Monday, December 12, 2011

Body Fat

I'm 25.9% body fat. For a woman like me, who weighs 150 pounds, that means that my body has 38.85 pounds of fat. The other 111.15 pounds is muscle, bones, organs, and a heart of gold (kidding). As a 30 year old female, this means I fall into the 'average range'--not the 'fitness range' and definitely not the 'athlete range.'

Aw dang.

For me, it's all around the middle. I've got the pooch, the muffin top, love handles, jelly belly. I have 'em all.

Here's a chart about body composition that's put out by the American Council on Exercise:

In order to get into the fitness range, which is where I want to be, I need to alter my body composition so that I'm made up of 24% body fat. If I stay at a weight of 150, this means converting 2.85 pounds of fat into lean muscle mass, so that I have 36 pounds of fat.

The other alternative is to lose a few pounds of fat. For example, if I lose 4 pounds of fat, I would weight 146 and have 34.85 pounds of body fat--23.8%.

This is my immediate fitness goal--to move from 25.9% body fat to 24% body fat.

Why? Well, two reasons. Falling into the fitness range decreases my risk of illnesses like heart disease and cancer, and sometimes, when I accidentally shut my belly fat in a window I think "This has got to go."

Okay fine, I've never shut my belly fat in a window, but once upon a time, I did get it stuck between the handle of a grocery cart and a Sam's Club sized case of olive oil. True story.

So. How do I do this?

Welp, there are 3 things that people--including me--need to do:

1. Improve my diet by staying in a healthy calorie range, dramatically reducing refined sugar and carbs, eating smaller, but more frequent meals, and eating more lean protein and vegetables.

2. Strength train by lifting weights or by using the resistance of body weight (like push-ups and squats).

3. Engage in regular aerobic activity.

As trainers, we learn to set attainable and measurable goals, with a date of completion for clients. So I'll follow my own advice.

My goal is to lose 1.9% body fat by January 23rd (6 weeks)

Let's see what this really takes.

Do you know your body fat percentage?


  1. Oddly enough, I DO know my body fat %. There is A LOT of room for improvement. But it's been going down steadily ever since I started running. I have a meeting with my fitness specialist (via the wellness program at work) in late Dec and hope to see a nice drop in body fat because of all the hard work in Gingerbread Bootcamp and improving my diet. I'll let you know how it turns out:)

  2. I bet you'll see a really good improvement. I'm down .2% today. Just a tiny improvement, but if I can keep doing it consistently, I'll see a difference!
    You're doing a great job, Tara!!!!! Keep me posted :)

  3. What is a good tool or method to measure your body fat at home? I'm considering trading in the "weight" measurement for the "body fat %" after Jan 1

  4. I use a body fat scale. Not the most accurate measurment, but if you do it at the same time of day, it's consistent.
    I'll bring it to a class sometime...

  5. I used to have a 34% body fat percentage. Thanks to my personal trainer, I cut it down to 20% in less than a year. We started with a healthy diet to decrease the calorie intake from the average 2,000 to 1,000 calories per day before starting average to intense workout programs. This avoided muscle buildups on top of the body fat, which would then be harder to burn if clogged in between muscles.

    Grace Read