Your body fat percentage measures how much fat you store in your body compared with everything else that is in there including your blood, organs, water, and all the other components that make up our bodies.
Body fat percentages are different for men and women due to the different body requirements, so while a male bodybuilder could get down to 3% body fat, even a really fit female bodybuilder at the top will still have around 8% body fat.
The body fat percentage for a woman will always be higher than for a man, due to the physical differences so it’s important to understand that and be realistic about how low a body fat percentage you want to achieve.
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Body fat percentage is also not related to your muscle mass, so people with the same body fat percentage could still look completely different from each other depending on how the rest of their body is made up.
It’s also important to understand that some level of body fat is essential to our survival. It serves to protect your internal organs and provides energy stores in times of need. Lowering your body fat percentage too far is incredibly dangerous.
How do I measure my body fat percentage?
Try Some Body Fat Callipers
You can buy a set of callipers that you use to pinch your fat, and take some measurements and they come with a chart to help you work out your body fat percentage from the measurements. They are cheap and extremely easy to use.
There are a few techniques where you can measure yourself at certain points and then use models to calculate your body fat percentage, but these are not highly accurate and can give you incorrect levels.
Use Body Fat Scales
You can buy scales that are said to be able to scan your body and tell you your percentage of body fat however, the accuracy of these varies hugely.
You can pay for a full health scan of your body at a health facility, and they will give you a complete breakdown of your body composition. These aren’t hugely expensive and are the only way to get a really accurate picture.
Once you have worked out your body fat percentage you need to measure it at the same time and in the same way, each week so you can accurately track and measure all the progress you are making through your efforts.
So How Do I Lower My Body Fat Percentage?
There are a number of factors you need to consider when it comes to successfully lowering your body fat percentage, which includes reducing your calorie intake, following an exercise plan, and sticking with it no matter what.
Here are some changes you can make to your lifestyle to help lower your body fat percentage.
Eat Fewer Calories Than You Burn
Try Weight Training
Try doing weight training to get your body stronger and burn through those calories. It will help you to build muscle while burning fat at the same time.
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When you are having a rest day from your regular exercise, try going for a quick sprint to help burn off even more calories and lower that body fat percentage.
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Eat More Protein
Try reducing your intake of carbohydrates and fat and increase your intake of protein so that your body will use up its own fat stores for energy, reducing your overall body fat percentage.
Keep track of your progress to see how much weight and body fat you are losing so that you can make adjustments if you need to. Make sure you are accurately tracking your calorie intake.
Work with a Fitness Coach
It might be that you can’t do it all on your own so it might be worth hiring a fitness coach or personal trainer to help you on your journey.
You have to remember that it’s going to take time to lower your overall body fat percentage so don’t get downhearted if you don’t reach your magic number quickly. Keep going and stay consistent as it’s a long-term journey you are on.
Have a Maintenance Plan
Once you reach your goal you need to have a maintenance plan in place for your ongoing nutrition and exercise levels, so you don’t just drop back into old habits once you reach your goals.
Reducing your body percentage fat is a good goal to have as it can have a big impact not only on your fitness but also on your health as well. If you do have any health issues or are planning to embark on a weight loss program it is always good to speak to your doctor first, as you don’t want to do anything that could cause injury or make your health worse.