What Is The Fat Percentage On A Man And A Woman To Get Abs?

Learn the scientific way of how to get abs for both man and woman

By Evelyn
What Is The Fat Percentage On A Man And A Woman To Get Abs?

Fat Percentage And Abs

How many crunches do you think you need to see those abs pop up? Crunches and planks are awesome to make your abs and core muscles stronger but the thing is, your six-pack is not going to show if you have a layer of fat covering it up. Working out and eating clean might do the trick, that's the right way to make yourself lean. The way to showing absolutely amazing abs doesn't have much to do with weight loss, it has to do with your overall body fat percentage.

What is body fat percentage?

You may be wondering what exactly is body fat percentage. What does it mean? Is it the same as your body weight? Will I be able to measure it by standing on the scale? Bodyweight and body fat percentages are not the same. To put it simply, the body fat percentage is the total amount of fat mass your body has, it does not include the weight of your bones, or your organs, or your muscles and body water. Body fat is the combination of two types of fat: essential body fat and storage body fat. 

The essential body fat is the one that protects your organs and joints, is the fat that keeps you warm and for women, it's the one that helps you, with reproduction. On the other hand, there's the storage body fat, which is stored as adipose tissue (this is the visible fat, the one that's noticeable). These two types of fat combined are what makes your body fat percentage.

Is there and ideal body fat percentage for you?

There's no simple answer for that because it'll all depend on your sex, your age, how active you are and what you're aiming to achieve. The ideal body fat percentage is different for men and women, usually, women's' is higher because it is required that way to maintain menstruation and the ability to procreate.

If you're looking to show some abs, you'll be needing a lean body fat percentage. Men will need to achieve a 6 to 9 percentage and women will need to reach a percentage of 16 to 19 in body fat. The percentages go lower for athletes and physically fit people, they demand more of their bodies in terms of activities.

You can compare these percentages with the charts below and you'll see that, in order to reveal your six-pack, the percentages of body fat are way lower than the healthy recommendations.

How to calculate Fat Percentage

Want to know how much body fat you carry in your body? Well, it's not as simple as looking in the mirror or stepping on the dreaded scale. As we stated before, body weight is not the same as body fat, for example, a bodybuilder and a fat person may weight the same but their percentage of body fat is going to be different. Knowing your weight is not going to tell you how much muscle or body fat you have.

You'll have to determine your body fat percentage by using a different method. There's more than one way to determine body fat percentage. You can identify your body fat by six methods.

1. Tape measure

The soft tape measure is the most basic way to measure body fat percentage. The tape measure you use for sewing will do. You can use it to record the circumference measurements of the different parts of your body (they are different for men and women). You will also need your height in inches. 

Here's how you can calculate your body fat percentage using this method:

In the case of men, you need to measure your neck and waist circumference. Then to calculate, subtract your neck value from the abdomen value so that you can determine the circumference value. When you have the number, look it up in the body fat chart for men (like the one shown below) and compare your height against it to estimate your body fat percentage.

For women, you need to take measurements of your neck, waist, and hips. Then you need to add your waist and hip measurements and then subtract the neck measurement, that'll give you your circumference value. Compare this number with the body fat chart for women and compare it to your height. 

This a very easy method to do even at home, but it's not the most accurate.

2. Calipers

The caliper is used to do a skin-fold test where you pinch different areas of your body to measure body fat. Most people use the three-site approach to measure body fat. For men, measure fat at your chest, abdominals, and thighs. For women, measure your triceps, your hips (an inch above them), and your thighs. You can use an online skinfold calculator to convert the numbers so you can have the results.

Measure on your right side for consistency.

3. Body Fat Scale

Body Fat Scale with Fitness APP

Your body weight scale may estimate your body fat if it comes with various functions. A body fat scale uses a technology called bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) and it works this way: When you step on the scale an electrical current passes through one of your legs, it goes up to your hip and then it comes down through your other leg. Fat conducts far less electricity than muscle and water when the scale picks up more resistance it records more possible body fat.

