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Photos of What People Look Like at Different Body Fat %

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I'm a firm believer that tracking your fitness/nutrition progress by numbers on the scale is NOT the best way to track it. Instead, you should also track your body fat %. The reason why is because you may be working your butt off and eating right but not seeing any results (or slow results) on the scale, but really you have been making progress because you've lost body fat. And as people know, muscle weighs more than fat. If you take someone who weighs 130 lbs and has 30% body fat, the person will look overweight verses someone who is 130 lbs and has 18% body fat who will look very thin. Anyways, here are some photos to give you a visual idea of what different body fat percentages look like, since this is much more accurate than photos of people at different body weights:

The photos came from this website which has more info on body fat:

If you're interested in tracking your body fat, there are many ways. My gym has a gadget that you hold (bioelectrical impedence) that gives you a digital body fat reading, and most gyms will also do a skin fold caliper body fat test if you ask. GNC stores sell the skin fold caliper too for only $20. And I've noticed some scales will give you a body fat reading, but I don't know how accurate it is. I've read that the most accurate body fat test is Xray asorptiometry or average density.

Here's ranges for women, for men it's lower:
32% plus is considered obese
25 - 31% acceptable
21 - 24% fitness
14 - 20% athletes
10 - 12% essential fat

When I read people's blogs on SP and they're getting depressed because they're working hard and eating right and the numbers on the scale aren't going down I always tell them "track your body fat too, not just your weight!" I don't know about you, but I would MUCH rather maintain weight and lose body fat than to lose a bunch of weight but not lose any body fat. So before you get de-moralized, check it:)

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
LOREN009 11/11/2010 8:00AM

    Thanks for the pictures! They help to see where I would like to be. I like to use BF% to determine a reasonable weight. If I assume my lean body mass stays the same with a lower BF%, it gives me an estimate on what my weight would be.

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CPESCE1 11/11/2010 6:41AM

    Great blog! I agree - the scale does not tell the true tale. Every 6 weeks I have my trainer measure my arm, chest, waist and hips and use calipers to measure my body fat. The scale is only one small piece of this and if I went by the scale alone I would not have the real story!

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KBERG27 11/10/2010 9:48PM

    totally. agree. thanks for the pics!

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TIPYRAIN 11/10/2010 8:08PM

    This is an emoticon BLOG!!! Thanks for posting it!:)) I have a hard time getting away from the scale and just standing in front of the mirror to see the difference. I'm getting better at it since I can't seem to drop below 130 and eat like a human being! LOL!:))

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MICHELEBOISE 11/10/2010 5:01PM

    Interesting post! I have a Tanita scale which can measure body fat. I'm at about 35-36%, which is considered obese! Geez! I knew I was overweight, but OBESE? :( Just goes to show, 20-30 extra pounds of fat is BAD!!

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LA0801 11/10/2010 4:54PM

  This is a fantastic post and a great reminder to think about success in many forms!
Thank you! emoticon

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Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.