How do you measure your body fat percentage?

We all know that there is more to fitness and looking good than a number on a scale. You also have to consider other factors like your strength, muscle tone, body mass index (BMI) and body fat percentage. According to Health Magazine, the last factor is often overlooked but it is important to keep it in mind if you want to achieve your best possible body.

Your body fat percentage figure simply tells you how much of your body is made up of fat stores and how much is made up of lean tissue like bones, muscle, tendons and organs. Elevated levels of body fat can carry serious health risks and also tend to make you look flabby and out-of-shape no matter how much you weigh. On the other hand, a low body fat percentage likely means you look slender, toned and totally fit. 

So how do you measure body fat? Here are three methods from Health:

  • Bioelectrical impedance scales: These devices often look just like ordinary scales, but they use electrical impulses to detect your body fat percentage. There are even affordable options you can keep right in your own bathroom! 
  • Hydrostatic weighing: Feel like taking a dunk? Hydrostatic weighing involves submerging a subject in water and observing their underwater body weight to determine their body fat percentage. This method is usually offered only at certain training or research centers, so it may not be readily available.
  • Skin calipers: For this technique you will need an expert technician (such as a trustworthy personal trainer) who has skin calipers, a device that measures the thickness of skin at various points on the body. (Don't worry — there is a mild pinching sensation but it typically isn't painful!) This method is widely used but does require considerable precision. An inexperienced user will likely get an inaccurate reading. Bodybuilding.com has an online calculator that can help you complete your own caliper readings with the help of a friend, but again, you'll likely need practice to get it right. 

So what if you determine your body fat percentage and don't like what you find out? It's important to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to build muscle, burn fat and improve your overall health. However, the fact is that some of us simply can't achieve the look that we desire through food and fitness changes alone.

If you are unhappy with your body, contact Christopher Craft Cosmetic Surgery to schedule an initial consultation. As one of the best and most reputable board-certified plastic surgeons in Florida, Christopher Craft, M.D., is uniquely qualified to discuss the benefits of liposuction, tummy tucks and other surgical and non-surgical procedures that can help you finally reach your goals. You deserve to look and feel your best! Call today.

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