SAME WEIGHT, HEIGHT, AND FRAME, BUT DIFFERENT BUILD? WHAT GIVES?!
It seems that finding realistic fitness inspiration can be a daunting task if you're say over 5'6". However, you press on and scour the internet and Instagram looking for someone who can be your "body goals." Then one day, JACKPOT, you find her. She's your same height and weight, she even carries her weight in her thighs like you do. You decide to save a couple of her pictures to your phone as inspiration for when you're craving too many Oreo cookies. Then you start doing the math in your head. Wait a minute, she's your same height and weight but she's leaner and defined overall?
Well, the answer is simple my friend, body fat percentage and body fat distribution determine your appearance of leanness and definition, not necessarily your weight. A higher body fat percentage yields a softer frame, while a lower body fat percentage reveals more muscle and therefore yields a more defined frame. That's it in a nutshell, but let's get into the nitty gritty of what this really means.
What Is Body Fat Percentage?
Your body fat percentage is the ratio of fat on your body compared to everything else. The everything else is comprised of muscle, bone, hair, water poop, etc. Therefore, lower your body fat percentage the less fat you have on your body versus everything else at any given time. The higher your body fat percentage the more fat you have on your body than everything else.
Body Fat Distribution...
This largely depends on your genetics. Women tend to carry fat in their lower body and love handles, while men do in their stomachs. Aside from that, some women are pear shaped, others apple, and some hourglass. In each of those instances, women tend to carry their body fat differently. All of these nuances mean that the appearance of your body will always be wonderfully and uniquely you.
Ways to Determine Body Fat Percentage
There are a few methods to determine body fat percentage, and frankly, all of them have their flaws. The skin fold caliper method is perhaps most common because it's low cost and consistent. However, it can be difficult to get accurate measurements without someone's assistance.
Various fat loss testers and body fat percentage scales are on the market. They work by passing an imperceptible electrical signal through the whole body to calculate the amount of water in your body. The signal passes through muscle mass, fat mass, and bone mass differently, thus allowing you to calculate your body fat percentage from home.
The accuracy of the majority of the body fat testing methods on the market has been called into question at one time or another. So the trick is to focus less on the number itself, and more on the how your body fat percentage changes. For example, if you get a reading of 22% body fat, then 19.5% two months later, neither number may be accurate however you know you've lost 2.5% body fat.
How to Lower Body Fat Percentage
Body fat percentage is how much fat you have on your body compared to muscle, bone, water, hair, poop etc. The two components which affect your body fat percentage that you can impact are fat and muscle. That being said, there are two ways to change your body fat percentage. You can either add more muscle or you can shed more fat. Adding quality muscle to your frame naturally is a long hard process. So to speed up the process most people focus on a mix of both shedding body fat and adding muscle. Eating a diet that promotes muscle retention, yet is the right amount of calories to spur fat loss is the way to go. This means consuming at least 1g of protein for every pound you weigh while eating at a caloric deficit.
So there you have it. Now go put your scale on final notice because it never tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth!