24%
Acceptable 18-24% 25-31%
Obesity* 25%+ 32%+

*Men are considered borderline at 25% body fat and clinically obese at 30%, while women are borderline at 30% and clinically obese at 35% body fat.

**A lower body fat percentage for women increases chance of amenorrhoea (cessation of menstruation).

How Tracking Body Fat Percentage is Useful With Flexible Dieting

Measuring and tracking body fat percentage is usual for flexible dieting for several reasons.

  1. Knowing your body fat percentage is important in formulating an accurate TDEE (total daily energy expenditure). Most standard formulas base their calculations on what is considered to be an “average” body fat percentage. Therefore, those with a high BF% or those with a low BF% will have skewed results when using the standard TDEE formula. Special calculations are needed for obese individuals as well as those that are very fit.
  2. Most flexible dieters are aiming to decrease their fat mass and increase their muscle mass. Tracking BF% change is an great way of tracking progress.
  3. Knowing your body fat percentage allows you to calculate how many pounds of fat your body has. This helps you establish a realistic and healthy goal weight.

body fat percentage calipers

What About Electronic Devices?

Electronic body fat percentage devices have become pretty popular but I’ve found most to be inconsistent and inaccurate. In fact, don’t even bother using the scales with BF% built in or those handheld devices.

Some gyms have immersion tanks and these are probably the most accurate for measuring BF% electronically. Apart from that, using calipers with the skinfold method is the best option and will provide you with a better estimation.

Having Body Fat is Healthy

Having some body fat is healthy and the body actually needs fat tissue to regulate hormone production and body temperature. Having too low BF% poses health risks.

Alarmingly, there’s a trend with men in the IIFYM community to get down to an extremely low BF% where the skin is so void of fat that just about every muscle striation is visible.

This isn’t sustainable or healthy. Guys really shouldn’t strive for anything lower than 5% and women 13% if they want their bodies to function optimally.

Other Helpful Calculators

See also the IIFYM Macro Calculator and Ideal Body Weight Calculator.

References

  • Jackson, A. S., & Pollock, M. L. (1978). Generalized equations for predicting body density of men. British Journal of Nutrition, 40, 497-504.
  • Jackson, A. S., Pollock, M. L., & Ward, A. (1980). Generalized equations for predicting body density of women. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 12, 175-182.

Comments