Taking to Instagram recently, she announced: “Body fat percentage achieved. Now time to sculpt this machine. Can you tell me I’m obsessed?” as she shared a video in which she could be seen training her back.
Here’s why body fat percentage matters
Body fat percentage is one of the key indicators of an individual’s health condition, said Bala Krishna Reddy Dabbedi, a fitness expert and co-founder, director at Fittr. “A high body fat percentage may put one at a higher risk of lifestyle diseases. A body fat percentage of 15 or lower is recommended for males, while a body fat percentage of 25 or lower is recommended for females,” he told indianexpress.com.
When on your fitness journey, it is important to exercise regularly, make diet tweaks, and sleep well to achieve your weight loss goals. In addition, it is also important to build muscle which can happen only by reducing body fat percentage.
In September 2000, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study stating that body fat percentage may be a better measure of risk of weight-related diseases than body mass index, according to WebMD.
Experts say that the key to weight loss is to go on calorie deficit which means eating fewer calories than one expends. By doing so along with regular exercise, one can lose body fat as the body tends to burn fat reserves when it takes in fewer calories. However, too fewer calories sans carbohydrates can lead to loss of fluids and muscle, not fat. In this case, the body fat percentage tends to go up which is not considered healthy.
According to Dabbedi, “weight is the sum of fat, muscle, blood, water and our organs”. “Fat loss refers to weight loss from fat, and it’s a more specific and healthful goal than weight loss,” he said.
Giving an example, Dr Aparna Govil Bhasker, laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon, Saifee Hospital, Apollo Spectra, Namaha and Currae Hospitals, Mumbai explained, “Two different people of the same height and same age may weigh the same, and can also have the same BMI but their fat and muscle content can be different. One can have more muscle and less fat and vice versa in the case of the other.”
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, it is important to lose weight slowly which means about half to one pound per week with maximum fat loss, and minimum muscle loss. “Many weight loss programs claim to help you lose weight quickly and easily. However, it’s important to realize that a significant amount of this weight may include water and muscle. Losing muscle can be detrimental, as muscle is a crucial component of your overall health and muscles help us gain/retain enough functional strength,” Dabbedi noted.
What are the benefits?
Dabbedi stressed that scientific evidence has shown that maintaining a healthy percentage of muscle has several benefits, such as regulating healthy blood sugar levels, having a control on PCOS/PCOD, and also helps in staying away from common lifestyle disorders. “While your goal is to lose weight, prioritise fat loss over just weight loss,” he added.
How to measure body fat percentage?
According to Dabbedi,
– Online calculators such as on Fittr App – body fat calculator)
– Skinfold callipers
– A DEXA or BCA (Body Composition Analysis) scan