Our body is comprised of bones, organs, tissues, blood, muscles, and fat. So, whenever we talk about having too much weight that we would like to get rid of, we actually mean – extra layers of fat, not muscles. While moderate amounts of fat are essential for our health, when we have too many fat deposits in the body, especially in the abdominal parts, it can negatively impact our health and lead to serious diseases such as cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. Therefore, one of the important things to do for self-care is to check and control the volume of fat in your body. Especially, it can be useful to monitor your progress throughout your weight loss journey, when you are working hard to lose weight and get rid of stubborn fat deposits in your body.
Nowadays there are many ways you can gauge your body fat starting from simple weight and measuring tape to high-tech devices like smartwatches, and body composition measurement equipment. In this article, we will present you with all available options to calculate your body fat easily at home as well as using professional equipment and assistance.
How To Calculate Body Fat Percentage At Home
In the modern world, there are more than ever overweight and obese people and we recognize the need to control the weight issue. Nevertheless, most of us don’t want to spend lots of time and energy on body fat calculations with high precision. We just want a rough estimation of fat deposits that we can easily do with no help. Below you can find several ways of calculating body fat at home with minimum efforts and maximum results.
Body Mass Index
BMI is the easiest way to assess how well you are moving toward reducing your fat volume. With our BMI calculator, it will be even simpler. You just need to measure your weight and height and enter these numbers into the required fields, adding your age and sex. This will give you an approximation of your weight status based on the proportion of your total body mass to your height.
BMI is a widely used screening tool for measuring the weight status of people across the world. It is accessible and requires no special effort, but its accuracy is not high and it does not tell where the fat is located which is crucial for identifying the risks posed to health by fat.
Waist circumference calculation is aimed exactly at filling the gap that misses BMI: fat distribution. It is best used for measuring the fat distribution in your abdomen. For this option, you will need to take a measurement tape and tie it around the waist placing it above the belly button. It might be tempting to stop breathing when measuring your waist circumference but do not do it because it can affect the accuracy of your measurement. The tape around your waist should sit comfortably, not too tight. Also, make sure it is straight from all sides. You can take the measurement the moment you breathe out. Usually, it is good when men have a waist circumference of 40 inches or less. For women, an optimal waist measurement is less than 35 inches. If appropriately assessed, this option is believed to be very close to the results obtained by one of the most precise methods – underwater weighing which we will talk about later.
This method for calculating body fat also focuses on fat distribution and needs a little more effort than waist circumference. In addition to the waist circumference, you have to take hip circumference and look at their ratio. You divide the measurement of your waist by hip circumference. If the number you get is high- above 0.90 for males and above 0.85 for females, it means you have a significant volume of fat. You can find out it visually as well. if you look in the mirror and see your figure resembling an apple, then it is a red flag. In such cases, you should see a doctor to determine your weight status and how it affects your well-being.
Best Way To Evaluate Your Body Fat Percentage
Dr. Batash is a leading medical specialist with years of invaluable experience in obesity medicine. With the assistance of his highly competent and compassionate team of medical professionals, the doctor will help you not only precisely identify the proportion of adipose tissue in your organism but also assess the risks associated with it. Most importantly, he will design an all-encompassing weight loss program specifically for you. At the end of the day, the reason why we need to determine body fat percentage is to diminish it and track our progress in doing so. Experts at Batash Endoscopic Weight Loss can help you cut to the chase and start living a healthy life without worries about body fat calculations.
More Advanced Methods For Calculating Body Fat
You can do techniques for gauging body fat yourself at home with a good level of accuracy. However, when you need higher precision, there are also more sophisticated approaches to checking adipose tissue volume in your body. For these methods, you will need a special instrument and certain skills in order to do it right. In some cases, you will have to turn to a professional to get the calculation done.
For those who are worried about their fat volume not only in the abdomen but also in other body parts, we suggest using a caliper test. To do this measurement, you will have to buy a skinfold caliper which is an instrument for measuring how thick the object is. Their cost ranges from a couple of dollars to a couple hundred dollars. You choose the one that fits your budget.
Basically, skinfold calipers determine the depth of the subcutaneous fat layer which is simply fat located right below the skin. Identify several places on your body you want to test. For example, you can target the thighs, waist, and arms. Grip your skin with the fat at the chosen spot aiming to disentangle them from the muscles. With the touch of your fingers, you should distinguish soft fat from hard muscle. Then, measure the produced crease with skinfold calipers. To make the calculations more precise, you can take two measurements from each spot and find the middle value. After you get the numbers, you can record them to monitor the progress of your weight loss journey.
Another way, you can use skinfold calipers with Jackson-Pollock Formula which requires a higher level of precision and skills to estimate your body fat percentage. This procedure is best done by professionals.
Smart Scales And Smart Watches
In the age of technology, we cannot imagine our lives without smartphones. Everything became “smart”. Now we have smart scales and smartwatches that go beyond just giving your weight in pounds and showing you the time. Now these gadgets can approximate your body fat percentage thanks to the Biological Impedance – the ability of our body to respond to multiple electrical intensities applied externally.
The fat-free mass of the body like muscles and blood is primarily made up of water. 79% of muscles and 50% of blood is water. Because of the water contained in them, electric current can easily pass through blood and muscles. On the other hand, fat has less water, about 10%, which makes it harder for electric impulses to run through them. Both smart scales and smartwatches send electrical signals across the body and based on the speed of these signals going through the body, the fat percentage can be approximated.
This approach is quite accurate and easy to do as long as you have the smart scale or a smartwatch with a body fat feature, there are some limitations. For example, this should not be used by people who use cardiac devices like cardioverter-defibrillators and pacemakers because the electrical currents might interfere with the work of these devices.
High Precision And High-Tech Assessment Of Body Fat Percentage
The following body fat calculation methods require you to visit a specialist who has the necessary equipment and skills to conduct the measurements.
- Underwater weighing
- As its name suggests, underwater weighting is basically looking at the weight when your body including your head is below the water’s surface. You will have to hold your breath and remain still when you are immersed in water fully and measuring your weight. Since adipose tissue is less dense than muscles and bones, those with a higher percentage of body fat will float better and have less weight underwater compared to the volume of water spilled out. The calculations of body fat are based on its density and are one of the most accurate techniques. However, doing this assessment will cost you money and time.
- Air displacement
- Air displacement or Bod Pod equipment is very similar to underwater weighting since it also uses density to determine body composition. When the person gets inside the BOD POD, the air gets displaced which will help determine the volume and the density of the body. This results in highly precise measurements but finding a Bod Pod technology in your area may be not so easy.
Finally, let’s discuss the instrument that is believed to be the best in checking body composition – Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry or, shortly, DEXA. This technique measures not only fat and lean mass but also bone density. You will be lying for about 5 minutes until the scanner finishes going over your body and sending out the X-ray rays into it. You will know a lot of detailed information about the fat in your body where and how much of it you have. However, a DEXA scan can be costly for many people.