Do You Know Your Number?

Today was the first day of my PhD.  I love my classes! And I love what I’m doing in research!  Today I got trained using a Bod Pod and got to run a few of the tests for a project we are working on.

courtesy of google images

What’s a Bod Pod you say? Well it is a machine that is considered the “gold standard” for body composition measurements.  It can tell you your % body fat, your % lean body mass and also how many calories your body burns all by itself in one day.  Yes, I know, VERY COOL!

How many of you know your own body fat percentage?  Or are you someone who is only concerned with weight?  Weight AND body fat are two important measurements for assessing your total health.  Your body does need to store some fat for general physiological functions.

Just weighing yourself will not tell you whether or not you have excess body fat, which is truly detrimental to your health.  Think about a body builder who is all muscle, and a guy who sits on his butt all day.  They may share the same weight, but obviously not the same body fat %.  Also, ever hear of “skinny fat”?  This is supposed to translate into allowing people to understand that you could be of a healthy weight but have a high body fat percentage.

Here are your guidelines:

Body Type Female Male
Athlete <17% <10%
Lean 17-22% 10-15%
Normal 22-25% 15-18%
Above Average 25-29% 18-20%
Over-fat 29-35% 20-25%
Obese 35+% 25+%

These are guidelines set by the ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine).

Want to know your body fat percentage?  Here are a few ways to do it:

At home through a scale. Your home scale may be able to read your body fat percentage through bioelectrical impedance analysis.  It’s not the most accurate way to measure body fat because it is directly affected by your hydration status.  Also, usually the more expensive the device, the better the accuracy.  If you go this route, remember that your number could be off by about 5%.

At a health club with skin fold tests. Ever have a trainer come at you with those “pinchy things”?  Those are called calipers, and they help to measure body fat percentage.  This test can be

courtesy of google images

pretty accurate, but check to see how well trained the person is with the procedure; you don’t want them pinching you for a wrong measurement.

At a hospital or clinic with a bod pod. You can get a very accurate reading with this device.  Look and see where you can get one done.  It may be at a hospital or a clinic.

Keeping a healthy lifestyle, eating right and exercising enough, can help to keep body fat in check.  Come back and look for more tips about how to stay fit, healthy and active!


About Melissa @ Eat on the Run

Hi Gang! I'm Melissa and I'm blogging at I'm a RD2Be and am pursuing a career in nutrition and fitness. I hope to bring you lots of information and tips to make your life healthier and happier. Please join me on this journey! View all posts by Melissa @ Eat on the Run

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