What the female body looks like at different body fat percentages
Wow take a look at that! Where do you stand? As you can see, as the levels of body fat begin to increase, loss of definition becomes more and more apparent. Don’t take this too close to heart though, because 2 people with the same body fat percent can actually look totally different. See below:
Will 2 people with the same body fat % look the same?
No. It isn’t all about body fat percent, it’s about lean muscle mass too. If these 2 women were the same height, let’s say 5’ 5”, I bet the girl on the left weighs around 118 and the one on the right, 95 lbs. How you build muscle (or not) will determine the your physique. Left girl obviously lifts weights and right girl does not, but the layer of fat from their muscle to skin is the same. Does this make sense? Body fat is just the thickness of the fat you have. Your overall shape is determined by your musculature.
What’s your body fat %?
Above is a great chart that matches up your body fat % with fitness level. The people in “essential fat” are usually Olympic athletes or serious fitness competitors. At this low of a body fat % women will lose their periods completely! I hear that most bikini models are around 14-15%, so that would put them in the “athlete” level.
How to find your body fat percent?
1. Skinfold Measurement (Skin Pinch)
2. Bioelectrical impedance analysis (Handheld/Scale Deviced)
3. Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (Dexa Scan)
4. Height and circumference methods (Measurement Collections)
5. Hydrostatic Testing (Underwater Density Test)
The skin fold test is what I used to determine by body fat percent. You will need a personal trainer or someone who knows how to use calipers to do that for you because he or she will have to pinch your fat and measure the mm of fat thickness in 7 different areas, some of which you will not be able to reach for yourself, like your back.
I know a lot of you may not have access to calipers, a personal trainer, or a gym, so here’s a quick and semi accurate way to see where you stand. This is #4, the height and circumference method - use this online calculator, a scale, and a measuring tape to see where you fall:
[Edit 7/20/2011: A lot of girls were telling me that they got bf%’s in the low 30s when they knew they were around the 20s. Thanks for the call out. For whatever reason that calc seems to be very off. Try this one instead? Although, this is not as accurate as a caliper measurement by a fitness professional!]
Remember, this will not be completely accurate so proceed with caution!
What am I?
In the picture above, I am 17.5% body fat and 118.4 lbs. I’m 5’5”.
Finding a balance…
Don’t get too sucked in by the numbers. What matters is how you look and feel at the end of the day. I know a lot of young girls just want to be 105 lbs and will do anything to get there. (I get so many emails about this…) But remember, if you want to get thin, take into consideration your health as a whole. Think of it as getting FIT not as getting skinny. I love that through my workouts, not only have I achieved a more toned body, but I also have gotten so much stronger!
Some of us want the skinny actress look, others want bigger butts or bigger boobs, while a select few fancy looking like body builders on steroids (see 1st photo). Whatever it is you want, I encourage you to follow through with you goals as long as you feel strong and healthy doing it. Okay? Also, remember to be happy with the journey too. Because what happens when you get to your goal weight and you don’t experience an instant burst of joy like you had always dreamed? Well, that’s why you gotta embrace your healthy lifestyle. Keyword: lifestyle. It doesn’t end when you reach your goal…it becomes your life. So love it now.
1. Sauté—the skinny way! Did you know that a couple of tablespoons of low-sodium vegetable broth can be used instead of oil or butter in your stir fry or as the basis for a sauce? This method will add a nice flavor to your dish as well as a little moisture—and you’ll save calories to use elsewhere! Amazing.
2. Say no to skin. I haven’t eaten skin-on meat since I can remember, so this is a duh for me. Three ounces of chicken breast meat with skin has almost 150 calories; three ounces of chicken without the skin has 50 fewer calories. Yes, skin tastes good but the fat that’s tucked underneath it contains heart-unhealthy saturated fat. You can cook with the skin on to retain moisture (add fresh herbs or citrus zest underneath it to really bake in some flavor), but be sure to remove the skin before you enjoy your meal to save on calories and saturated fat.
3. Squeeze on the citrus. To add a powerful flavor punch with minimal added calories, use citrus on steamed veggies instead of butter or over a salad instead of a dressing. It’s even great on fruit salad in place of sugar and adds some zip when squeezed onto a pasta salad. Don’t forget to use the flavorful zest of citrus fruits as well! Wash a lemon, orange or lime, then use a zester or grater to add the zest to dishes such as baked seafood.
4. Be choosy about cheese. When using a mildly flavored cheese, such as Monterey Jack, you need more cheese to taste it. But when you choose a cheese with intense flavor, you can use less and still get the desired effect. Try a reduced-sodium feta, sharp Cheddar or aged Parmesan next time. Light cheese wedges such as The Laughing Cow brand are useful when you’re watching fat and calories, too. Try mixing one of these soft cheeses into your scrambled eggs or noodle dishes instead of loading on the shredded mozzarella.
