As a trainer and coach the phrase “I want to lose 5/10/15/20kg/pounds” is something I hear all too often. In this day and age we are obsessed with the number on the scales that we see and what changes we can bring to it.
But is weight a good measure of our overall body’s health? Everyone has heard the phrase “muscle weighs more than fat” at some stage of their lives and this is absolutely, why weight is a poor indicator of body health.
Most people are familiar with the term “body fat,” usually associating it with obesity, heart disease, cholesterol levels and general unhealthiness. Even though our association with the word “fat” is negative, fat is actually essential to life and bodily function. Fat helps in absorption of vitamins, is the base of our hormones and has many other functions in the body.
Now whilst fat is essential to life, too much fat is detrimental to the body. Fat tissue is the body’s storage facility and stores excess energy for use at a later stage. Fat is used as a fuel source in everyday life and during exercise. Excess fat can cause obesity which comes with a whole slew of health problems including like arthritis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, some cancers and respiratory problems.
What is a healthy amount of fat?
The amount of fat in your body is referred to by percentage of your body weight. Indicative amounts are specific to gender:
- 2 to 5% fat for basic function
- 6 to 13% fat for athletes
- 14 to 17% fat for healthy fitness
- 18 to 24% fat for acceptable wellness
- 25% or higher is considered obese
- 10 to 13% for basic function
- 14 to 20% for athletes
- 21 to 24% for fitness
- 25 to 31% for acceptable wellness
- 32% or more is obese
When I train people i aim to decrease their body fat percentage in a number of ways, including changing their nutrition, increasing their cardiovascular exercise quantity and focussing on strength training.
Strength training is a great way to increase your muscle mass. Increasing muscle mass will have a direct effect on your body fat percentage by increasing your body’s requirement of calories (metabolism) to start to use excess fat storage.
How do you measure body fat percentage?
There are various ways of measuring body fat percentage including calipers, hydrostatic weighing and bio-impedance scales are the popular ways of measuring body fat.
At THE ROOM we use a device that is a bio-impedance scanner to discover your body composition and this device provides a range of data including body-fat percentage, muscle mass, bone density and hydration levels.
If you are a 3 or 12 month member or you have a personal training package with us then you are eligible for a free body composition analysis with one of our trainers and monitoring for the duration of your package or membership.
For further information or questions please don’t hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Mim Kleiberg is a Star 3 Spinning Instructor, personal trainer and Co-owner of THE ROOM Abu Dhabi. She is an avid cyclist and triathlon competitor and is currently training for long distance triathlon.