There are several reasons why you might want to know how to calculate your body fat percentage. It can be for medical reasons, diet, competitions and so forth. Whatever is the reason, there are a few way to measure the body composition.
Why To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage
Human body is designed to store fat so that in the event of a shortage of food we can still live using fat for energy.
How much fat we store mostly depends on genetic and lifestyle.
To maintain our vital signs and perform our daily tasks we all burn calories.
Calories is basically the energy we get from the food we eat.
We can say that if we create a surplus of calories, so if we eat more calories than what we burn, then the body will store the excess as fat.
On the contrary, if we have a deficit of calories, so if we burn more than the calories we assume eating, then the body will start using fat to get energy.
Why would you want to measure your body composition? By the way, the body composition is just another way of saying what is your body made of.
It is a way of checking your body dividing in Muscle, Fat, Water and so on.
An excessive amount of Fat is a danger for your health, however, a scale, a meter and a look can be sufficient instruments to examine the fat influencing someone’s health.
People that really want to check the Body Fat Percentage are:
- People on a diet
- People following a fitness program
Monitoring the Body Fat Percentage, together with other indicators, is key to track the progress of a diet and training.
People following a Keto Diet are usually interested in checking their Body Fat Percentage before, during and after the diet. This will allow them to know how effective the diet is.
How To Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage
Measuring the body fat is not very easy, and often is not even accurate.
So “how to measure your body fat percentage?” There are a few methods and tools to measure to do it, let’s see the most popular.
Caliper (Skinfold Testing)
Using a caliper is a very cheap way to check your body fat percentage, and it can be done at home (or at the gym).
You basically have measure the thickness of the folded skin in specific parts of the body.
The several values must be entered in an equation that will result in the Body Fat %.
This is a very simple and cheap way but it can be affected by human errors and it is not the most reliable.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
Don’t be scared by the big words, this way is actually nothing scary.
The principle behind this test is that the fat cells in your body contain less water than other cells.
Being water a conductor of electricity we can check the body fat % seeing the resistance to electricity.
To measure the body fat percentage with this method you need a commercial device or you need to consult someone that has one.
This device will be able to measure the resistance to electricity of some parts of your body and produce a report of the body fat percentage.
Depending on the device you will have a report with the generic Body Fat % or, with more high end devices, divided by parts, for example waist, trunk, arms, legs.
This is one of the most accurate ways of measuring body fat %.
It is based on the principle of weight and volume of water moved by the body.
If you are planning to try this, please be aware you will have to be submerged in a container full of water.
Expensive way and not a quick process.
Similar to the previous method of Water Displacement.
The Bod Pod is base on air displacement, so you will have to be sealed in a container in order to measure the air displaced by your body.
Accurate method but not very cheap.
DEXA stands for Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry.
Although it was claimed to be the most precise, research proved that it can be in fact not very accurate.
This methods consists in a full X-Ray of the body
Knowing how to measure your body fat percentage is important in case you want to track your progress during a diet or fitness plan.
In the case of Keto Diet, which is focused on burning fat, this is of particular interest.
With one of the methods presented above you will be able to understand if you are getting the results you are aiming to.