5. Go Greek. Tangy, fat-free Greek yogurt is a healthful replacement for sour cream. Try this switch in herbed and spiced dips, tacos, nachos, enchiladas, or throw it in a cooked dish as a thickening agent. You’ll save 45 calories for each 2-tablespoon serving. Whoa!!!
6. Puree your produce. Add body to soups and sauces with pureed vegetables instead of heavy cream, evaporated milk, butter or cheese. This move will also add fiber and nutrients to your dish for very few calories. A puree of carrots will add texture to meatless spaghetti sauce, and mixing a blend of beans into a chili or soup will add flavor and thicken it—all with very few added calories.
7. Get cozy with cottage cheese. When a recipe calls for a significant amount of a crumbled cheese, such as feta or ricotta, substitute half the amount with reduced-fat cottage cheese. This will retain taste, texture, protein, and calcium while ditching some of the fat and calories. This works well for stuffed peppers and most baked pasta dishes.
8. Pump up the veggies! You can easily reach the recommended five servings of fruits and veggies when you’re cooking at home. Veggies can compliment any dish on your menu, adding nutrient-packed bulk to the meal for few calories. Add chopped asparagus and mushrooms to your next omelet, red peppers (or a frozen stir fry mix) to baked casseroles, or any kind of beans to a pasta salad. Include fresh or frozen spinach in pasta sauces and soups, and broccoli in your casseroles. One of my fave things to do is make hamburgers that are literally made 1/3 lean ground turkey and 2/3 celery, onions, and whatever else I have on hand!
9. Cut the cream. When making cream-based soups, sub fat-free half-and-half for any heavy cream. The switch gives the soups a creamy taste and velvety texture without all the saturated fat of heavy cream. This works great in pasta sauces as well.
10. Make your own marinade. Marinate lean meats in vinegar and citrus combos (with a bit of oil added) rather than a pre-made oil-based dressing. You can also try a fruit juice or wine. These agents will still tenderize and flavor the meat, and a mix of herbs and spices will bring out the flavor! (You’ll also save sodium by not using the store-bought varieties!) A really good flavor tip is to try cutting the meat in strips before dousing it to really let the marinade take effect.
Article from: SparkPeople
Yesterday I was having a “fat day” and decided to wear a top that I reserve only for such occasions. For those of you who don’t know what a fat day is, it’s when you feel extra bloated from having a food baby (aka you ate way too much and look preggers), from being on your period, or eating something that simply puffs you up! For me, I’ve been recently overdosing on those high protein egg white pancakes that I blogged about a couple days ago. I’m in love with them. I’ve been having them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Too much whey protein for a semi lactose intolerant person. My body is saying no, no, no…(Christina Aguilera circa Genie in a Bottle anyone!?)
Anyway…I bought this top several months ago, I call it my “fat shirt”, but really it’s a cute fitness top with a bubble hem that is very figure friendly. I think I’ve only worn this top 3 times since I got it because I prefer wearing my tighter tops which allow me to see when I’m bringing my belly button in to my spine during Pilates. I’m not a big fan of the shirt because it makes me lose shape in my waist completely. I only bring it out when I have to. But last night I was surprised to receive several compliments on it even though I wasn’t feeling my best.
Fat days will land on workout days and I want to thank the fitness fashion world for giving us the bubble hem and the baby doll alternative to the slim fitting camis and tanks. Feeling bloated makes it harder to workout physically but looking/feeling bad in your gym clothes makes it THAT much worse. For me, I love dressing up to go to the gym (dress to impress, you never know who you’re gonna meet right?) and no fat day can take me down.
These forgiving tops are also great for people who don’t feel comfortable in tight clothes (maybe you’re on a weight loss journey) but still want to be a stylish exerciser.
Regardless of what you wear to the gym on any given day, I think we can all agree how amazing it feels to be able to wear that one shirt that you reserve for “skinny days” (aka when you look and the mirror and for some reason, you just look leaner and feel stronger! Love skinny days…) I strive to have these good days everyday, so that’s why my fitness closet is expanding a little too rapidly!
Look in the mirror when you have your next fat or skinny day and appreciate everything that your body lets you do. It lets you lift heavier weights. Hold poses longer. Reach a little farther. Sometimes it will react in weird ways to tell you that something you’re doing simply isn’t working. (Like how I need to stop eating these high protein egg white pancakes 3x/day) But in the end, we adjust, get smarter and get stronger. In the adjustment period, be grateful for bubble hems and babydolls. And guess what, no one even cares about your fat day! They can’t even tell! They’ll probably even tell you they like your shirt ;)
So get your butt to the gym and work out as hard as you can, fat or skinny.
