When men and women try to lose weight, they simply look at the scale. A better measurement of fat loss is your body fat percentage. Body fat percentage is a measurement of how much fat you have on your body compared to the amount of muscle tissue, organs, bones, etc.
There are multiple ways to measure your body fat:
- Skinfold measurement
- Bioelectric impedance analysis
- Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry
- Height and circumference methods
- Hydrostatic testing
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA scan) is the most accurate form of body fat measurement. However, it is also the most expensive.
The most common form of body fat measurement is skinfold measurements. However, you can also use a handheld device which uses bioelectric impedence analysis to measure your own body fat percentage at home. However, handheld devices are the least accurate.
Body fat percentage measurement is important because it gives us a better idea of how much fat we need to lose, and how much muscle we need to gain.
For example, a female with 20% bodyfat will look pretty lean, so she may want to put on a little muscle to improve her physique. On the other hand, a male with 205 bodyfat will have no definition on his body. He may want to drop body fat to 14% bodyfat, and then build lean muscle mass.
But the catch is this: not all people look the same with similar body fat percentages. A muscular guy with 10% bodyfat will look different then a skinny guy with 10% bodyfat. In this case, it is quite obvious that the skinny guy needs to put on muscle mass.
The same exact is true for women.
I believe that if your body fat % is below 20 for women, you should spend more time on muscle building workouts. For men, your body fat percentage should be below 14%.
These, of course, are just estimates. Use your own judgement to determine which goal is best for you.
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