Do you really know what your percent body fat is? Do you know the actual figure and what it means to your health and well-being? If you’ve answered in the affirmative that’s a good start. However, if you’ve never bothered to find out how much body fat you carry, this post will show you how to figure it out. You will also learn the steps you can take today to turn your health around.
In the recent past, there has been an unrelenting focus on weight and weight loss challenges all over media. This has had the effect of making you think that your weight is all that matters. On the contrary, there’s more to being fit and healthy than your weight on the scale.
I’d like you to shift your focus from how much you weigh to the amount of fat in relation to the rest of your body.
In fact, if you’re not happy with the way your clothes fit, you should appropriately say you’re over fat and not overweight. Remember, you can weigh more on the scale, but you can be very lean and healthy at that weight. Alternatively, you can weigh less but with a high body fat level. This means you’re unhealthy than a heavier but leaner person.
Where do you fall?
Below is a visual representation of how one looks at different points on the body fat scale.
You will notice that at 20%, there’s no visible muscle definition. There’s only a hint of separation between the major muscle groups. At 15%, some muscle separation appears but abs are not visible. Below 12%, muscle separation appears and an outline of the abs begin to appear. A pending 4-pack might be visible. Anything above 30% is a wake-up call. Take responsibility and begin the necessary steps to bring it down to acceptable levels.
Take a closer look at these photos and find out where you currently stand. This is a very enlightening exercise because I’m sure there’s no time you’ve ever done it before. You have not done it because it is a painful process. It reminds you of how far you’ve let yourself go beyond control.
Don’t be discouraged by this. Your health and fitness destiny is squarely in your hands. You will be in charge of your health from today onward.
The chart below, courtesy of the American Council on Exercise (ACE), clearly shows a detailed breakdown of body fat percentage range from essential fat to obese.
What You Should Do
Now that you have a clear idea of where you actually stand, the next logical step is to determine your course of action.
Here are simple but effective strategies you can take towards transforming your physique into a more firm, fitter and sexier you for good.
Take a photo of yourself, in clear lighting, the front, back and side preferably in an underwear or bathing suit. Stick that photo somewhere you’ll be able to see it often, either on the fridge or bathroom mirror. Now that you know what your estimated body fat is, set a goal of lowering that by 10 percent in the next few months. If you’re a man and are obese, then aim for 20% and if you’re an obese woman, aim for 25%.
Take a tape measure and measure the following five locations in inches: your upper arm, waist (around the navel), hips (the biggest circumference around your butt), and mid-thigh. Add up these numbers to get Total Inches (TI). Whatever you get, note it down, you’ll be using this number to track your progress.
Start taking photos of your meals just before you eat. To keep yourself on track, share those pictures with your social network group that has the same goals as yours or with your accountability partner(s). Keep doing this and something interesting will happen.
You will start to be conscious of whatever food you eat, and your portions will, as a result, reduce dramatically. An easy way to determine correct portions is by comparing what you’re about to eat with the size of your palm or fist.
Start by taking tiny baby steps and commit to doing something every day to get you closer to your ideal physique. Look at diet and exercise as a test-drive for a week. And then take it one week at a time as opposed to committing to do it for six months or one year.
For example, if you want to start walking for one hour every day, don’t begin with one hour. When you do this, you’ll automatically start imagining how little time you have to be able to fit it in. Instead, start with 10 minutes, and gradually build it up with 5 minutes increments. Before you know it, you’ll have formed an unbreakable habit.
Make a no exceptions rule and keep doing this without fail until you reach your goal.
Find one person to engage in friendly competition with using total inches (TI) lost or percent body fat as a marker for your progress. Use competition drive and fear to your advantage.
It is even more effective to do this in a small tight group. This way, you will challenge, push and motivate each other to keep going. This is especially important during those moments when you feel like you lack the strength and motivation to keep going.
Knowing that you’re in this together with other like-minded people will keep you going and will make your results much more achievable. Embrace peer pressure and use it as a drive to get the body that you want.
Key Take Away
Finally, keep in mind that it’s never too late to start and you’ll never be ready to get started. A higher percent body fat means that you’ve allowed procrastination and indecision to hold you captive for far too long. This is is the time to say “Never Again” and take charge of your life and your health.
If you feel your percent body fat is not where you need it to be and would like to lower it down to acceptable levels, I have a Free Fat Loss Guide to help you out. Download the free guide and transform your body into a lean machine.
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