Knowing your body fat percentage is the the third most important bit of information you need in order to attain your goals. Armed with your true body fat percentage, you will know how much of your body is fat and how much is lean mass. This is important so you know whether you are gaining or losing fat, or muscle.
Review the "Body Fat Charts" in order to see what percentage is healthy for your age.
Simply enter the information for each field, then click on "Calculate" in the following calculator.
Please note: It's impossible to measure your body fat accurately without personal contact. But we can put together steps 1, 2 and 3 for you.
For men, if you select "Male" to begin, you will not be able to enter anything in the "Hips" field - because that's not an area of measuring male body fat. Males have 3 areas to measure. Females have 4 areas to measure.
Can I hire Garrison Body to put this all together for me? Yes! Click Here.
Why Do I Need to Know?
If you do not know, you're probably gaining fat. Worse, your health is suffering not only from fat but due to the lack of nutrition.
The more fat you have in your body the harder all of your organs have to work in order to sustain life.
There is no specific number for any age stating that you are "at risk" for negative impact to your health. Each person is different. Anything less than "Excellent" puts you at risk, and the higher your body fat the higher your risk.
There is no way to know how high your specific body fat can be before your body begins to show obvious signs of declining health. The answer to the question, then, is, "What you don't know will hurt you!"
The one crucial organ that is effected by body fat is your heart. High cholesterol usually goes along with high body fat and leads to heart failure (among other things) if ignored.
High fat and cholesterol make it more difficult for blood to get through your arteries and veins. The more plaque build up (due to fats), the harder your heart has to work. The harder your heart has to work, the more "at risk" you are for a heart attack or other physical ailments.
How is that possible?!
Your body is "designed" to survive. In whatever circumstances, your body does what "it" feels is necessary in order to survive.
- Too many Calories, your body stores.
- Not enough Calories, your body stores.
- There is only 1 way your body knows how to survive - store.
- The only way your body knows how to store is to add more fat.
Stop your body from storing! Know how many Calories you eat daily and how many Calories you burn daily.
Regardless of the quality of food you eat, it still comes down to Calories in and Calories out. Until you learn that, your body will just create fat.
Still not convinced?
Do whatever you want. Follow whatever horrid "diet" book or plan you want. But you cannot change the way your body works. No matter what you have heard or read, you will not change the way the human body functions. Period.
The number 1 reason "diet" books and plans don't work is because the authors are not concerned with whether you are burning fat or lean mass. All they want to prove is that your weight and size change - are reduced - and you pay for their "theory". Usually those "diets" leave you in a less healthy state then when you started. Although your body "looks" different, your body composition changed and you become convinced that the "diet" worked. Check your lean mass to fat mass ratio before and after any of those "diets" to see the truth.
A weight scale tells you nothing! You only see that your weight is "X". You don't know how much of that weight is muscle and how much is fat.
How do you know your body fat percentage? How do you know if what little muscle you "had" is reduced due to that new diet plan? You don't!
What "YOU" need to know is, how many Calories you burn daily. Once you know that you then need to know how many Calories you must eat in order that your body will not store (make fat).
After you know all of that, you can begin to exercise - begin to work on lowering your body fat percentage, getting stronger and have a better range of motion. If you do not know that information, you don't know if you are making yourself more healthy or less healthy.
Use our FREE "GB CalCalc" to know how many Calories you burn and how many you need to eat. That is the best place to start.
Why does Garrison Body use the term "fat" instead of "weight"?
You know that "saggy skin" to which you refer? That's what usually happens with those "diet" books or plans. So often I hear people say, "Look at all the weight I lost on that diet! Now I just need to get rid of this saggy skin."
Guess what that "saggy skin" is actually. FAT!
There is no such thing as "saggy skin". Skin doesn't "sag". You have fat and muscle (lean mass which you want). And the more muscle you lose, the more fat ("saggy skin") you have. If you have the "proper" amount of fat, you look great! If you lose a lot of muscle and very little (or no) fat, then you get that "saggy skin" which is simply the fat you had, but since you have less muscle it now "sags".
When you lose muscle - and not much fat - the fat simply hangs or sags because there is not enough muscle left to provide structure for the fat.
Garrison Body wants you to learn that "shedding pounds", "losing weight", "dropping size", are all terms that you hear from those trying to sell you their "plan". Read any "diet" book or plan carefully and you will never see anything describe how their "theory" specifically reduces fat and builds muscle according to scientific, well-known research.. You hear general terms. Or are told some doctor endorsed that "diet". They know what the general public wants to hear, so that's what they tell / sell you.
Be careful when you see a doctor has endorsed something. The vast majority of physicians have very little training in health and nutrition. They understand illnesses and (generally) how to treat them. Ask your general practitioner how much training in health and nutrition he / she has had the next time you have a chance. The usual response? "Less than 2 weeks of training."
