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Calculate Your Body Fat

Aug 12, 2008
If you are trying to lose weight, you must understand that it is very important to calculate your body fat as well as knowing how much you weigh. The reason for this is that most people need to reduce fat rather than actual pounds. While some fat is important to your body, having too much of the unnecessary amount is not healthy.

Needed fat takes care of such things as regulating your body temperature, protecting organs and tissues, and is the primary source for storing your body's energy. This is known as essential fat. The percentage of essential fat is higher in women than in men. Women need more fat than men because of childbirth demands on the body, as well as other hormonal functions. The percentage of essential fat in men is 2 percent - 5 percent. In women, the percentage is 10 percent - 13 percent. However, the recommended minimum of total body fat percentage is bit higher than the aforementioned numbers.

In order to know where you fall on the body fat charts, you will need to calculate your body fat. There are several ways to do this, from a do it yourself skin fold test, to online calculators. The skin fold test is not quite as accurate as other methods. Basically, you are pinching some skin at different body locations, which is measured. This can show the changes in body composition over time, even if it's not a totally accurate method of calculating body fat.

The Height and Circumference method is used by the U.S. Marine Corps as well as the U.S. Army. This is conducted by measuring males around the neck and waist. Hips, waist and neck are measured on females. The figures from these measurements are compared to a specific chart showing height and weight. It is used primarily due to its convenience and low cost. Another form of this method to calculate your body fat is the YMCA formula. This one employs just body weight in pounds, and waist measurement in inches.

While the above are tried and true methods of finding your body fat, there are many online calculators that do the work for you. The only information you need to know is your height, weight, and, depending on which calculator site you use, your waist and hip measurements. The site that uses the Navy method is found at http://www.bmi-calculator.net/body-fat-calculator/. This may turn out to be the easiest, and most accurate, way for you to calculate your body fat.
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