On more than one occasion we have explained it, but even so, each time it is possible it is worth highlighting the difference between the concepts of losing weight and losing fat. Although both refer to the vital x9 loss of body mass, and therefore to the decrease in the numbers that appear on the scale, they are not exactly the same.
The first is related to a reduction of the body’s general mass, made up of tissues such as muscles, bones, accumulated water, glycogen and, of course, fat. A person who loses weight can be affected by muscle catabolism, loss of bone density, or benefit from fat burning and decreased water retention.
In most cases, a person who undergoes a drastic caloric deficit to lose weight, ends up experiencing each of these changes, which leads to a significant decrease in the numbers marked on a traditional scale, creating false expectations of the way in which the body gets rid of the fat and with it, carrying a series of health problems that we will see in a timely manner in another article.
A person who has decided to change their lifestyle, improving their health through the loss of fat, has the reduced chances of success if they base their progress solely on the numbers that appear on the scale, hence the fact that many Experts recommend that during this process it is more effective to carry out a record on the percentage of body fat and not on the overall weight.
What is the percentage of body fat?
There is not much to explain, because the term itself gives us a broad journey about what it wants to convey. The percentage of body fat, without extending too much with unnecessary words refers to the amount of fat accumulated in the body with respect to the total mass of it.
Measuring the percentage of body fat on a regular basis is the most reliable method to evaluate effectively the results we achieve over time, after leading a healthier lifestyle from a balanced diet and the practice of exercises such as cardio in any of its modalities or weightlifting, among others.
When we are moving forward in our transformation process, in general, a scale is not enough to show the whole reality of this process, and it is often the case that the body replaces fat deposits with water.
Measuring the percentage of body fat is not a simple thing and for this, the intervention of a health professional will always be necessary. Of course, we must bear in mind that although it is a safe method, it can also have a significant margin of error, so you should always take the results with discretion.
In the previous illustration you can see the figures of different men. Having a percentage of body fat between 6 and 13% is the equivalent of having a defined body, bringing out the famous six-pack that many want. Being between 14 and 17% is a sign of having an athletic figure with specific fat locations that do not represent any risk to health. Being between 18 and 25% is placed in the middle, while passing 26% represents the activation of the alarms to realize that something is not right, because from here, it is considered that a man already suffers from obesity.
A figure with 16% fat could be considered as belonging to a woman who is dedicated to the constant practice of physical activity. Placing between 21 and 24% is equivalent to an average figure, while marks over 25% are alarming due to the problems that can be caused as a result of obesity.
In the case of men it is not recommended to be below 10% body fat because this can lead to metabolic disorders and other unpleasant health problems. Women on the other hand, should not be below 11 and 10%, since from this figure they begin to suffer metabolic problems and disorders in the menstrual cycle.
How to calculate the percentage of body fat
Technically speaking, calculating the percentage of body fat is an extremely easy process, because for this it is only necessary to divide the weight of accumulated fat between the weight of the whole body and then multiply the result by 100. For example, a subject of 75 kg that has 11 kg of fat, would be equivalent to having a total of 14.66%.
So far so good, however, the real problem lies in having to calculate the weight of the fat. For this, we can choose different techniques that we will know below.
It is the most accurate method of measuring the percentage of body fat that exists. It is based on using the basic principles of physics that establish that body density is inversely proportional to the percentage of body fat, so that when the density of the body increases, that of fat decreases.
To perform this method, the body to be measured must be immersed in a pool, taking into account the height of the water with and without the body, to then compare it with the volume obtained and thus calculate the percentage of fat.
Yes, perhaps it can be confusing for some, but for the luck of them, there are health professionals who are dedicated to making these measurements.
Using this method can lead us to obtain such precise results with margins of error that do not exceed 20 grams.