How to measure the level of fat

Percentage of fat in the body

Regular determination of the percentage of body fat is the best way to evaluate the effectiveness of a diet or fat burning workouts. The usual figure on scales and weight in kilograms can distort the real situation, because during slimming the body is inclined to replace part of the lost fat with water.

There are many methods for calculating the percentage of body fat, but most of them have an extremely high level of error. Trust is recommended only professional methods - if a cheap floor scales showed you have 2% fat, it does not mean anything.

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Perfect fat level

For men, 6-13 percent of body fat means a well-toned athletic build and a rather embossed press, 14-17% - a good physical shape with a small amount of fat in problem areas, 18-25% - medium level, higher25% - obesity.

For girls, athleticism is characterized by 14-20% body fat, good physical form - 21-24%, average fat level - 25-31%.At the same time, the level of fat below 10% is extremely dangerous for the female body and leads to the termination of the menstrual cycle.

How to calculate the percentage of fat?

Calculate the percentage of fat in the body simply - for this you need to divide the body fat in the body by the total weight. For example, if you have 10 kg of fat with a weight of 70 kg, then the percentage of fat will be 10/70 = 14.3%.However, the key difficulty is that you need to know how much fat you have.

There are several methods for determining the amount of fat in the body. Only one of them - hydrostatic weighing - is direct and shows a real figure for your body. All other methods are indirect and based on comparison of statistical data.

Methods for measuring subcutaneous fat: Hydroscopic weighing

Hydrostatic weighing. The only measurement method that shows the real figure of the body fat content. It is based on the simplest laws of physics - first the body is immersed in a bath with water( the volume of "leaked" water is equal to the volume of the body), then the volume is compared with the weight and the percentage of fat is calculated.

Electronic body analysis systems

The action of electronic systems for analyzing the body composition is based on the transmission through the tissues of very weak and safe electrical currents and the subsequent analysis of the transmission speed and the percentage of signal loss. The fatty tissue delays the signal, while water and muscles carry it almost entirely.

Note that such systems do not determine the fat content in your body, but only compare the figures with the average figures and show an approximate result. Their error depends on the number of electrode-meters, and on the temperature, the presence of food in the stomach and other factors.

Scales with body analysis

Methods for measuring fat: floor scales

The floor scales with body analysis are one of 's least accurate methods of measuring body fat content. Sending a weak current through one leg, the scales "wait" for it on the other and determine the percentage of losses. However, the resulting signal loss can be caused by a variety of reasons.

The only way to use these scales is to track the trend - let the figure lie, but it's important to increase or decrease over time. The presence of handles reduces the error and allows you to determine the fat content more accurately - however, these scales are quite expensive.
Methods for measuring fat: a scale with a handle

Measurement of fat with a caliper

The measurement method consists in measuring the fold of subcutaneous fat similar to calipers( calipers) and comparing the result with the table. The table contains a comparison of the fat fold thickness in millimeters and the approximate percentage of fat in the body.

Caliper measurements are more accurate than measurements by electronic scales, since the thickness of the fold of fat on the abdomen is directly related to the total amount of fat in the body. An important advantage of the method is the fact that the calipers can also perform the role of a caliper at home by a regular caliper. Methods for measuring fat: caliper

How to measure the fat level of a caliper?

The measurement technique for determining the fat level using a caliper is simple - it is necessary to stand up straight, find a point 10 cm to the right of the navel at a height of 3-4 cm from the edge of the projecting femur, pinch the skin and fat at this place, then measure the thickness of the clamp by a caliper.

The measurement result in millimeters and your age is compared with the table below - at the intersection there is a figure showing the predicted fat content in your body. The table also shows whether this indicator is in the high, middle or low zone.

Table for determining fat levels in men Table for determining the fat level in men

Table for determining fat levels in women
Table for determining the level of fat in women


To calculate the percentage of fat in the body, you need to know the physical mass of fat. The only direct method for determining this figure is weighing in a special bathroom, all other methods are indirect and may contain a significant error in the measurements.