The scale combines all the other data you entered (height, weight, age, gender) and it uses an equation to provide the result.

4. Hydrostatic Weight

This weighting method uses Hydrodensitometry where you sit in a chair, undressed, and that chair is then submerged in water. Here your underwater body density or weight is recorded as your body places a buoyant counterforce on the water, displacing it. That weight recorded is used to calculate body fat percentage. As of today, this method is considered the most accurate to measure body fat percentage.

5. Air displacement plethysmography

Here you enter in the BOD POD, a  computerized egg-shaped chamber that's going to enclose your whole body. First, your body density is determined through your weight and volume, then, this data is used by the machine to calculate your body fat percentage. This method matches Hydrodensitometry in its accuracy.

6. MRI or CT Scans

If you want the most accuracy for measuring your body fat percentage you'll have to use magnetic resonance imagery (MRI) or a Computerized technology scan. Both machines take cross-sectional images of your body and they can even determine your intra-abdominal fat. They're not usually used to determine body fat percentage because they are very expensive methods.

Fat Percentage Chart And Calculator

Another method of measurement to know your body fat percentage is by using a calculator. It's really easy because you don't need any special equipment or tools or an appointment with a specialist.

How can you use a body fat calculator? It's pretty easy but you have to be sure you take good measurements. Make them as accurate as possible, using a soft and flexible tape measure made of cloth or fiberglass. Also, be sure to take your measurements first thing in the morning and when you take them, hold the tape firmly against your skin but not so tight as to leave an indentation.

You'll need the following data: 

Men

  • Current weight 
  • Waist measure (hold the tape at the level of your belly button and don't hold your breath or suck in when you take the measurement.
Women
  • Current weight
  • Waist circumference (the same recommendation as men)
  • Wrist circumference
  • Hip circumference (hold the tape measure at the largest part of your hips, where you behind extend back)
  • Forearm circumference (don't flex your arm and take the measurement at the largest part of your arm)

When you finished taking your measurements just input all the data on the body fat calculator and hit calculate,

If you're using the caliper method, you can use this calculator.

When you have your results you'll need to compare them to know if your body fat is ideal, or if it is lower or higher. There are different charts that you can use. One of the most commonly used is the one formulated by the American Council of Exercise (ACE)

If you're using the caliper as a method to measure your body fat, then you can compare your results with the Jackson & Pollock chart.

Influencers with crazy abs and workout programs

Today you can find on social media (Instagram and Youtube) many fitness pros that have become influencers. Fitness gurus that have filled their feeds with information and workout programs so you can have the same crazy abs they show on their images and videos. 

Want to know who they are? We'll give you some names, so you can follow them and start to get in shape too. 

Kayla Itsines

Kayla has more than 11K followers on her Instagram account, making her a top fitness influencer. She founded The Bikini Body Training Company and wrote the Bikini Body Guide. She usually posts healthy meals, daily workouts, and fitness inspiration.

Michelle Lewin

Michelle has more than 13 million followers on her Instagram account. She's a model/bodybuilder from Venezuela that has her own gym wear, as well as meal plans and workout plans. 

Joe Wicks

Joe's a British fitness trainer known as The Body Coach. His Instagram feed is full of client transformations, workout videos, and food. He has his own 90-day program with meals and workouts.

Massy Arias

Massy is a health coach with her own line of supplements called Tru Supplements. Her Instagram feed is full of fun and inspirational content for those looking to get fitter.

Simeon Panda

Simeon is one to the top fitness influencers, with more than 5 million followers on Instagram, he has made a name for himself being a bodybuilder inspiration. 

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Summary

If you're trying to lose weight and aiming to show some amazing abs it's essential that you know your body fat percentage and how much of it you need to have a healthy life to avoid health issues like obesity, diabetes or heart attacks.

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