This body fat calculator is a tool designed to help you estimate the percentage of body fat in your total body weight. If you ever wondered what is your body fat percentage, this is a perfect place to find out. We will explain to you in detail not only what is the importance of this information, but also how to calculate the body fat (including some alternative methods for measuring it) and give you some general guidelines regarding reducing your body fat.
What is body fat?
It is actually adipose tissue; its main function is to store energy in the form of lipids, but it cushions and insulates your body, too. Your body stores two types of fat: essential and storage body fat. The former is necessary to support life and reproductive functions. Essential body fat is substantially higher for women because of childbearing and hormonal functions. Storage body fat is the mass of additional accumulated fat. It does not mean that this type of body fat is unnecessary, though – part of it protects your abdomen and internal organs.
How to calculate body fat
You can estimate your body fat with our body fat percentage calculator. Remember that no calculator, however complicated, can replace a visit in a doctor’s office. You should treat this result as a rough estimate; it can only tell you if your body fat percentage is drastically too high, but there’s no reason to panic if the result differs just slightly from the recommended value.
To calculate the body fat percentage, you need to take the following measurements:
- Weight: simply weigh yourself. You will get the most accurate result weighing yourself in the morning, before breakfast, and without clothes on.
- Waist: your waist is the narrowest part of your torso. The measuring tape you bring around your waist should sit tightly, but it shouldn’t “dig” into your skin. Don’t pull your stomach in, either.
- Forearm: the forearm circumference is only needed to calculate the body fat of women. Put your tape around the thickest part of your forearm (close to your elbow).
- Wrist: wrap a measuring tape around your wrist in the fullest part. Again, this measurement is not required for men.
- Hip: you measure your hips it the widest point below your waist. Remember to remove your clothing and to keep your feet together so that the measurement is as accurate as possible. Men don’t need this measurement either for calculating the body fat percentage.
Is my body fat percentage normal?
Once you calculated your body fat percentage, you should compare it with the recommended values. The list below comes from the American Council on Exercise and shows the average percentages in specified groups.
- Essential fat: 10–13% (women), 2–5% (men)
- Athletes: 14–20% (women), 6–13% (men)
- Fitness: 21–24% (women), 14-17% (men)
- Average: 25–31% (women), 18–24% (men)
- Obese: 32%+ (women), 25%+ (men)
The chart below shows the average body fat percentages of Americans from samples from 1999–2004. It is taken from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey