Determining your percent body fat is very important because the amount of fat in your body is related to health as well as fitness and sports performance. In fact, if you go to a gym or health club, assessing your percent body fat has become quite common. But what exactly is body fat? What percent body fat is healthy for men and women? Here we try to answer the most common questions about body fat.
Fat is one of the basic components that make up the structure of your body. The other components include muscle, water, bone and your organs — the brain, liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach, pancreas, and intestines. etc. All are necessary for normal, healthy functioning.
Body fat can be divided into two categories: Essential fat and storage fat. As its name implies, essential fat is necessary for normal, healthy functioning. It is stored in small amounts in your bone marrow, organs, central nervous system and muscles. In men, essential fat is approximately 3% of body weight. Women, however, have a higher percentage of essential fat — about 12%.
When you lose weight, you lose water, lean body mass and storage fat. To replace lost water, it is important to maintain proper hydration. From a health standpoint and to maintain your metabolic rate, it is better to preserve as much lean body mass as possible as you reduce your body fat.
How much fat and lean body mass should you lose when you lose weight? Experts have determined that:
during the early weeks of weight loss, at least 75% of the weight you lose should be fat loss and not more than 25% should come from lean body mass.
as you continue to lose weight, especially if certain types of exercise are included in your weight loss plan, fat loss should be about 90% of the weight you lose and lean body mass should be about 10%.