Body fat - what is "normal"?
I am a medium sized woman ie 5ft5 size 10 on top 12 bottom. I weigh 65kg but have at least 30% body fat (I had this measured in a free personal training session a while back so this could have changed)
I wondered if this was normal as it seems very high considering I am not tiny but am certainly not fat. I exercise properly (ie 45 mins cardio and 15 mins weights) 2 or 3 days per week, and do some exercise like walking almost every day. In summer I am better about discipline as I have roughly twice the energy and can therefore cope with the 6am wake up times so I can go before work! in summer I average 4 times per week at the gym.
I don't want to lose weight as I'd say i'm healthy - I have been both size 8 and size 16 before and both looked awful on me.
i wondered if this means I have fat sort of below the surface and how harmful this is? My tummy is not big though I do have a little round one, and my waist is small and I think this is meant to be good.
Anyway any comments/advice much appreciated...
30% body fat is within the healthy range for women. Assuming that your BMI is also in the healthy range, and that your waist is less than 35" in circumference, I would say that you are doing fine.
thanks for that
My bmi is 24 in winter, 23 in summer!
I hate winter and have mild seasonal affective disorder so, while I do continue to exercise, it is a bit less often and I comfort eat a bit... then 3 kg just melts off in summer due to three times the amount of energy.
Anyway thanks for reassurance on this matter!
How was the BF% measured - on the scales or the skin folds test?
IMHO, 30% may be normal, even average for adult women in indistrialized countries, but healthy? I would call healthy something more like 8-15% for men and 12-20% for women.
Short of moving to a warmer climate I would suggest you try setting some fitness goals for yourself, like doing more situps, performing an unassisted pullup or dip, or lifting a certain weight to help motivate you to keep plugging all year long. And given the fact that muscle is more compact and burns more calories per pound than fat, I would sugest you reduce your cardio to 20-30 minutes and increase your resistance training to 30-40 minutes. Of course, gaining and loosing body fat is much more influenced by what you eat than what exercises you perform, so eating clean and keeping your caloric intake near or slightly below your daily needs will help a lot.
The American Council on Exercise suggests that 25-31% for women is a range they call "acceptable"; lower ranges are "fitness" at 21-24%, "athletes" at 14-20%, and "essential" at 10-12%. Men are about 5-8% lower.
However, methods of measuring body fat percentage do have some variation in them, so body fat percentage is most effectively used in a relative sense (i.e. using the same method of measurement, has your body fat percentage been going down or up?).
Some recent studies on "normal weight obesity" use body fat percentage of 30% for women (and 20% for men) within the "normal" BMI range as the threshold for "normal weight obesity".
If you are within the "normal weight range" but feel that your body fat percentage is too high, it may be better to try to gain muscle (with strength training) first, since increased muscle increases metabolism.
Last edited by tjl; Feb. 15/10 at 10:03 PM.
this is a good question. people say its not normal nowadays n you should weight about 60kgs. but 50 years ago you would be perfect. what has changed? just peoples opinions! listen to yourself, otherwise you will be confused all your life
how can 30% body fat be normal?? That's what my scales said I had at 75 kilos, and a height of 157 centimeters(that's about 5'1, and 170lbs).
Maybe the scales were broke? lol
12% for women would be going pretty low, I think that's actually the low healthy limit.. meaning it's what you need for your body to be able to carry on with usual functions.
30 is borderline unhealthy. Wouldn't hurt to cut it down a bit. What is your waist circumference? That's a pretty good indicator of how healthy you are.
Winter can really affect our weight if we're not vigilant about it.
Originally Posted by aliceaar
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I learned in my exercise and weight control class that I took for an elective in college, that a "healthy" BMI for women is between 18.5 and 24.9. I've also seen these same numbers through several other sources.
18.5 and 24.9 BMI are healthy but BMI scales are not a very accurate source to go on when it comes determining if you're healthy or not. When it comes to body fat, anything above 30% Is pretty close to unhealthy....Women that are in great shape are around 20-24.Athletes tend to be about 14-18% and 12% and under are usually figure competitors.
^ I don't think high level female athletes really do tend to be that low in bodyfat%, just as high level male athletes don't tend to be 5-8%, or whatever number is typically given. I think it's actually a very bad practice to be prescribing low body fat %'s as an athletic quality, since low bodyfat =/= high performance, and usually hinders performance.
For a man, the "healthy"/"normal" range is typically recommended to be about 10-20%, and for women it's usually recommended to be about 20-30%. But I think for general health, vitality, and aesthetics, 8-12% tends to be best for most men, and 18-22% for most women. Some will be better off at slightly higher levels, up to about 15% for men and 25% for women. Few will benefit from higher bodyfat percentages than that, and few will benefit from lower than 8% for men and 18% for women.
Ryan - D.Fitness. SQ 2x150kg - BP 95kg - DL 190kg - OHP 60kg
You're right about the high level athlete probably not being that low and that low body fat doesn't always equal better performance..but I think the sport and position played depends on it too. I play roller derby and started as a blocker..more body fat worked for me..but when I switched to jammer..losing the body fat helped a bunch.
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