Body composition measurements provide insight into the percentage of body weight that is fat-free tissue versus fat. Fat-free tissue refers to weight of muscles, bones, waste, connective tissues, organs and teeth. While fat includes essential and non-essential fat. Taking body composition measurements upfront helps understand current levels of body fat.
They also come into play when designing a program. Body composition measurements are valuable for monitoring progress over the course of your journey and staying motivated. There isn’t an accepted standard for body fat percentages. However body fat within 10-20% for men and 15-25% for women are the ideal.
Body fat measurements can be done via a skinfold test, bioelectrical impedance device or with hydrostatic weighing. Skinfold tests require a skinfold caliper, a friend and something to record your data. Bioelectrical impedance can be done via a portable device or a smart scale. Hydrostatic weighing is quite expensive and requires special equipment.
Body circumference measurements are another type of measurement that helps fitness enthusiasts set benchmarks and track progress. They record the circumference of the body clueing in on fat patterns, fat distribution, growth of body parts and waist-to-hip ratio.
Lastly, Body Mass Index or BMI is another body composition measurement. BMI isn’t designed to assess body fat; it is a rough assessment on a person’s weight in proportion to one’s height. Elevated BMI typically indicates obesity and a risk of disease. Those with the lowest risk for disease fall within a BMI range of 22 to 24.9. This is not a concrete and definite measurement as those above and below that range can be just as at risk as those within the range.