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Understanding Your Body Fat Percentage January 21, 2007

Posted by O.J. in Chatter, Sports & Fitness.


I’ve been regularly attending a private gym since September 2006.  I have a personal trainer who structured a challenging work-out program for me with the aim of losing body fat, toning my body, and improving my fitness. 

Last week, after completing just over 3 months of strenuous training, it came time for a fitness exam.  They tested my VO2 Max (which is the volume of oxygen you can consume while exercising at your maximum capacity), my body fat percentage, and my flexibility.  The results of my fitness exam were very satisfying; but what stood out most was my body fat percentage of 18%.  Now, I’m a pretty thin guy, and I’ve been working out religiously for the last 3-4 months.  I never expected to have so much fat in my body! Well, considering the many food articles I’ve posted on ‘The Theme’, its pretty obvious I’m not a very healthy eater…

Anyhow, I found my body fat percentage to be quite shocking, so I did a little research and decided to share the results with you.

Body fat percentage is simply the percent of fat your body contains.  If you weigh 70 kg (such as myself), then 18% means your body consists of 13 kg of body fat and 57 kg of lean body mass (bone, muscle, tissue, blood and everything else).

A certain amount of fat however is essential to bodily functions.  Fat regulates body temperature, cushions and insulates organs and tissues, and is the main form of the body’s energy storage.

So, when someone says they want to “lose weight”, they should not measure it in ‘lbs’ or ‘kgs’, but rather a loss in body fat.  In my case, rather than say I want to lose 3 or 5 kgs, a more realistic goal would be to lower my body fat percentage from 18% to 16%.  Loosing more weight than is needed means losing lean body mass (usually metabolically active muscle tissue), which is not desirable nor healthy.

The table below describes body fat ranges and their associated categories:

If you don’t attend a gym that has the proper equipement to test for body fat, then this site provides straight forward, “do-it-yourself” instructions that should help give you a rough estimate of where you stand in the table above. 

A little more of cardio and a little less of burgers and cheese-steaks should put me in the “Fitness” category. 😀



1. kinziblogs - January 24, 2007

this is a good measure…it can’t lie! But one has to be careful on both ends: when I was an avid body-builder, my body fat level dropped to 15%, which is not good for girls at all. It is easy to slip into anorexia and all it ‘fitness’.

2. Cinderella - January 28, 2007

I was 22% two years ago and have been dedicated to the gym ever since. So, i’m assuming i’m in the ‘Athlete’ catagory now 😀 I should be having a test sometime soon to confirm this, and when i do, i’ll be sure to let you know 😉

3. Mazz - February 26, 2007

i remember when i was in my first year of uni…ahhh the good old “healthy days” when i increased my weight about 12 kilos and moved from 14% bodyfat to 7% in three months or less even!
yeah i was a nut job! lived a the gym and ate like a pig! that’s what you get !i was severely underweight to begin with! when i was done i looked fit!
which reminds me, i should join a gym soon!

4. smoke dope - October 10, 2007

i smoke alot of dope munch out and work out and play lots of sports an i have a 11 %

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