What Is Body Composition?

What is body composition and why is it a better indicator of your overall health than simply looking at the scale?

You should be measuring body composition and calculating body fat percentage to distinguish between pounds that come from body fat and those that come from lean body mass or muscle.

Definition of Body Composition

For most people, a definition of body composition is simply how much body fat they are carrying. But it is also lean body tissue. Lowering body fat percentage is a worthwhile goal in weight management.

  • Body Composition: A combination of body fat and lean body tissue(usually considered to be muscle tissue

  • Essential Fat: Minimal level of body fat needed for good health, temperature regulation, protection, and use of fat soluble vitamins.

  • Non essential fat: The fat that is stored when calories taken in outnumber the calories that are burned by the body.

Healthy Body Fat Percentage
Why is Body Composition Important?

A high body fat percentage is a condition called obesity, and puts a person at risk for many serious medical conditions including:

  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • certain forms of cancer
  • gallstones
  • low sex drive
  • obesity contributes to at least half the chronic diseases

You should stop worrying so much about your scale weight. And while I am at it, forget about your BMI. Muscle weighs more than fat, so a muscular and fit person would have a high BMI.

These indicators just do not tell you the entire story about YOU. Instead, you should focus on a healthy body fat percentage.

Measuring Body Composition

measuring body composition
Here is what to know and keep in mind for measuring body composition and body fat percentage.
  • You can calculate your own body fat percentage at home using the calculator here.

  • You can also use skin fold callipers for a more accurate measurement(see picture)

  • Measure body fat regularly (once per week). If you are not losing body fat, you can then troubleshoot and change your approach

  • You want to build lean muscle, which burns calories at rest. Fat just takes up space.

  • Forget the scale. If you lose 1 pound of fat, but gain 1 pound of muscle, your weight will be the same!!

Body composition is important to your overall health and weight loss and muscle building plan. It may just be the most important factor you will consider.

So what is your body composition?

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