Knowing your body fat percentage is extremely important information you need in order to attain your goals. Armed with your true body fat percentage, you will know if you are considered "healthy" or...well, fat. Knowing whether you are gaining or losing fat, or muscle, will tell you if you are exercising and eating right.. The higher your fat mass the harder your entire body has to work - for everything.
High body fat forces your heart (and other bodily functions) to work much harder than it should. If you have never "conditioned" your heart (the fact that you are asking yourself what that means indicates you have never conditioned your heart...) you could be putting yourself at risk. Keep your body fat under 20% and your body will thank you.
Review the "Body Fat Chart" in order to see what percentage is healthy for your age.
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. Following is the only method to check your body fat through a Web site. Yet, it's the "least" accurate method and can be off by as much as 10%.
Simply enter the information for each field, then click on "Calculate" in the following calculator.
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 method your body knows how to store is to create fat cells.
Stop your body from storing! Know how many Calories you eat daily and how many Calories you burn daily. How? With the Garrison Body proprietary Calorie Calculator. After many years of studying and testing, the Garrison Body Calorie Calculator is highly accurate and provides calculations for: total daily Calories; total daily expenditures (burning Calories); whether you are over or under the number of Calories you required for that day; Calorie expenditure per activity based upon your weight.
With that information you simply need to adjust your daily routine and diet in order to attain your goals.
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. But you can change how much you eat daily and your activities in order to get healthy.
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. It's extremely important to know your body fat percentage before you make any changes. Armed with that knowledge you know if you eat too little, too much and how much activity you need daily.
A scale weight tells you nothing! You only see that your weight is "X", which is a combination of fat and muscle. You don't know how much of that weight is muscle or how much is fat.
What "YOU" need to know is, how many Calories you burn daily so you know how much you are "supposed" to eat. Once you know that and apply that information, 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.
Become a member and use our "GB CalCalc" to know how many Calories you burn and how many you need to eat daily. 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."
That's NOT "saggy skin"! It is actually. FAT! It's the fat that you were attempting to lose.
There is no such thing as "saggy skin". Skin doesn't "sag". You have fat and muscle (lean mass which you want) - and of course bones along with other organs. The more muscle you lose the more fat ("saggy skin") you have. If you have the "proper" amount of fat, you look great! Your "fat" doesn't sag.
The "cause" of that "sag" is loss of muscle. That's right. Your body "ate" muscle because you weren't eating properly. Like it or not, your body will do whatever it must in order to survive. So if you aren't feeding it correctly, it will eat the protein it requires from muscle.
If you lose a lot of muscle and very little (or no) fat, then you get that "saggy skin" look which is simply the fat you already had. But since you didn't eat right and your body ate some of your muscle, you have less muscle to support the fat and it "sags". The muscle was eaten away by your own body in order for your body to "try" and provide itself enough protein for the muscles.
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 describing how their "theory" specifically reduces fat and builds muscle according to scientific, well-known research. You hear general terms, or how some doctor endorsed that "diet". They know what the general public wants to hear, so that's what they tell / sell you. Garrison Body wants you to hear and know the truth, so we call fat "fat"...not "weight". Weight is the total of your muscle and fat combined - which is what you see in the numbers from your scale weight.
Be careful when you see a doctor has endorsed something. The vast majority of "general practitioners" 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 ever 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 the combination of fat, muscle and everything within your body.
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 (over) depending on the amount of muscle you have. If you want a good method to check your body fat percentage, use skin calipers. Better yet, check with your local hospital and find out if they have a "dunk tank" which is the most accurate method of testing your body fat percentage. Scales use the "Body Mass Index" (BMI) to calculate fat. That method is one of the LEAST accurate methods of measuring fat because BMI does not consider lean mass. If you have added some lean mass (muscle) over the years through resistance training, that will change your BMI. BMI is based upon your height, weight and bone size. None of that tells you how much lean mass you have.
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. If "any" of those diet plans worked, people wouldn't be constantly looking for "another" diet plan. Get your answers here at Garrison Body where we provide the information, recommend meals, share recipes and videos so that you do all the work the "right" way.
You can't force, entice, "trick" or otherwise make your body change the way it works. Either learn how your body works in order to attain your goals, or follow Garrison Body.
Here is where you begin:
Step 1 - know your current activity level (how many Calories you burnd daily)
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.
- The more times per day you eat, the more you increase your metabolism. A higher metabolism burns more Calories. More muscle burns more Calories, and faster.
- Eating during a 9 hour window only will allow your body to absorb, digest and burn more efficiently. That means, you will burn more fat faster.
- Train your body to burn fat for energy instead of only the food you eat and possibly the muscle you worked so hard to gain.
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. Your body needs to "stabilize" before it's willing to "give up" the fat. Don't be surprised if you don't see results for several weeks. After all. How long has it been since you had regular exercise?
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 BMI calculator falls under the last method - not very accurate. Then why is it available in Garrison Body? 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%) and usually found at your local hospital
- skin calipers (accurate to within 3% if used properly) and you can purchase them on line for about $25.
To measure your body fat in the dunk tank you'll have to go to (or call) 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 $25. Or, you can go to a local gym and ask them to measure your body fat using skin calipers. Be specific or they will have you use another electronic tool that uses BMI.
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.
Measure Body Fat Accurately at Home
We recommend you purchase a set of skin calipers to measure body fat at 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 10% on the high side. But at the very least, you have an "idea" of your fat to lean mass ratio.