Updated: Our new Body Fat Calculator 2.0 can do many useful calculations including Body Fat Percentage, LBM (Lean Body Mass), FBM (Fat Body Mass) and many other body fat classification parameters fast and easily.
Looking great takes hard work… however, we do have access to the most useful tools nowadays, which makes everything so much simpler and stress-free (Very little thinking required).
This body fat calculator can do nearly all calculations (Body composition calculations and estimations) except for the physical and mental aspect of achieving your ideal body composition.
Now, each person will have to find the method of measurement which works for them, considering we all have different shapes and sizes. But… learning your Body Mass Index, lean mass and fat mass percentages will help you get to a healthy size and weight if you’re not quite there yet.
It’s always good to have the edge when it comes to achieving your ideal physique, and the simplicity of a calculator at your fingertips makes this entirely possible…
How Does the Body Fat Calculator Work?
The Body Fat calculator can be used in so many ways depending on how you decide to measure your body Fat (Tools or no tools). Also, you can either choose the Imperial (Inches, pounds) or metric (centimeters, millimeters, kilograms) system for your method of measurement.
There are seven methods of measurement which you can use for the body fat calculator.
These seven methods are:
- Heritage BMI
- Covert Bailey Method
- US Navy Method
- YMCA Formula
- Jackson/Pollock 3-Site Caliper
- Jackson/Pollock 4-Site Caliper
- Jackson/Pollock 7-Site Caliper
The three options of measuring body fat are:
- Without any tools
- Measuring Tape
- Body Fat Caliper
Without tools (Tape, caliper) – The method used here is very simple but the least accurate. Your height, age, and weight are measured here to get an estimate of your body fat percentage.
Measuring Tape – If you use a tape measure, you have several methods to choose how you’ll measure your body fat. These methods are Covert Bailey Method, US Navy Method, Heritage BMI, and YMCA.
Body Fat Caliper – The three methods to measure with a caliper are: Jackson/Pollock 3-Site Caliper, Jackson/Pollock 4-Site Caliper, and Jackson/Pollock 7-Site Caliper.
Body Fat Percentage Chart
|Women (% fat)|| Men (% fat)|
|Essential Fat||10-12%|| 2-4%|
|Obese||32% plus||25% plus|
Note: For people with active lifestyle such as professional athletes have a particular minimum percentage of body fat as the training goal.
How do the 7 different Methods of Measurement work?
Each method requires a different way of measuring body fat (Various body parts). Gender, height, age, and weight are required by default for all methods.
Heritage BMI – Gender, height, age, and weight
Covert Bailey Method – Hips, wrist, waist, forearm
US Navy method – Waist, neck
YMCA – Waist
Body Fat Caliper
Jackson/Pollock 3-Site Caliper – Thigh, chest, abdominal
Jackson/Pollock 4-Site Caliper – Thigh, abdominal, tricep and Suprailiac
Jackson/Pollock 7-Site Caliper – Thigh, chest, abdominal, tricep, subscapular, suprailiac and axilla.
What Is the Best Time to Take Your Measurements?
For the very reasons we weigh ourselves in the morning; taking measurements in a similar manner would only make sense. This way your stomach is empty and the measurements will be more consistent due to less chance of weight fluctuation.
How to Take Your Measurements
Without a Tool
Ok, so obviously if you don’t have any tools, you’ll just weight yourself, measure your height, then simply punch the numbers in. You’ll then get an estimate of your body fat percentage, along with your Body Mass Index, fat body mass and lean body mass percentages as well.
Depending on whether you’re male or female, the calculator will give you the required measurements site/s, (Hips, thighs, forearms etc). Use a cloth measuring tape (Not an elastic one) because it will properly form to the circumference of each body part.
- For example: To measure your waist, simply wrap the tape around the largest part of your stomach (Belly button area).
- For your measurements, you’ll basically wrap the tape around the largest area for the required body parts but it may be easier to have someone do it for you to be as accurate as possible (Recommended).
The best (Most accurate) method so far, the caliper is used by pinching folds of skin and entering the measurements into the calculator which generates an estimated body fat percentage.
Now, it’s best to have someone who knows how to use a caliper, do the measuring to get the most accurate results.
You’ll simply choose your method of measurement (either one of the Jackson/Pollock site methods), measure your skin folds, and then enter the numbers. Then you’ll get your body fat, BMI, LBM, and FBM.
How to Best Use the Caliper for measuring the body fat of each required area of the body?
Since tape measurements are pretty simple and straightforward, we will move on to describe the best way to pinch folds of skin with a caliper (Might be a little uncomfortable). Have a professional do this if possible for best accuracy.
Using a caliper can be challenging for some people due to different body types and skin elasticity (Yes, these are factors which vary from each individual).
So, here are a few examples of how to find and pinch the ideal folds of skin for accuracy during measurement taking.
Chest – Pinch a diagonal fold of skin between your right nipple and where your armpit starts (Diagonally) and measure with the caliper this way.
Thigh – Pinch a vertical fold of skin on your quadriceps between your hip and knee then use the caliper to measure.
Abdominal – Pinch a vertical fold of skin a few inches to the right of your belly button for a good abdominal measurement.
Suprailiac – Pinch a diagonal fold of skin above the Iliac Crest (Hip bones) to measure with the caliper.
Tricep – Choose the meatiest part of the Tricep to measure
Hopefully, the person helping you measure your body fat will have experience with finding the best possible areas for precise measurements. However, if you decide to do it yourself, make sure you are aware of how to use your caliper since there are several different types.