Question: Do you guys have your fat days and skinny days? Do you have special clothes that you wear for such occasions?
On vanity sizing…“A woman with a 32-inch bust would have worn a Size 14 in Sears’s 1937 catalog. By 1967, she would have worn an 8, Ms. Zulli found. Today, she would wear a zero.” -New York Times
If you haven’t noticed already, there seems to be no standard in women’s sizing. It’s hard to just pick up a pair of jeans and be confident that it should fit you like any other pair. That’s not the case. Over the years, clothing companies have been vanity sizing their clothes so that women can feel better and pay more for their clothing (as clearly illustrated in that picture above!).The article says that a woman with a 27” waist is an 8 or 10 in Marc Jacob’s high end line and a triple zero at Chico’s.
Do you find yourself trying to squeeze into a smaller dress size than normal? Are you more likely to buy a size 2 instead of a 4 just because the 2 can zip up now? I think its a marketing tactic but it works on some level, especially when at lot of women try to stay away from the scale and use clothing tightness as their weight gain/loss gauge. This could give a very false sense of weight loss. Use your OLD jeans! Don’t buy new ones as your fit test pants! And please use your scale, your measuring tape, and get your body fat % checked. That’s the best way to see if you’re actually gaining muscle and losing fat through your diets and workouts.
Try not to be so swayed by the number on the pant. Nobody knows what you’re wearing but you anyway. Buy what fits and makes YOU look GOOD. Regardless of what Marc Jacobs or J. Crew says, I would much rather wear a larger pair of jeans than try to squeeze into a smaller pair with a muffin top. (Eek!)
How many of you take group exercise classes? I think they are the best way you can get your money’s worth at a gym. These are fitness professionals who basically are as close to “personal training” as you can get without paying extra. They are there for you, motivating you, fixing your form, and making sure you get a good workout. Take a class at your gym! Try Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, Kickboxing, Tai Chi, BODYPUMP, Bootcamp! It is a fun way to meet people and a great way to learn something new. Change up the routine and take a group exercise class! And if you’re in Boston, come take my Pilates class at BSC!
A lot of the reason why some instructors have really high attendance versus really low or mediocre attendance is because of the personality of the instructor. In addition to being professional and knowing their stuff, is he or she infectious? Open? Motivating? People come back because they like seeing, hearing, and being around their instructor. I’ve made so many good friends and built strong relationships by getting to know my students before, during, and after class. It’s one of the best perks of my job. I love teaching!!! And I love my students!!!
So with that said, here is a funny blog post I found about the types of instructors that you may encounter at the gym. Some of these people may just be starting out, so cut them some slack and try attending again in 6 months. But if they are still continuing to bore you/scare you/intimidate you then I think we have a bigger issue at hand!
1. The Perpetual Screamer Characteristics:- can’t survive without screaming or yelling their heads off into the mike,- somehow believes that everyone else is hard of hearing, except Self,- loves hearing own voice projections through the mike,- leaves everyone with a earache or headache by the end of the class.
2. The Sound-Blaster Characteristics:- close cousin of the ‘screamer’,- has a knack of upping the volume of the sound system to MAXIMUM,- addicted to the sound of LOUD music BLARING away in the background - somehow equates teaching ability to LOUDNESS of music,- major cause of long-term hearing loss for unfortunate participants.
3. The Energizer BunnyCharacteristics:- full of energy; never seems to tire,- expects ALL class participants to be of the SAME fitness level as self,- conducts classes at ALL-OUT intensity,- chides anyone who fails to keep up with the class tempo,- fails to take into account new participants or those with lower fitness levels.
4. The RegurgitatorCharacteristics:- regurgitates the SAME choreography or SAME music umpteen times, - simply too lazy or too indifferent to source for NEW routines/music,- convinced that participants do not mind familiarity or repetition,- number ONE cause of class boredom for participants.
5. The Absolute Disaster Characteristics:- CAN’T seem to remember exercise steps or choreography,- CAN”t seem to follow musical beats,- doesn’t know how to cue or instruct an exercise class, - afraid of standing in front of class,- looks confused and lost,- leaves participants confused and lost.
6. The Sophisticator Characteristics:- loves to use sophisticated and complex steps in choreography,- more concerned with ‘impressing’ people than anything else,- self-absorbed in own ‘performance’ in front of class , - cannot understand why class has difficulty following the routine,- gets irked by members who seem ‘lost’ during the routine.
7. The Out-Of-Shape Instructor Characteristics:- often underweight/overweight/unfit,- in worse physical condition than some class participants,- often out-of-breath and in need of breaks while leading the class,- in denial of own physical state.
Content borrowed from: http://singaporefitness.wordpress.com/2010/12/01/singapores-worst-aerobics-and-group-exercise-instructors/