Is lowering your body fat percentage your goal?

Body fat percentage is a measure of your body weight that is fat.

Dropping body fat and maintaining a certain body composition is a common fitness goal. While body fat is needed, keeping this at a healthy percentage is crucial, and this goes hand in hand with increasing lean muscle mass. A very low body fat percentage can also pose health issues such as vitamin deficiencies, heart problems and brain disorders. Achieving this balance is what gives a toned lean and slim look.

Your body comprises of essential fat, subcutaneous fats and visceral fat. Essential fat is what’s required and protects your organs. Subcutaneous fat lies underneath your skin's surface and visceral fat is found around your organs and can be dangerous as it can produce hormones and other substances which influence your health.

Body fat percentages above 32% for women and 25% for men is classified as obesity, so maintaining a body fat percentage between 25-30% for women and 15% to 24% for men is ideal.Calculating your BMI is an inaccurate measure of body fatness as it can’t effectively calculate your body composition. You will want to know for example, how much comprises of lean muscle mass and body fat. Skin-fold calipers are a decent way to measure this at home or in the gym as they measure the thickness of your skin and the underlying fat mass, giving you a fair idea of your fat percentage. Other more advanced and popular ways of measuring body fat is using a DEXA scan or Hydrostatic weighing or 3D body scanners.

How to drop fat and make progress
Once you start implementing changes in your lifestyle to drop fat, be sure to treat the number like you would a weighing scale. Use it to guide you and tweak any practices, but do not get hung up on a number as there are other cursors to indicate you are getting there. These include your energy levels, agility, toned appearance, and more. Also note that dropping weight is not the same as dropping fat percentage. A loss in bone mass or muscle mass can also lead to weight loss, but that may not have a significant effect on body fat. It is important to have a training plan and nutrition plan that is focused on reducing fat. The goal should be to burn fat and gain muscle simultaneously.

Here are some ways to target body fat percentage:

  • Incorporate high-intensity interval training, or HIIT which involves high-intensity exercise for short amounts of time. This can work to increase metabolic rate and reduce both subcutaneous fat and belly fat effectively.
  • Resistance training or strength training can help you build muscle and burn fat. This can also help raise your resting metabolic rate.
  • Focusing on not just workouts but also nutrition is a huge part of meeting your goal. You need to have a plan to meet the macros required to get you there at par with your caloric needs. Its important to meet these just right and not go over or under with your protein carbs and fat requirements. Focus on high quality fibre-rich vegetables, lean proteins and slow-digesting carbs that satiate you and benefit your overall health.
  • Keep tabs on your mental health and stress levels as this can lead you to store fat due to raised cortisol. Similarly poor sleep can disrupt any efforts you are making towards health and fitness as it raises cortisol levels and makes your hormones go out of whack.

At FitCru, you can expect guidance on how to maintain a body composition you seek in a manner that works for you.

Long lasting results involve consistency and developing new habits. Our Accountability Coaches are here for you to help you unlock a new potential encourage you to get there with a plan!

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