In order to have a healthy body fat percentage you need to be physically active and follow a nutritious weight loss diet; there is no other way to do it.
On the other hand, an extremely low body composition can be bad for you as well, because if it's too low your body can't sustain optimum chemical activity and the responses required to function.
Keeping within the recommended ranges is an essential factor in living a healthy and balanced life. The average range will be between 16 to 25% fat for women and 12 to 20% fat for men.
Losing weight is all about excess body fat (they're not necessarily the same thing). Most of us measure weight loss by stepping onto our bathroom scales and hoping to see that a pound or two has dropped off. Once you understand body composition you’ll see why this isn’t really the best approach.
When you diet you may find that you gain a bit of weight as your fitness level increases. Healthy weight gain occurs because you're displacing the fat volume with muscle mass, meaning you’ll weigh the same or even a bit more but you’ll look slimmer because you're creating a leaner you.
If your scale isn’t showing a drop in weight don't be discouraged; it is a good thing if you know you're sticking to your diet and fitness plan; the lesson here is that the bathroom scale isn’t always the ideal way to monitor your progress.
The best way to measure your weight loss success is to focus on body fat percentage.
There are several ways to do this, some more convenient and more accurate than others.
Skin calipers (carried out by an experience professional) measure several skin folds on the body which vary depending on the methodologies the health professional uses.
A higher body fat percentage usually means more health related problems associated with the back, ankles and knees, all painful problems that are virtually impossible to correct without a reduction of body fat and weight.
Even worse, high body fat levels can lead to heart disease and other health related issues.
Some body fat is necessary for a healthful body. It is vital for insulation, organ cushioning and nerve conduction. If you believe that starving yourself is the best way to lose weight without being active, you're way off base and are more than likely doing yourself more harm than good.
The fact is that muscle mass is usually the first thing that you lose on a low calorie diet if you don't exercise. Low calorie diets without exercise will result in muscle loss instead of fat loss, defeating the purpose.
The more muscle you have, the more body fat you’ll burn.
That doesn’t mean you have to be a body builder in order to burn fat, it just means that whatever you weigh, you want your body to have a greater percentage of muscle than fat.
When you lose more muscle than fat, you lose the factor that is essential when it comes to burning fat.
Instead of focusing on the total weight you want to lose as you set your fitness goals, focus instead on your body fat percentage which will give you a more accurate idea of how well you're actually doing.
It is important that our goals also include a healthy and balanced diet with sufficient calories, and a well rounded workout plan that includes both cardio and weight training exercises. By following these steps, you’ll have a healthy body composition with the end results of a healthier, better looking, happier you.