Why is it important for me to measure my body fat?

There are several reasons measuring body fat is important. First, it will give you an overall impression of your health. If your body percentage is too high or even too low, it can be indicative of the need for a change in lifestyle. Second, measuring body fat percentage sets a good baseline, and later provides a quantitative number on which you can rate and adjust your fitness program. For instance, if you’re gaining weight, but your body fat percentage is dropping, you’re most likely adding lean body mass to your physique. If you’re gaining weight, and your body fat percentage is rising, you’ll likely need to adjust your fitness program and/or diet.

Measuring body fat is very important because it gives you a better picture of what the changes that are taking place in your body really mean. When you step on a scale it doesn't tell the whole story because you don't know where the difference in your weight came from. Also, you may have lost inches and your clothes fit better but when you step on the scale, your weight has stayed the same. Your body fat % is what matters most when it comes to knowing if you are losing fat and not just weight. Getting a qualified fitness expert to measure your body fat can be the best motivation to help you get with it and start exercising more effectively. If you know where you are at currently then you have a goal already established. Your workouts will be performed with more purpose and you will have something to shoot for. You can't track what you don't measure so help yourself by knowing what your body fat % is instead of guessing, where you won't understand if what you are doing has helped at all. That kind of training has "why bother" written all over it. Knowing why, how and what you are doing makes a huge difference in being successful in reaching any goal.

Measuring your body fat can help you better manage your routine and reveal whether any adjustments to your exercise and diet program are needed. For example, if you have been dieting, with little or no exercise, you may find that you've lost as much lean muscle tissue as fat. Increasing your physical activity and testing again after 4 to 6 weeks can help determine whether you've shifted back to a healthy rate of body fat loss and muscle gain.

To get the most consistent measurements possible, always have the test done by the same person at the same time of day using the same method of measurement.

The range for ideal body fat percentages is fairly wide because age and gender affect the number and, most importantly, because everyone's body is unique. Used in combination with body mass index (BMI) guidelines, body fat percentage can help assess disease risk.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.