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No matter if your goals to lose weight or start a clean bulk, a body fat calculator can give you a way to track progress. This can be a crucial tool to make more informed choices about your exercise and nutrition while working toward your goals!
Learn how to test your body fat below, or if you already have your measurements, enter them into our calculator to learn your body fat percentage, lean mass, and what exercise programs could work best for you.
How Do I Test My Body Fat?
Here’s what you’ll need to test your body fat:
- A digital scale to measure your body weight
- Body fat measuring calipers
- A helper (recommended for men, necessary for women
When taking a skinfold, the basic idea is to “pinch and pull.” Attempt to separate the fat tissue from the surrounding tissue with a good pinch, then pull it away from the body just slightly.
Once you feel like you have a good pinch, perform these steps:
- Place the calipers about 1 cm to the side of your fingers.
- Press on the serrated thumb pad next to the word “press” until the two arrows line up.
- Note the measurement on the little scale to the right of the arrows. The hashes are in increments of two. That means one mark lower than 20 is 18.
- Release the pinch and repeat all of these steps several times for all three sites. Take the average of your pinches and plug it into the calculator tool.
Body Fat Testing Sites for Men
Body Fat Testing Sites for Women
What is a healthy body fat percentage?
What constitutes a “healthy” level of body fat depends a lot on your sex and your goals. If you’re not worried about keeping your body fat low for specific aesthetic or performance goals, then it’s perfectly OK to have the goal of keeping your body fat percentage anywhere below “obese” and above “essential fat levels.”
It’s easy to set your goals thinking “the lower the better,” and aim for single digits and a shredded physique year-round. But if sustainable, healthy weight management is your goal, personal trainer and leanness expert Obi “The Ripped Dude” Obadike recommends getting comfortable in the “fitness” category of the leanness chart.
|Obese: > 31%||Obese: > 25%|
|Acceptable: 25-31%||Acceptable: 18-25%|
|Fit: 21-24%||Fit: 14-17%|
|Athletic: 14-20%||Athletic: 6-13%|
|Essential fat levels: 13%||Essential fat levels: 2-5%|
WHY DO MY LEAN BODY MASS AND FAT MASS MATTER?
Bodybuilding.com’s body fat calculator takes your body fat percentage to the next level and tell you exactly how many pounds of lean mass and fat mass you’re carrying.
Why is this important? Changes in your fat and lean mass weight can also allow you to make smart decisions about your programming and nutrition. For example, if you’re losing weight in the form of lean mass, it could mean that you may be training way too much or not eating enough protein.
Cutting too many calories from protein intake is a common mistake that gets in the way of lasting weight loss, explains Bill Campbell, Ph.D., the director of the Physique Enhancement Lab at the University of South Florida.
Aiming for Bill Campbell’s weight-loss standard of 1 gram per pound of protein daily? It’s a lot easier to get there with protein shakes. – View All
Get systematic about your success!
For most people, the ultimate goal is to have a better-looking, healthier body, so don’t become obsessed with body fat or any other measurement. It’s a great way to track the effectiveness of your nutrition and training, but also pay attention to how you feel, how your workouts are progressing, and changes you see in the mirror.
Use these other popular fitness calculators to help you further dial in your plan for success!