Your body fat, its percentage, what it looks like,
where you store it, and what to do about it.
“There’s a critical distinction between aging and decay that you need to keep in mind from here on in. Aging is inevitable, but it’s biologically programmed to be a slow process. Most of what we call aging, and most of what we dread about getting older, is actually decay. That’s critically important because we are stuck with real aging, But decay is optional.” — From the book, Younger Next Year. Page 33.
A delicate subject, fat.
Especially for women, who are the primary focus of this article. I’ll address men in a separate article soon.
In a purely clinical sense, fat and fat loss is a topic of health, fitness and longevity.
On a personal level, when you can’t fit into last year’s jeans, it could be as simple as a topic of priorities. Or it could be as complicated as an emotional state of mind. Or it could be a medical issue such as thyroid condition, or even medication.
On a global scale, other than the obvious health issues, the topic of fat is taboo–often used as a weapon to demean someone. It’s called fat shaming, and it’s simply deplorable. Used this way, it’s intent is to make fun of, belittle, or degrade others.
The purpose of this article is to focus on the subject of fat and fat percentage in a purely clinical since.
Medically speaking, fat is defined as “any of a group of natural esters of glycerol and various fatty acids, which are solid at room temperature out of the main constituents of animal and vegetable fat.”
I know, I know … you felt your eyes rolling to the back of your head just reading that definition.
I get it. And I promise to keep this article really simple and easy to read. You won’t need a biology degree or science major to read the rest of this article, I assure you.
To help with that, here’s another definition of fat, “a natural oily or greasy substance occurring in animal bodies, especially when deposited as a layer under the skin or around certain organs.”
To make it even easier than that, fat is the soft part of your body that feels squishy, which is obviously not muscle.
Technically, there are 3 types of fat: 1) fat under the skin, (subcutaneous), 2) fat around the organs, (visceral, or intra-abdominal), and 3) fat in-between muscle tissue, like marbled steak, (intramuscular).
The most dangerous of these is considered to be intra-abdominal … the fat around your vital organs, such as your liver, kidney’s, and intestines.
That’s why the figures in this article show more weight being carried in the stomach area, than in the hips, butt or thighs.
For more than aesthetic appeal, this article is about your health, longevity and quality-of-life.
That said, you can have too little body fat as well as too much.
Either way, when you’re out of balance in your body, (as Henry S. Lodge, M.D. says in his book, Younger Next Year), that’s what we call decay.
Too much body fat = decay. Too little body fat = decay.
So, obviously, you must control it if you can.
Let’s get down to it.
First of all, let’s get a 3D, 3-sided overview of different body fat percentages ranging from a very lean, 10-12% body fat, all the way up to 50%.
Again, as you can see, when I had these images made, I asked the artist to create a 5’5”, thirty-something woman carrying most of the weight in her stomach and hip areas, and not so much in the butt and thighs.
I did this because a woman who carries her body fat evenly across her body is actually considered healthier than one who carries it primarily in her stomach region.
Keep in mind every woman will carry her weight differently.
Next, let’s take a look at a female body fat percentage (Jackson & Pollock) measurement chart.
As you look at the models and the measurement chart, see if you can dial in where you feel you currently fit.
Keep in mind there is some overlapping in transitioning between body fat percentage categories.
Now let’s look at what each of these body fat percentages mean.
What to do next.
First, keep in mind that your body is a very complicated organism, and not everyone will fit into the above categories neatly.
You are an individual, after all, with your own bone density, blood volume, fitness level, height, weight and dietary habits.
Second, sometimes the very best thing you can do is to look in the mirror and determine if you feel good about your height, weight and fitness level.
Should you feel you are overweight, not as healthy as you know can be, and don’t feel like you are living up to your potential, maybe it’s time to get it right so that you can get on with your life.
Third, if you need help, please feel free to give us a call.
The Training Spot enjoys the reputation as being the most trusted source of private personal training in Huntington Beach.
With three locations in Orange County, (in town, at the beach, and in Costa Mesa) we’ve been voted the best personal trainers and the best weight loss program by CitySearch.
We offer semi-private personal training, a boot camp we call Push Fitness, and we are the founders of The TakeDown ChallengeTM, and The TakeDown Lifestyle Programs – two stellar weight loss programs that have swept the country and are now in 55 locations across the U.S.
And now we want to help you.
It’s why we are here. It’s what we do. It’s what we live for.
Our goal is simple, to help you reach yours.
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