5-Minute Crafts
5-Minute Crafts

How to Know Your Body’s Fat Percentage

Body fat percentage is important to know because it helps you understand your weight better and track your fitness. Maintaining body fat at an advisable level can help reduce the risks of getting heart disease. In case you want to keep your body fat percentage on track without spending time and money on fancy procedures, 5-Minute Crafts has got some useful tips for you to effectively measure it at home.

1. Circumference body fat calculator

This method requires using only a soft tape measure you’d normally use for sewing.

Here are step-by-step instructions for men:

1. Take the neck measurements with the tape measure. To do so, look straight ahead and relax your shoulders. Make sure not to cover your Adam’s apple with the tape while measuring. Instead, place it on bare skin just below it. Also, remember the tape should be placed horizontally. Round your measurement up to the nearest half-inch and write it down.

2. Take the waist measurements with the tape measure by standing up straight and placing it across the navel on bare skin. Again, make sure the tape is horizontal. Breathe out naturally, round the measurement down to the nearest half-inch, and write it down.

For women, you have to:

1. Take the neck measurements with the tape measure by first looking straight ahead, relaxing your shoulders. Then place the tape measure on bare skin, just below the larynx. Check that the tape is horizontally placed. Take the measurement, round it up to the nearest half-inch, and write it down.

2. Take the waist measurements with the tape measure by placing it on bare skin. You need to make sure the tape is horizontally wrapped around your natural waist, halfway between your belly button and your breastbone. The tape measure should not be loose nor too tight. Take your measurement and write it down.

3. Take the hip measurements by extending the tape measure around your hips, while passing over the widest point: the fullest part of your buttocks. Round down the measurement to the nearest half-inch, and write it down.

Regardless of your gender, after taking your measurements you should enter your results in an online calculator.

2. Waist circumference

This method only provides information about abdominal fat. However, it’s the abdominal fat that is considered the most dangerous, as it’s the fat that’s stored around your internal organs, like the liver or pancreas. This might lead to a higher risk of getting serious health conditions (like diabetes and heart disease, for instance).

Here are some instructions on how to use tape to measure your waist correctly:

  1. Wrap your soft tape measure around your waist, just above your navel.
  2. Check that the tape measure is pulled tight but that it doesn’t dig into your skin either.
  3. After breathing out naturally, take your measurement. Repeat this step to confirm.
  4. Enter your details in the online calculator here.

3. Waist/hip ratio

This technique is easy to do.

  1. Take your waist measurement by placing the soft tape measure midway from the top of your hips to the bottom of your ribs.
  2. Take your hip measurement at the fullest point of your buttocks, just like in point 1.
  3. Divide the waist measurement by the hip measurement to get the ratio.

Results: A ratio above 0.90 for men and above 0.85 for women means you’ve got excessive fat stored around your abdomen, which is considered a health risk.

4. Skin fold measurements using calipers

For this technique, you have to use calipers to measure fat on different parts of your body. The parts you’ll measure depend on your gender.

  • For men: thigh, chest, belly
  • For women: hip, tricep, thigh

The following instructions are for both genders.

  • Use the calipers to mark the pinch place 1 cm above the skin fold. It’s a good idea to ask someone else to help you with the measuring. Make sure to measure fat on each body part 3 times to get a more reliable average and write down your results. Then you can enter your data in a special skin fold calculator (also called a 3-site body composition calculator), such as this one.

⚠️ Reminder: Don’t forget to choose the right units of measurement, standard (US) or metric.

5. Smart scales

This method is probably the easiest way to calculate your body fat percentage, but it requires using smart scales. If you don’t have them at home, you might want to check your local gym — athletes and fitness coaches usually use them regularly.

The downside is that the accuracy of the result may depend on several factors: your level of hydration, or whether you use them for weighing in different conditions, among other things.

⚠️ Attention! This method is not recommended for people with pacemakers.

  • Tip: Step on the scale each morning after emptying your bowels, and always place it in the same area of the room. Make sure you read the instructions and enter all the personal parameters (weight, gender, age, etc.) that may be required.

How to interpret your results

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