Body Fat Percentage…No Need to Be Obsessed Over a Number!

October 11, 2007

Knowing your body fat percentage is a great tool, but no need to get completely obsessed over what that number turns out to be. What I mean by that, is that it is more important to see what you look like in a mirror vs. shooting for a number. You can take two people with the exact same body fat percentage and their muscle tone can look drastically different.

Body Fat Percentage
[Amy needs someone to measure her body fat. Any takers? Anyone? Anyone?]

Body Fat Percentage Should Be Used As A Tool To Measure Progress

To see if you are actually losing fat vs. muscle, you need to know what your starting point is. Measuring your body fat percentage and tracking it over time is what is important. I think it is a great idea to measure your body fat about twice a month, to see if your diet and exercise plan is effective at helping you get lean. I wouldn’t worry about the absolute number, just worry about making progress until you “look” as lean as you want.

So How Do You Find Out Your Body Fat Percentage?

A site I like to use is called Body Tracker (click the link). What is cool about this site is that there are six different ways to calculate body fat on this site for both men and women. The least effective way is the “Tape Measure Method”…but the other ways are actually quite accurate. I think the Parillo method is the most effective, but you would need some assistance with that. You can also order body fat calipers for under $20 on this site.

What is A Good Goal To Shoot For?

Again, I really think that you shouldn’t be obsessed with an absolute number. You should lose body fat until you achieve the look you are after. For people who are curious about the number. The average man (not overweight) is between 15%-18% and for women 22%-25%. A super lean man would be anywhere around 5%-8% and a super lean woman would be 12%-15%. To achieve the Hollywood look men would probably want to be between 6%-12% and women would want to be 16%-22%. One more reminder…this is just a rough estimate since people do vary quite a bit.

Guys Sporting the Funky “Hollywood” Look

A video for the ladies…

(The clothes are a bit “out there” but I just want to make sure and get some videos in here for the female readers. I try to balance out the scandalous pictures and videos, but I think I have given the guys a few sleazy pictures in a row. So here is one for the women.)

Note: I plan on doing much more in depth articles about body fat percentage in the future. Since my site is new, I am focusing more on concepts in general before I launch into the technical stuff.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

yavor October 12, 2007 at 2:35 am

Good post.

The number by itself does not help. I’ve had my BF% tested with calipers before and it would be between 10 and 12%. But I did not like what I saw in the mirror.

Currently I only tape measure my waist – the smallest (above navel) and the largest (love handles) circumferences. If the numbers there decrease, I will look better.

Off to run now lol.

Tyler Durden October 12, 2007 at 4:27 am

In order to get accurate results with the caliper i think you have to be an expert. I know every site tries to explain where to fold the skin but still results can vary a lot depending on your skills.
So i use the tape since this is very simple. Of course i don’t get “THE PERCENTAGE” but still i have some idea what progress i’ve made.
I take measurements around my waist, chest, arm and neck to see where i’m shrinking.
I’m happy to see that i lost max 0,75inch from my arm and more than 4inches from my waist. From the chest maybe 1,5 inch.
Of course my upper body appears much smaller but probably from losing fat and not much muscle.
so right now: 5’9”, 143lbs, chest:41, waist: 30, arm: 14, neck:14,5
When i was a “bulker” a weighed 166lbs and had a 34waist. I wasn’t much stronger nor had much more muscle but i appeared and was much bigger due to body fat.

Jennifer October 12, 2007 at 5:10 pm

Thank you Rusty…you made my Friday!!
I think this type of body for a man is so hot, the “V” taper thing going on at thier hipbones is hot, the 6-pack abs are hot, and the tiny speedo is hot!
I dated a male model a few years back, and he sure knew he was hot!

admin October 12, 2007 at 8:24 pm


You are very welcome. I am just trying to make your life better by encouraging guys to look more like this and less bulky.

I know some people think it is “shallow”, but somebody has to spread the good word on how to be sexy…LOL!


john October 13, 2007 at 12:46 pm

i have had it measured for the hell of it…but i just go by the mirror…sometimes i can retain water after eating certain things and appear smoother but it usually goes away. Those home bodyfat scales are bullshit. I can put in a heavy jump rope session and lower the number by a whole percentage point. This is mathematically impossible.

Angie October 14, 2007 at 8:14 pm

I used to be obsessed with the BF numbers too..but now I am more interested in how my body is forming. I do still check my BF about once a month just to make sure I am making progress, but mostly its now about how I look. Love all your great research Rusty! Can’t wait for more!

Mark October 14, 2007 at 9:37 pm

Great post again! You make good points, and also keep in mind that body fat percentage obsession can lead to an obsession with increasing muscle, because you make the % go down simply by building muscle and not losing any fat. Your percentage of fat will go down even though no actual fat was lost because you increase the non-fat potions of your body.

But you can end up looking worse because you’re still fat, but just a bigger version of your fat self. I’ve run into many posts on other sites that deride people for being ‘skinny fat’, but ‘big fat’ seems worse in every respect.. thanks

Bill October 23, 2007 at 6:05 pm

But Mark, though it may be true that when guys bulk up they are often adding fat as well as muscle, other things being equal, greater muscle mass will automatically burn fat at a higher rate.

Asus May 13, 2008 at 3:49 am

Hi Rusty.

Just wandering, the model is so hot.
May I know who she is ?

Thank’s 🙂

admin May 14, 2008 at 1:53 pm


That model is hot! Names and identities are protected here 🙂


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