Body composition, the make-up of your body in regards to the proportions of fat to lean muscle, is one of the most important things to look at when working on your health.


All the time these days you hear about the issue society has with weight, how obesity is a huge and growing problem. It is undoubtedly true that this is an issue, one that has an effect on all of us. Using weight is not the best metric when focusing on this. Body composition is a much more important indicator of what is going on in your body. The issue with using measuring weight is that lean, metabolism-boosting muscle actually weighs more than fat. Therefore losing weight may actually mean that you are losing muscle mass. You could possibly even increase your body fat percentage while your weight is going down.

 

Having lean muscle is known to have a heap of benefits. This, however, does not mean that you should focus solely on having as little fat as possible. Body composition is effectively a measure of the amount of lean muscle compared to fat in your body. Keeping your body fat percentage in the healthy range for your age and gender should be the primary focus of your diet/exercise regime. Don’t focus on losing weight, focus on having the correct body composition.

 

 
Chart showing the healthy range of body fat percentages for womenChart showing the healthy range of body fat percentages for men
 

One of the most commonly used methods for checking body fat composition is called bioelectrical impedance. This is usually measured using smart scales that send electrical impulses through the soles of your feet and see how fast these impulses return. There are more accurate devices, usually found at gyms that also send impulses through your hands.

 

Other ways of measuring body composition include body fat callipers. These are devices that grab the fat around your waist and work out a percentage from that. Hydrostatic weighing, this has you weighed both in and out of water. The fat floats, so your weight will change while submerged, this is then used to calculate composition.

 

Now you know that weight is not the most important body metric to keep track of.

 


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Written by Jonathan Buckeridge

I have been succeeding at this thing we call life for about 45 minutes now. There will be some errors throughout the journey, but I'm sure it will be fun all the same. I fell over once....that was annoying.

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