Body Fat vs. Lean Mass
As long as there has been the concern for health there has been controversy over dimensions of a healthy body, body composition, and what is considered fat. In order that you have the facts correct, and regardless of whether you wish to refute the facts, here they are.
- "Dimensions" are the measurements of your body. Using a cloth tape measure, or any other accurate measuring device, wrapping the measuring device around the circumference of a body part (i.e. leg; arm; abdomen; chest; neck; etc.) will provide a dimensional measurement. But it will not tell you the fat to lean ratio of your body.
- Skin is the protective layer around your body. Skin has 3 layers - the epidermis (approx. 1.5mm thick), dermis (approx. 3.0mm thick) and subcutaneous tissue. The subcutaneous tissue is made of up of 2 componenets, the actual fatty layer, or panniculus adiposus, and a deeper vestigial layer of muscle, the panniculus camosus.
- Fat, panniculus adiposus (more commonly and politically correctly referred to as adipose tissue), is what you least want on your body.
- Muscle, or "lean mass" (panniculus camosus), is what you most want on your body.
- To say that the 'sagging' areas of your body, or the unsightly portions of your legs, abdomen, gluteus maximus, or back of your arm (tricep) is "just skin" is a lie. If you call it anything but fat or panniculus adiposus/adipose tissue, you are simply trying to make yourself feel better. That will not help you in your plight to become more fit and healthy. Be honest with yourself.
- Garrison Body is not here to help you "gloss over" the facts. We are here to inform you, teach you, and train you to become a more healthy, happy individual. You will do that by knowing fat from muscle and learning how to differentiate.
- 18% to 23% body fat is considered "normal" for males. However, these figures vary with age. It's acceptable for older males to exceed 20% and be considered healthy. Over 25% at any age is considered obese.
- 25% to 30% body fat is considered "normal" for females. However, these figures vary with age. It's acceptable for older females to exceed 27% and be considered healthy. Over 30% at any age is considered obese.
- A body weight scale (call it what you wish) will ONLY tell you a total body weight - it will NOT tell you if you are fat. Using a professional who is well-versed at using skin-fold calipers, or, paying to be dunked into a "dunk tank" (most often found at your local hospital) are the only accurate methods of calculating body fat vs. lean mass. There are many other methods, and some would have you believe they are accurate. However, bio feedback impulses, BMI scales, tape measuring and all the other methods are highly inaccurate. The most common, BMI (body mass index) DOES NOT take into consideration those who have a higher than average amount of muscle. BMI is one of the 'least' accurate methods of measuring your body fat. Forget the scale if you are doing anything other than checking to see how much your 'overall' body weight changes. The scale will never tell you if you are losing or gaining fat.
- Losing weight does NOT mean you are losing fat. In fact, most often people simply watching the scale weight are losing the necessary lean mass (muscle) they actually need to keep and they are INCREASING their body fat. If you burn muscle and not fat that means you'll have 'more' fat than muscle. Therefore, you will increase your body fat.
Let's be clear and honest. You are not trying to lose "weight". You want to lose body fat. Unless you are clear in your goal your success is destined for failure. The reason body fat is such a priority is because if you do not know how to burn body fat you will be burning muscle - the muscle you want to keep in order to look great and be healthy.
Body Analysis Charts and Calculators
Below you will find a great list of body analysis charts and calculators. Using them will allow you to more efficiently and scientifically assess and administrate your exercise routine - regardless of what that means to you. Please be sure to read the information explaining any of the charts or calculators. Because these are all administered via this Web site and not person-to-person, the accuracy of some information may vary. However, Garrison Body has gone to great lengths to provide the most accurate information and calculators available for you without one-on-one contact.
- Heart Rate Calculator
- The heart rate calculator will calculate the heart rate at which you burn the most fat. Armed with this number you will know when your body is burning fat most efficiently.
- Calorie Expenditure Chart
- This chart will show you how many calories the most common forms of daily activities burn based upon your body weight. Combine this information with the total calories you consume daily to organize a healthy diet for your body.
- Calorie Expenditure Calculator
- This calculator is a great way to calculate how many calories per day that you burn. Selecting specific activities combined with your weight and duration of the activity you will know the number of calories burned for that activity.
- Calorie Expenditure vs. Calorie Consumption Calculator
- Using this calculator you can quickly see if the calories you ate for a day were too little, too high or just right.
- Body Fat Chart
- Review the body fat chart to see what a "healthy" range is for body fat at your age.
- Body Fat Calculator
- The body fat calculator will calculate your approximate body fat to lean mass ratio. One of the most precise methods is the "dunk tank" where you are placed into a tank of water to see how much water you displace. What we provide with our free calculator will be only an approximation since the value could be anywhere from 3% to 11% over if you have done any muscle building in recent years. For the "average" person you should find this accurate within 5%.
- Percentage of Protein, Carbohydrate and Fat Mandates
- This chart will help you find the percentage of protein, carbohydrates and fat you should be consuming daily. Your goal is 11% to 13% protein, 60% to 65% carbohydrates, and 22% to 29% fats (perferrably un-saturated fats).
- Q: Body fat is burned most efficiently during what form of exercise?
- A: Any! As long as your heart rate is 60-65%.
- Body fat is used as energy when the heart rate is no higher than 65% of your maximum heart rate. Therefore, it makes no difference what exercise you perform as long as your heart rate is under 65%. Body fat is the best fuel for energy if you know how to get the body to use fat as fuel. The key is to monitor your heart rate. Use our "Heart Rate Calculator" to begin execising more efficiently.
- Q: What simple exercise will burn fat fast?
- A: Walking!
- Your heart rate is generally lower when you are walking than during any other form of exercise. Walking is also the easiest and one of the most efficient ways to burn fat. You don't need any equipment to walk, and you can do it any time, anywhere.
You may wish to review this site for body fat tests where you will find the results of various methods of testing body fat. In brief, the results prove that the most accurate and least expensive methods for testing body fat are:
- Tape Measure - girth measurement - no cost
- "Bod Pod" - measures air displacement - $40. to $65.
- Hydrodensitometry ("Dunk Tank") - measures water displacement - $25. to $75.
How Do I Use the Results?
If you are very good with "do-it-yourself" projects then you might understand enough of the information here at Garrison Body to combine the information for great results. For those of you who don't have the desire, time, or energy to devote to learning and putting all of this information together, let us do that for you. Garrison Body will be happy to combine your personal information into a clear, consise exercise and diet plan. You may perform all of the calculations in this site and create your own diet and excercise program, or, we can do it all for you and create an easy to understand, effective plan for you to follow. If you would like to have us outline what you need to do, your daily calories and some meal suggestions, start by using our "Diet Plan" link to begin making your life healthier today.