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Body Fat Percentage Calculator

Body fat percentage is the percentage of your body weight that’s fat. A healthy body fat percentage for men is 8 to 17% body fat, and for women it’s 15 to 24%. The best way to measure and track your body fat percentage is to weigh yourself daily, and take caliper and waist measurements and progress pictures every two weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should my body fat percentage be?

Most men will find they’re healthiest and look and feel best at a body fat percentage of around 10 to 15% body fat, and most women will want to be around 20 to 25%.

Is 5% body fat possible?

For men, yes. For women, no.

Men have about 3 to 4% essential body fat, which is the fat found in your nerves, brain, and internal organs. This fat serves essential functions in the body (hence the name), so it’s never broken down for energy the way other body fat is. In other words, you would starve to death before your body began breaking down essential body fat.

Women have more essential body fat than men—about 8 to 12%. Thus, women can’t achieve 5% body fat.

The bottom line is that the absolute leanest a man can get is about 4 to 5% body fat, and the leanest a woman can get is about 8 to 10% body fat.

How lean do you need to be to get great abs?

Most men need to be at least 12% body fat before they can see their abs clearly, and most women need to be around 24% body fat. To get “six-pack-level” abs, most men need to be 10% body fat or lower, and most women need to be at least 20% body fat. And to make your abs really “pop,” most guys need to be at least 8% body fat, and most women need to be at least 18% body fat.

What’s the lowest body fat percentage you can maintain?

Most people are happiest with how they look and feel when they’re in the upper end of the “athletic” range, or around 8 to 12% body fat for men and 18 to 22% body fat for women.

This is lean enough to have abs and fantastic muscle definition and some vascularity, but not so lean that every day feels like an uphill battle against lethargy and irritability. Most people can also maintain this level of leanness without meticulously counting calories, following a rigid meal plan, or doing excessive amounts of exercise.

What’s the most accurate method of calculating body fat percentage?

Aside from skinfold caliper measurements, the most common ways of calculating body fat percentage are: bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA), dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), and Bod Pod.

Many people claim that these high-tech methods are much more accurate than using skinfold caliper measurements and pictures, but research shows this is false. While some of these methods can produce accurate results for groups (particularly DXA), none of them work well for estimating an individual’s body fat percentage, as they can over- or underestimate your true body fat percentage by 5 to 15% or more. That is, a BIA device might pin your body fat percentage at 10%, when you could be 25% body fat in reality.

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