Fitness, Weight management

If you don’t know the difference between Body Fat percentage and BMI, you need to read this.


It’s not vain to know your own body fat measure. It’s not just for body builders or fitness enthusiasts either. In fact it is actually a good thing to know along with your blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol level…etc. However what your doctor tells you is likely NOT your body fat level but your Body Mass Index – a different measure entirely…and in many professional opinions (mine included) BMI is an inaccurate and outdated concept of health, leaving many people to believe they are “obese” when they are in fact not. Trust me on this one, I’ve had numerous clients report to me their doctors told them they were in the obese category when in fact they had a very healthy level of body fat. What’s the difference? Read on…

BMI (Body Mass Index) uses a persons weight divided by height in meters squared – physicians often use this as a simple measure to determine overall health based on if they are underweight or overweight. It’s at best, an educated guess. Below 18.5 is considered underweight; 18.5 to 24.9 is normal; 25.0 to 29.9 is overweight; and 30.0 or higher is obese. It’s important to note that BMI does not take in to account how much of your weight is actually muscle and how much is fat – this proves a major drawback, expecially if you are active and have a higher than “normal” scale weight based on an increased amount of muscle. For instance, a football player may well weigh more than a non active person due to more muscle tissue, and may often be higher than 27 (obese) on the BMI measure – despite the fact they have increased lean mass versus fat mass. Enter the Body fat percentage measure (angels sing, stars light the sky)…

Body fat percentage actually measures what percentage of your body is made up of fat while everything else is usually referred to as “lean tissue.” This gives a much clearer overall picture of health, fitness and leanness for someone who is physically active. There are a few ways of measuring body fat percentage – please click here to read about them all.

In females, 10 to 12 percent is considered essential fat; 14 to 20 percent is in the athlete category; 21 to 24 percent is fit; 25 to 31 percent is acceptable; and 32 percent or more is obese; in males, 2 to 4 percent is considered essential fat; 6 to 13 percent is in the athlete category; 14 to 17 percent is fit; 18 to 25 percent is acceptable; and 25 percent or more is obese.

If you are embarking on a weight loss journey, body fat percentage is one of the most important measures you can track – as even if you don’t initially notice a decrease on the scale, you may notice a difference in your body fat which is often an excellent motivator. 

Now you know!!

Enjoy the day:)


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