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Knowing your estimated body fat is important to understanding your overall body composition. By using our body fat percentage calculator, you can get an easy (and accurate) read on your body fat, and start improving your health.

Below, we'll tell you everything you need to know about body fat, including how to calculate it and the role it plays in your wellness.


Why use a body fat percentage calculator?

High body fat can lead to a slew of unpleasant health conditions. If you'd like to avoid them, it's important to determine your body fat estimate and if it's high, learn how to improve it.

Your body fat percentage is calculated based on a variety of factors such as your age, bodily measurements, and gender.

A body fat calculator is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine this. With regular use it can also be a helpful tool to track your progress on fitness efforts.

What is body fat?

Body fat is a type of mass found in your muscle tissues under your skin, and around your organs. Some of this fat is essential fat, which is needed to protect your internal organs. It also helps you store fuel for energy, and helps your body regulate important hormones.

While body fat is essential, an overabundance of fat and non-essential body fat can be detrimental to your health. Excess body fat put you at risk for a myriad of medical conditions such as:

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Sleep apnea

The higher your body fat percentage, the greater your risk.

What should my body fat percentage be?

Women are expected to have a higher body fat percentage because of their hormones, breasts, and other physiological differences like sex organs.

Men and women also differ in their essential fat percentage, which is the minimum amount of fat needed to be physically healthy.


The American Council on Exercise created a body fat percentage chart that outlines the ideal body fat percentage for men and women based on their activity level.

There are also specific body fat guidelines for men and women who are interested in joining the Army.


The average ideal body fat percentage for men is between 18-24%, and anything above that is considered obese.


For women, the acceptable range is between 25-31%, and anything beyond 32% is obese.

How can I estimate my body fat?

Now that you know what is considered healthy for body fat, let's hop into some different calculation methods available for estimating your body fat. A body fat percentage calculator is a great starting point, but it's not your only option.

Skin Calipers

Skin fold calipers are the most common way to measure overall body fat percentage.

With this method, a technichian pinches several different areas of your skin with a device called a skin caliper. This allows them to measure the thickness of skin folds for areas like your chest, arms, and thighs.

The technician then plugs in this information into a formula, which spits out your estimated body fat percentage.

The Pros

What's great about skin calipers is that they're pretty cheap, so you can easily buy them and perform at-home testing.

It's also possible that your gym has them on hand, so ask a personal trainer or staff member if they'd be willing to perform this assessment for you.

The Cons

The main drawback of skin calipers is that it's easy to use them incorrectly, and so chances are high that you'll end up with the wrong results.

Using skin calipers takes a lot of practice, so make sure you educate yourself on how to use them, or ask someone with experience to help you out.

Bioelectrical Impedance

Bioelectrical impedance involves sending tiny electrical pulses through your body to measure your body fat. This process can be either done with a normal scale that has electrodes under each foot, or it can be done with a more complex hand-held machine.

How quickly those impulses are returned will determine how fatty your tissue is.

The Pros

Like skin calipers, these devices are relatively cheap, and many standard weight scales have this technology built into them. It's also very easy to use, so you don't need to be trained to use it.

If you don't have this device on hand, you can ask your local gym or personal trainer if they have a device you can use (although you may have to pay to use it).

The Cons

The main drawback of this device is that it doesn't always offer the most accurate of reads. In fact, readings can be skewed by things such as hydration level, eating, and exercise.

If you're going to use this body fat estimate option try to take readings at the same time each day, and have a set protocol you follow.

Hydrostatic Weighing

This body fat estimate option actually involves going underwater. Hydrostatic weighing, also known as underwater weighing, compares someone's normal bodyweight to their body weight under water.

The technician than uses those two weights as well as the density of the water to calculate your density and then your estimated body composition.

The Pros

What's great about this option is that it's incredibly accurate. There's a very low percentage of error, and this option is currently referred to as the gold standard for measuring body composition.

The Cons

This method generally involves you needing to go to a lab or a performance center to get a reading. It's also a more expensive option than the ones listed above.

If you're someone who is uncomfortable with being completely submerged underwater this can be a slightly uncomfortable experience.

How can I lose body fat?

Are you worried your body fat composition is bad or too high given your gender or age? Try out some of these healthy fat loss techniques to keep your body composition in check.

Strength Train & Do Cardio

By adding weights into your exercise routine, you can become stronger and leaner. You can also increase your metabolism, which will help you burn more fat.

Just remember to balance that out with cardio after strength training to eliminate stubborn fat.

Change Your Diet

Try to eat natural whole foods as much as possible and, if possible, avoid overly processed foods or sugary drinks or desserts.

Try to have five to six smaller meals a day instead of just three, and always track your calorie intake.

It can also help to plan and cook your meals ahead of time.

Stay Consistent

Keep in mind that your body fat composition won't change overnight. Consistency is key.

Commit to your goal and do all that you can to be as healthy as possible. Be sure to check back regularly to use the body fat percentage calculator and see your progress.

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