Why Should You Know Your Body Fat Percentage?
Your specific reason for calculating your body fat percentage may be different from the next person; however, the end result applies to everyone, whether you have too much body fat or too little. The body fat calculator is a tool which helps you to make adjustments to your body composition effectively.
Obesity comes with the potential issues of heart disease, sleep apnea, diabetes etc. but your body shape and family history may contribute to your chances of developing one of these problems. (1)
If you’ve got too little body fat, the health concerns are just as serious because you can suffer from nutrient deficiencies, fluid imbalance, illnesses, and not to mention every bodily function will be at severe risk of improper functioning. (2)
For men, 15 -20% body fat is considered healthy, and for women, it’s around 20-25%. (2)
This is stuff you want to know if you desire longevity and/or you just want to look as aesthetically pleasing as possible…
What Is the Difference In Measuring Body Fat Between Men and Women?
Well, since the calculator tells you what body parts need to be measured based on gender, it’s not entirely important, however, there is a difference…
This is because men and women carry different amounts of body fat in certain areas (On average) when in comparison. (3)
Here is a useful chart you can use to determine where you stand with your body fat percentage…
|Body Fat Percentage|
|Essential Fat||2-5 %||10-13%|
|Obese||over 25%||over 32%|
It’s important to be in a healthy range but if you’re not, a lifestyle change will be necessary to bring you within a desirable range.
How to Get Within a Healthy Range of Body Fat…
Lose body fat
If you’re above a healthy body fat percentage, then the healthiest way to lose excess body fat is to exercise and focus on a healthy diet.
Combine resistance training and aerobic activity for best results
Resistance training combined with aerobic activity will result in more fat loss and a healthier BMI rather than just choosing one or the other. (4)
Build more muscle, which burns more fat…
Lean muscle burns more calories than body fat even at rest. This is a great reason to consider a hypertrophy training program. Join a gym or strength train at home if possible because you’d be missing out on all the great benefits by leaving out the resistance training (5).
Watch the number of calories you consume
Weight gain is caused by consuming excess calories. Be mindful of how much food you’re eating per day. If you’re gaining weight, cut down on your portions. This is where healthier, more natural foods are great choices because a lot of times they contain fewer calories than the typical “calorie-stuffed” processed foods.
Gain body fat
If you’re below a healthy body fat percentage, you’ll need to start eating more nutrient and calorically dense foods. This doesn’t mean you should eat junk food all day but calorically dense foods should be a part of your diet.
Nutritious and calorically dense foods include:
- Lean meats (beef, chicken, salmon)
- Potatoes/sweet potatoes
- Protein shakes
- Low-fat yogurt
- Oils (Coconut/Olive, etc.)
These are some of the foods you can eat more of, and more frequently, to put on some healthy weight. Too little body fat is not good for the human body to function, so aim to gain around one pound to one and a half pounds per week if you fall below a healthy body fat percentage range. There are some great calorie calculators you can use as well, which can help you consistently gain more body weight. It’s important to eat frequently so that you get enough nutrition throughout the day (Cannot be stressed enough). (6)
No more low-calorie foods!
What is Lean Body Mass?
Lean mass is calculated by your Weight – (Weight x body fat). Lean mass includes everything except body fat (Fat-free mass basically).
What Is Fat Body Mass?
Your fat mass is calculated by your weight x body fat percentage. Your fat mass percentage is the amount of body fat in comparison to your lean mass.
Psychological Factors Which Can Affect Body fat levels
Chronic social stress, due to lifestyle factors like relationships, jobs, and low self-esteem, is associated with obesity and other illnesses. Excessive stress promotes fat storage within visceral depots, and this increases the risk of diseases like type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. (7)
It’s very important to manage your stress levels to keep off the extra body fat which can accumulate over time and cause obesity.
You have to take control of your life and manage stress through lifestyle changes.
- Talking to someone about your issues
- Eating plant-rich foods
Making these lifestyle changes a habit will reduce your day to day stresses to help you get to a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) and become healthier overall. (8)
Simplify How You Measure Your Body Fat
The accuracy of your body fat percentage will depend on the method you choose. Using no tools will give you the least accurate estimate (Least effort) and using a measuring tape can be inaccurate due to each person’s amount of muscle mass (Muscle can make body parts larger without carrying extra body fat).
Like mentioned previously, a caliper is a much more accurate method in measuring body fat. However, it can be difficult to do by yourself, which is why choosing to have a professional take your measurements is a good idea.
So the question is… how accurate do you want to be?
If you’re within a healthy body fat percentage range, then a good job so far. However, if you’re too low, follow the points mentioned about diet choices. If you’ve gained too much body fat, then follow a healthy, reduced-calorie diet and start to incorporate resistance training with aerobic activity.
Well, there you have it… you can calculate your body fat percentage, find out what your Body Mass Index is, and get an idea of your fat/lean mass with the use of our “Body Fat Calculator”.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What should my body fat percentage be?
It varies but in general, a healthy range for women is anywhere from 14-33% and for men, it’s 8-25%.
Can you have 0% body fat?
No, you wouldn’t be alive. Men need a minimum of 2-5% fat while women need 10-13% fat to maintain basic health functions.
Can a fat person get abs?
The short answer is yes, they can get abs but they’re less likely to see their abs than someone with less body fat. For visible abs, men should ideally be between 6%-18% body fat while women may need to have 14%-24%.
What body fat percentage is ideal for visible abs?
Typically, women should have 14% to 24% body fat and men should have 6% to 18% body fat for visible abs.