If you want to quickly calculate percent body fat, the Body Fat Calculator on this page is just what you need.
It calculates your body fat percentage based on basic body measurements and gives you the answer instantly.
The formula used by this calculator is the same one used by the U.S. Navy to measure the body fat percentage of recruits. The accuracy isn't perfect, but it should be close.
Use this calculator if you want a quick and easy (but not perfectly accurate) way to track your fat loss. All you need is a tape measure; no fancy calipers or electronic devices needed.
The calculator is accurate enough that you can use it to track how much fat you lose during your diet. As a simple plan, you could:
Calculate your body fat percentage today.
Set a short-term or long-term body fat goal.
Check your progress once or twice a month.
For example, your goal could be to have less than 20% body fat within 3 months. Or, get down to 25% body fat within 6 months. You get the idea.
Before you can set a goal, you need to know where you are now. So the first thing to do is calculate what your body fat percentage is today.
Okay, so how do you use this to calculate percent body fat? Before you start, be sure to have a tape measure handy. Then enter the following in the calculator:
Click the "Male" or "Female" option button.
Click either the "Centimetres" or "Inches" radio button depending on how you are going to take your measurements.
In the "Height" box, enter how tall you are with no shoes on (in centimetres or inches depending on what your selected in step 2 above).
Using a tape measure, measure the distance around the middle of your neck. Enter this measurement in the "Neck" box.
Now measure the distance around your waist (passing over your belly button). Enter this in the "Waist" box.
For women only, measure around your hips at the widest point. Enter this measurement in the "Hips" box.
Click the "Calculate" button.
If you follow the steps above, your current body fat percentage will appear in the "Body Fat" box. Write this down somewhere, perhaps in a small notebook or calendar to track your progress. Every couple of weeks or maybe just once a month, calculate your body fat again and write it down.
Since this tool is only for doing quick calculations using simple measurements, it isn't as exact as fancier body fat measuring tools. It just gives you a rough idea of where you are and which direction you are heading (which is very useful).
If knowing your body fat percentage is too discouraging, please don't use this tool. But if you like the idea of having something to aim for that isn't too complicated to use, this might just be your thing!
Note: "Body fat percentage" is different from "Body Mass Index" (BMI), another term you may have heard. These are two different ways of measuring body fat amount.
There are at least two other methods you can use to determine your body fat percentage. One way to calculate percent body fat and get a more accurate answer than through body measurements as above is to use a bioelectrical impedance scale.
The bioelectrical impedance scale resembles a regular scale to weigh yourself, but it sends a small electrical current through your body. And no, it doesn't shock you.
The resistance that the electrical current encounters tells the scale how much of your body is composed of fat, lean mass, and water. The device then calculates your body fat from that information.
I have one of these scales and use it quite often. You can find them at various price ranges. My cheap one cost about $40.
For the most accurate measurement of body fat, talk to a personal trainer or fitness consultant about caliper measurements. The caliper looks like a big pincher.
The person taking the measurement uses the caliper to pinch your fat in certain locations (such as at the waist), then calculates percent body fat from that.
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