Ideal Body Fat %
-How lean should you be?
-What is healthy and what is realistic?
Understandably, not everyone has the desire to be a lean mean, fatburning... but seriously. Everyone has some desire to be healthy. Let's discuss the difference when it comes to body fat percentage. Body fat percentage measures how much of your composition comes from fat vs. lean tissue. Below is a chart describing the ranges.
The upper portions of these body fat ranges border on unhealthy and levels below these ranges are associated with higher levels of fitness. Your body fat percentage is a better indicator of overall health and progress than weight alone. You can reduce body fat through a combination of cardio, resistance training, and diet.
SAFE BODY FAT LOSS
While it is general knowledge that you can safely lose 1-2 lbs of weight per week, there is no specific recommendation on losing body fat percentage. General weight loss DOES NOT indicate a decrease in BF %. Please think about what percentage means. If you are losing weight but not maintaining or gaining lean tissue, your percentage may stay the same or possibly even increase. Most people should be able to see about a 1% decrease per month.
BEST WAYS TO DECREASE BODY FAT PERCENTAGE
A combination of a balanced diet, cardio, and resistance training is the most healthy and sustainable way. Diet must be balanced and in a slight deficit, too large of a deficit can cause your body to burn the lean tissue. Cardio should be moderate to vigorous and will help expend extra calories to increase the caloric deficit. Resistance training increases the calories burned at rest and helps maintain or possibly increase the lean tissue percentage.
This chart describes the ranges a little differently. Essential fat is the minimum amount of fat necessary for basic physical and physiological health. Below the essential fat range can be dangerous. As you can see between these two charts, the ranges differ from man to woman** and change with age.
**Women do have a higher body fat percentage relative to men for a given level. Women have more fat because of physiological differences such as hormones, breasts, and sexual organs. In addition, women need a higher amount of body fat for ovulation.
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