How to calculate body fat percentage loss
Calculating body fat percentage loss is an essential metric for tracking your fitness progress, ensuring that you’re losing fat rather than muscle. This comprehensive guide will help you understand the importance of measuring body fat percentage, teach you different ways to measure it, and explain how to calculate your body fat percentage loss over time.
The Importance of Measuring Body Fat Percentage
Body weight alone is not a reliable indicator of overall health or fitness progress. Body composition, which includes body fat and lean mass such as muscles and bones, is crucial when evaluating your health and monitoring changes in response to your diet or exercise program.
By calculating your body fat percentage loss, you can accurately track your fitness improvement and the impact of lifestyle changes. Moreover, it helps motivate you as you see tangible results that go beyond just losing weight.
Ways to Measure Body Fat Percentage
There are multiple methods, varying in accuracy and accessibility, for measuring body fat percentages, including:
1. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA): Found in some modern scales and handheld devices, BIA sends a small electrical current through the body to determine its impedance. The device then estimates body fat percentage based on this data.
2. Skinfold Caliper: A cost-effective tool used by many fitness professionals to measure skinfold thickness at different body sites. The sum of these measurements is used with an appropriate equation to estimate body fat percentage.
3. Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA): An expensive but highly accurate method that uses low-dose x-rays to measure bone density, lean mass, and fat mass.
4. Hydrostatic Weighing: Also known as underwater weighing; hydrostatic weighing compares the subject’s weight underwater to their weight on land. The difference is used to calculate body density and determine body fat percentage.
5. Air Displacement Plethysmography (Bod Pod): Similar to hydrostatic weighing, but uses air displacement instead of water displacement. Subject sits inside a chamber that measures body volume, which is used alongside body weight to calculate body density and fat percentage.
Calculating Body Fat Percentage Loss
Once you have accurate initial and updated measurements of your body fat percentage, you can calculate the loss by following these simple steps:
1. Find the starting body fat percentage (BF_initial).
2. Find the current body fat percentage (BF_current).
3. Subtract BF_current from BF_initial: Body Fat Percentage Loss = BF_initial – BF_current.
4. To find the percentage change, divide the body fat percentage loss by BF_initial and multiply by 100: Percentage Change = (Body Fat Percentage Loss / BF_initial) × 100.
Initial body fat percentage: 30%
Current body fat percentage: 25%
Body fat percentage loss = 30% – 25% = 5%
Percentage Change = (5% / 30%) × 100 = 16.67%
Monitoring body fat percentage loss is key to accurately tracking fitness progress and understanding how your body is responding to your diet and exercise plan. By utilizing reliable methods for measuring body fat percentages and calculating changes over time, you can maintain a data-driven approach to reaching your fitness goals.