Thankfully for all those who like to keep on top of their fitness metrics and statistics, there is another method. By measuring your body fat percentage rather than your BMI, you can gain a much more accurate view of how 'in shape' you are.
How do you compare? The body fat percentage category chart from the American Council on Exercise (ACE).
The ideal, healthy BMI is said to be between 18.5 - 25 - anyone below 18.5 is said to be underweight, and anyone over 25 is said to be overweight.
But the BMI metric has come under fire in recent years, largely because of its inability to distinguish between lean muscle mass and body fat. Muscle is more dense than fat, and someone with plenty of muscle density might find that their BMI is in the 'overweight' category. Similarly, those who have more fat than muscle may become complacent in their fitness goals because their BMI is within the 'healthy' range.
Body fat percentage is the total mass of fat divided by the total mass of the body. Women naturally have a higher body fat percentage than most men, largely because of factors like hormones, breasts and sexual organs. A higher amount of body fat in women is required for ovulation.
The 'right' amount of body fat varies between each individual. Athletes, for example, will have a much lower level of body fat than someone who simply works out a few times a week to maintain their fitness levels. The general borderline for obesity is having more than 32% body fat for women, and more than 26% body fat for men. A woman deemed to be 'fit' would have between 21-24% body fat, while a man in the 'fit' category would have between 14-17% body fat.
Reduce your body fat by performing in intense anaerobic workouts such as boxing
You might not realise it, but you are actually able to measure your own body fat! Here are three ways in which you can do it: (Use the calculator above to assist)
The goal when measuring your body fat isn't necessarily to get highly accurate measurements - it's more about getting consistent measurements. By focusing on the changes in the number, rather than the accuracy, you can track your progress more effectively.