Garrison Body wants you to understand that the only thing you want to lose is fat - regardless of the type of exercise and goal(s) you have. We don't mix the terms "weight" and "fat". Fat is "fat". Weight is simply a number seen when you step on a scale which combines fat and muscle. That device doesn't differentiate between fat and muscle.
There are scales that boast about providing body fat percentage when stepping on the scale. But the calculations used to determine fat to lean mass on a scale for your home is, to say the least, less than accurate. They can be anywhere from 3% to 10% off depending on the amount of muscle you have. If you want a good method to check your body fat percentage, use skin calipers.
Eating and burning Calories daily is only simple once you learn how. But expecting a "diet" book or plan to do it all for you is never going to work.
Every "diet" book or plan is simply a really wrong method of how you should eat daily. Those "diets" may eliminate a lot of lean mass (muscle) and very little fat - which is the only thing you want to lose in the first place.
You can't force, entice, "trick" or otherwise make your body change the way it works. Either learn how your body works or follow Garrison Body.
Here is where you begin:
Step 1 - know your current activity level
Step 3 - calculate your current body fat (above) - are you losing fat or muscle? Do this at least once a month.
Step 4 - put all of that information together and create a diet - including a daily activity plan - that is specific to you and your goals.
Remember this. A "diet" is not something you do once in a while. A diet is how you eat daily - every day - year in and year out.
If you are a "do it yourself" type of person, then use the calculators and information in Garrison Body to know and understand your needs. Calculate the number of Calories you burn daily and the calculator will tell you how many Calories you need to eat daily. Divide the number of Calories you need daily by the number of times you will be comfortable eating. We suggest 4 to 5 meals in order to get all of your Calories. At a minimum, never eat less than 3 meals per day, and your total Calories daily needs to be more than 1,500 - regardless of who you are and what you do daily.
The more times per day you eat, the more you increase your metabolism. A higher metabolism burns Calories more efficiently. More muscle burns more Calories, and faster.
You should also note that it can take up to 8 weeks of eating correctly before your body will "allow" you to burn fat as its primary source of energy in order to reduce your body fat. Your body needs to "stabilize" before it's willing to "give up" the fat.
If you just get confused over all of this, let Garrison Body help you. Take a look at our Services.
Charts and Calculators
A body fat percentage chart is a great tool for more than just an indication of your health and nutrition status. However, a body fat chart won't tell you how to measure yourself in order to use the chart.
In addition to body fat charts we've included a "Body Fat Calculator" for you. Both can be found at the top of this page.
How accurate is the calculator? Honestly? There are 2 accurate methods and a third method that's easily 10% high. The calculator (above) falls under the last method - not very accurate. Why? We wanted to provide "something" to get you started. But we also want you to know that there are better methods which are impossible to provide via the Internet.
The 2 accurate methods (in order of accuracy) are:
- dunk tank (accurate to within 1%)
- skin calipers (accurate to within 3% if used properly)
To measure your body fat in the dunk tank you'll have to go to your local hospital and ask if they have a dunk tank (as well as ask what they will charge).
The skin calipers you can purchase many places for about $20. Or, you can go to a local gym and ask them to measure your body fat using skin calipers.
Be aware that gym personnel will probably tell you they can more easily use the bio-feedback method (a hand-held electronic device). DO NOT use that method! That's no better than using the simple calculator we have here (above). It simply measures the speed of a small electrical current flowing through your body from the device.
Body Mass Index - BMI
Basically, that means a "starting place" to determine your fat mass to lean mass ratio. At some point in time, there was the "theory" that using body measurements would be "accurate enough" for measuring body fat. BMI is used in the calculations of the body fat calculator (above).
However, the more lean mass (muscle) you have the "less" accurate the results of BMI. BMI does not take muscle into consideration. It can't! There is no way to determine body fat or muscle when you are simply taking measurements of the external body. Yet - doctors and most of the medical industry - seem to think it's a great tool.
In defense of the BMI, it's design is for those who do not have much muscle. For those, it's fairly accurate.
For those of us who have worked out a lot, we have created a great deal of muscle mass. Therefore, the BMI is very inaccurate for us. It takes our measurements and spits out an outcome of "Obese" because of our weight and size - "assuming" we are simply fat.
You should also note that the "average" physician has less than 1 week of health and nutrition training in their entire medical school and internship training. So the next time you feel you should ask your general practitioner about health or nutrition, don't!
Measure Body Fat Accurately at Home
We recommend you purchase a set of skin calipers to measure body fat much more accurately. You can use skin calipers in the privacy of your home. Even a novice will get good results.
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to use the skin calipers. The only thing you need to remember is that you do not want to attempt to measure the same places within about 5 minutes of the last measurement. It takes a few minutes for the body to return to normal after you "pinch" with the skin calipers.
All of that aside, feel free to use the "Body Fat Calculator" (above) so you can get an idea of your current body fat. If you have done exercise to increase your lean mass (muscle), your results could be as far off as 15% on the high side. But at the very least, you have an "idea" of your fat to lean mass ratio.