How to Measure Your Body Fat…

One of the most important elements of getting results that most people miss, is a way to track their progress. Now, I know that sounds rather silly, but you need to know where you are right now in order to ensure that you are moving in the right direction towards your goals.

There are many ways to track your progress:

  • scale weight, centimeter (circumference) measurements, fitness tests, body fat measurements, the way your clothes fit, and many more…

I quite like tracking body fat.

So, how do we do this?

There are some really fancy (and expensive) ways to do this that produce the most accurate results, including DEXA scans and Hydrostatic weighing. But, most of us do not have access to these fancy methods and need something that we can do ourselves and in the comfort of our own homes. So, here is my favourite:

Get yourself a tape measure and perform a few quick circumference measurements:

If you’re a guy:

  • Neck
  • Waist – this measurement is actually at your “Abdomen” (at belly button level)

If you’re a lady:

  • Neck
  • Waist (narrowest part – above your belly button)
  • Hips (widest part)

You will also need your height in centimetres. Then simply feed that info into the calculator below.

Body Fat Calculator


Some would argue that it is not the most accurate predictor as it does not measure body fat directly. But, it does often measure the areas where most people either want to or need to lose body fat (abdomen and hips). And when you lose in these areas, your body fat measurement improves. It is also really simple and cost effective and so it makes a lot of practical sense to utilise this method.

If however, you have a bit of money to spend, you could go and visit a health or fitness professional and have a skin fold caliper reading performed. Or if for some reason you need a super accurate reading, you could go the hydrostatic weighing or dexa scan route.

For me, though, I like to keep things simple and practical and will continue using my tape measure and calculator. Below are some guidelines against which you can assess your results:

Age-Adusted Body Fat Percentage


Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 21% 21-33% 33-39% Over 39%
41-60 yrs Under 23% 23-35% 35-40% Over 40%
61-79 yrs Under 24% 24-36% 36-42% Over 42%


Age Underfat Healthy Range Overweight Obese
20-40 yrs Under 8% 8-19% 19-25% Over 25%
41-60 yrs Under 11% 11-22% 22-27% Over 27%
61-79 yrs Under 13% 13-25% 25-30% Over 30%

Source: Gallagher et al. Am J Clin Nut 2000; 72:694-701


And, if you want some help to lose body fat and get a firmer, flatter tummy, then check out the resource below (absolutely FREE):


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