Think you have excess body fat?
Know you have excess body fat?
Back in 2010, before I evolved my lifestyle into a healthier one, I knew I had excess body fat. One look in the mirror and it was clear as day.
My belly was protruding. My thighs were soft and thick. My neck and face were all flubbed out! But, I never really calculated my body fat percentage. I was embarking upon this healthy journey with no real understanding of my own body.
The scale was telling me that my relation to gravity was 224. That stupid BMI number said I was obese. But, I never measured. I never calculated. I never paid attention to my body. I didn’t do anything I was supposed to do before beginning this whole process.
I certainly have my guesses. I was probably in the 22-26% range, but I really had no idea.
I don’t want you to make these same mistakes. Today, you’ll discover how to effectively calculate, reduce and shred your body fat percentage.
Before we jump in, did you know that we offer a Free 5 Day Belly Fat Burning Course when you join Belly Burnin’ Nation? It’s just one of the many Free gifts you’ll receive as part of the Fat Burning ToolKit. Grab it here:
Here’s a list of all the body fat percentage supplies, tools and services we’ll discuss in this article:
- Body Fat Percentage Skin Calipers
- Bloodwork Tests
- Bod Pods
- Body Fat Measuring Scale
- Waist & Hip Measuring Tape
- MCT Oil
- Coconut Oil
- Grass Fed Meats
- High Intensity Training Programs
- High Intense Functional Fitness Equipment
- Burn Off Your Beer Belly Fat Loss Resources
Why Should You Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage?
Knowing your body fat percentage can help you map out your fat loss goals. You will have a clearer understanding of what your ‘WHY’ is. You’ll be able to build healthier habits around your body fat percentage goal. Around your ‘WHY’.
Your ‘WHY’ may be the most important factor in reaching your fat loss goals. So here, let’s go through an example – a little thought experiment…
You use the information we’re about to get into, later within this article, to calculate your body fat percentage at 25% and you weigh 180lbs. So, we use a simple calculation, 25% of 180 pounds is 45 pounds – that’s how many pounds of fat you have on your body. Using this raw number, you can then answer your ‘WHY’ – or make your goal something like, “I’d like to lose 10lbs of fat in 30 days”.
Do you see why this is a much better goal or a better ‘WHY’ than, “I’d like to lose 10lbs in 30 days”? They’re only slightly different goals but have a very different type of impact overall. In the second goal, you’re ONLY concerned with losing pounds or weight – you know, that number on the scale.
This can be a very tough goal to achieve, because if you’re working out… you’re probably building muscle. The number on the scale may not go down at all during those 30 days – but you’ve worked your ass off!
Now, revisit the first goal. Your goal is more calculated. Your ‘WHY’ is better defined. You have a better calculation that you can monitor more effectively. Let’s say your body weight has stayed the same, 180 pounds, by the end of the 30 days. But, your final body fat percentage calculation comes in at 20%.
20% of 180 is 36 pounds. 45 minus 36 is 9 pounds. While you were 1 measly pound of fat away from your goal, you still lost a significant amount of body fat. And remember, you lost nothing in trying to achieve your second goal. You did not lose weight. You failed. Or, was that a goal set up for failure?
You lost zero body weight in both examples, yet still, basically achieved your fat loss goal from the first example.
I’m also willing to bet you dropped a pants size, have a flatter belly and your waistline shrunk. If you hadn’t been calculating and monitoring your body fat percentage, during those 30 days, you may have given up and quit. Whatever diet or weight loss plan you had been following didn’t work, because you didn’t lose any weight.
That’s the problem with mainstream, conventional diets.
You would have been blinded to the legitimate improvements and progress you were making. This is why we concern ourselves, so much, with rejecting mainstream and conventional bullshit. This is why we take a sensible, UN-dieting approach to food and nutrition. This is why we ask you to be patient and consistent.
Now, of course, there is a margin of error, to factor in, when calculating your body fat percentage, but still, this is such a better gauge of how you’re improving and progressing. There are many different methods to calculate your body fat percentage and we’re about to get into them all, but whichever method you choose – stick with that method.
Continue to use that method each time you calculate. This will help to keep your results and your monitoring consistent. Now, let’s get into those body fat measuring techniques.
How To Calculate Body Fat Percentage
As we just talked about, most people use the scale number as the holy grail for weight loss monitoring or management. I know. I used to be one of those people.
Even today, I’ll still step onto that scale a couple times per week. The difference, today, is how I use that number. How I react to that number. How I let that number affect my everyday life.
I no longer rely on the scale as a beacon of progress. Click To Tweet
That scale doesn’t tell me anything about my fat loss. How can I use the scale to tell if I’m burning body fat?
The scale may tell me that I lost weight, but was some of that weight muscle mass? Or was it body fat? Plus, the scale may say my weight is unchanged, yet I’ve lost 4 inches from my waist. It’s a hot mess!
Burning body fat while building lean muscle can slim your waist and cause you to gain weight at the same time. Again, refer to the thought experiment we did above.
This is why we need a different way to calculate body fat percentage. This way, you can effectively monitor your fat loss results over time. You will be able to implement a far more effective weight management plan.
So, how do you do it? How do you effectively and accurately calculate body fat percentage?
It can be overwhelming and confusing, because there’s actually quite a few techniques you can use. We all know about the pinchers. Or the skin calipers. And while they will give you a percentage number – you’ll still have to improvise a range that you’re in, while taking numerous measurements.
Then there’s underwater weighing. There’s bod pods. There’s measuring your body part’s circumferences. There’s full body scans. There’s bloodwork tests. There’s body fat measuring scales. There’s probably some more I’m not thinking of right now too…
It’s crazy. What’s reliable? What’s accurate? What’s effective? What’s financially practical?
Body Fat Percentage Skin Calipers
In a pinch, these are a great tool for calculating your body fat percentage. 🙂
But, in all seriousness, skin calipers are budget friendly and they will give you a body fat percentage range. If you decide to go the skin calipers route, then stay consistent. This way, even if your body fat percentage calculation is off by a few percentage points, it won’t really matter to your overall goals.
You may not know your exact body fat percentage but you’ll still be able to effectively monitor body fat loss or gain, over time, because you are keeping your method of measurement consistent.
Using the pinchers or calipers is fairly straight forward, you pull some skin and you pinch down the calipers to take your measurement. You’ll have to do this a few times, in a few different locations on your body, if you’d like to get an accurate as possible measurement.
These caliper measurements should be taken from all the fat storage locations. Your belly, your booty, your boobies, your thighs and you may want to work in some lesser fatty areas into your calculations as well. You’ll then want to take a rough average of all the measurements and give yourself a good 4-6 percentage point swing.
Using only calipers, currently, my body fat percentage range is 7 – 12%. If you’re looking for recommendations on what your body fat percentage should be based on a few different factors, check out this body fat percentage calculator. Plus, we’ll get a little further into that, later, within this article.
Not so budget friendly. Underwater weighing is also called hydrodensitometry. This is one of the most accurate body fat percentage calculations you can get. You’re basically submerged into a hydrostatic tank and while you’re underwater, you let out all the air from your lungs.
This will calculate your body density. This body density number will then be used to calculate your body fat percentage.
If you’re at all interested in trying this underwater weighing, go Submerge Yourself!
Or study the technical information on Hydrostatic Weighing.
This is like underwater weighing without all that silly water! This method uses air-displacement rather than water displacement.
You’ll get a much more accurate body fat percentage calculation from using a Bod Pod, along with many more extensive body calculations. And, it’s all at a much lower price than underwater weighing.
Here’s how the Bod Pod works:
“The BOD POD Body Composition System uses the relationship between pressure and volume to derive the body volume of a subject seated inside its fiberglass chamber. Derivation of body volume, together with measurement of body mass, permits calculation of body density and subsequent estimation of percent fat and fat-free mass. This method is called Air-displacement plethysmography.”
You enter the pod, take a seat and wait about 3 minutes. Then you are given your comprehensive report that includes calculations of your Resting Metabolic Rate, Total Energy Expenditure, Non-Fat Mass, Optimal Caloric Intake Per Day and your Body Fat Percentage.
All this for a budget friendly, $30 – 80.
Body Part Circumference Measuring
Even more budget friendly than the calipers is this circumference measuring tape. Or, grab these calipers and they’ll throw in a circumference measuring tape along with it!
Self explanatory here – you just wrap the tape around whatever body part you’re measuring and take down the number.
According to About.com, you can do some quick and easy math to come up with your body fat percentage number – just by using the circumference measuring tape.
Specifically the Performance Package from WellnessFX. While this test isn’t going to give you an actual body fat percentage number, it is going to provide you with a better understanding of your own body. It will help show you whether your body is more prone to storing fat or burning fat.
The way it can do this, is from some of the notable markers they test:
Testosterone – important role on muscle growth, fat storage, mood and libido.
IGF-1 – encourages the body to build lean muscle and burn body fat.
Full Body Scans
There’s three different types of body scan tests that will calculate your body fat percentage. For the record, I’ve never done any of these nor would I recommend doing them. I do not back these up, I’m only providing you with the information…
Near Infrared Interactance – Fiber optics baby! There’s this fiber optic probe held against your skin, usually on your bicep, and a painless light is used to penetrate the tissues. This will predict your body fat by reflecting the light off your bones and back into the probe. Although, this method doesn’t work well for people who have a very high amount of body fat or a very low amount.
Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry – This scan measures your bone density and body fat percentage. You’ll be nailed with a dose of radiation if you choose this method and it’ll put a huge dent in your wallet.
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis – Somewhat like Near Infrared Interactance, this scan sends a painless electrical signal into your body, through your body fat, muscle and water at different speeds. They take this speed and factor in your height, weight, activity level and sex to determine body fat percentage. This method is also inaccurate for those that have very high amounts of body fat or very low amounts.
Body Fat Measuring Scales
I know, I just told you not to rely on scales. That’s why I’m putting a disclaimer to this one. I’ve never actually used one of these. I do not have personal knowledge on how accurate they are.
They are fairly inexpensive, so there could be a future self study involving one of these bad boys. If you’ve already used one, drop a comment below and let me know how accurate it was for you.
Now that you’ve calculated your body fat percentage, what do you do if you want to lower that percentage number?
How To Reduce Body Fat Percentage
Well first off, you need to know if you really should try to reduce your body fat percentage.
Here’s some ideal body fat percentage numbers. (these are only general numbers to go by – it’s not strict or set in stone. Everyone’s body is unique)
- Bodybuilder Type | 3-6%
- Ripped Six Pack or Eight Pack Abs Type | 7-11%
- Athletic Cut Type | 12-16%
- All Other Types | 17%+
- Bodybuilder Type | 7-11%
- Muscle Definition With Abs Type | 12-16%
- Toned Athletic and Lean | 17-20%
- All Other Types | 21%+
Again, I must stress – These numbers are ONLY general numbers. Some people show ab muscles even in the low 20s percent. It’s up to you to calculate and pay attention to your own body. Know your body, Belly Burnin’ Nation!
The Best Ways To Reduce Body Fat Percentage
Much like we talk about on the Burn Off Your Beer Belly Podcast, found here:
Nutrient diversity by way of variety. Improve your real food choices. Stay consistent and persistent. Shift & evolve your mindset. And finally, be patient.
Sure, I could have just said “eat healthy”. But, what the hell does that even mean?
The mainstream defines eating healthy as avoiding dietary fat, eating vegetable oils, controlling your portions, eating chicken and rice, eating salads with low-fat dressing and counting your calories.
That’s not how we define eating healthy.
If you start rejecting this mainstream bullshit. If you remove the low-fat, processed foods. If you increase your consumption of healthy fats, quality protein and keep your carbohydrate intake from whole food sources – you’ll be well on your way toward reducing your body fat percentage.
The main thing, is to nourish your body with real wholesome foods.
It’s up to you to take action, go grab your Free Fat Burning ToolKit right here:
What if you want to take it to the next level?!
How To Shred Body Fat Percentage
Get shredded. Get ridiculously lean. Get ripped. Become a body fat burning machine!
It ALL starts in the kitchen. It’s the food you eat.
Quit The Sugar Train
The biggest deterrent to you shredding your body fat percentage, is SUGAR. It’s not that you couldn’t make it to the gym this week. It’s not that you ingested more calories than you *should* have today. It’s not that you failed to stomp your feet, over and over again, on the treadmill.
NONE of that nonsense matters!
Sugar is what’s holding you back. Especially in the morning (or after you wake up). This sugar can take many forms too. What we’re ultimately talking about is glucose.
In this episode of the podcast, we dove in deep to tell you all about this sugar/glucose process and how it causes you to store body fat. So, I won’t get into all that here. (but you should definitely listen to it!)
What we do need to get into, here, is removing the sugar from your morning routine. This includes ALL grains, carbs, whole grains, processed foods and sugars. Everything that gets converted into glucose within your body.
While you’re sleeping, you’re fasting. Maybe not those that take Ambien to help them sleep. So, to make the first substance or food, your body ingests, something that gets immediately converted to glucose, is going to severely spike your insulin levels.
It’s going to throw your body directly into fat storage mode. In order to get shredded or shred your body fat percentage – you must make your body’s first introduction to food, a fat source. Belly Burnin’ Coffee is a great way to do this! Do this everyday!
Real Wholesome Foods Most Of The Time
You know this.
Improve your real wholesome food choices. Sure, you can indulge from time to time – it’s actually encouraged that you do – you just don’t want to create habits around the indulging.
Create your habits around the improved food choices. Healthy fats. Quality protein. Even carbs, but from wholesome sources.
Leave yourself some time, after improving your choices, to celebrate and enjoy your healthy lifestyle. Crack open a cold one and savor it!
Short Burst, High Intensity Strength Training and Sprinting
According to this study, short burst – high intensity strength training and sprinting are the best workouts for burning fat.
Then there’s this article from breakingmuscle.com: The Best Research on Body Fat, Losing Fat and Eating Fat.
They really dive deep into the research and studies about how best to shred your body fat percentage.
Short, high intense workouts were what helped me get past my own body fat percentage plateau. I was able to knock my BF down to 7 – 12% from 20+%.
After following all these steps, you should be able to effectively calculate, reduce and shred your body fat percentage.
If you lasted this long, through the article, I thank you so much. This is the most extensive article yet on Burn Off Your Beer Belly. If you have any disagreement with anything in this article, please let me know. I’m open for some good-hearted discussion.
Any questions you may have, please click the big red button below and submit your question for a future podcast episode. Or, you can drop your questions & comments in the comment section below.
Belly Burnin’ Nation, cheers to lower body fat percentage!