Craig Leonard

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Using Calipers To Calculate Body Fat Percentage (And How Much Fat You Need To Lose To See Your Abs)

Craig Leonard September 12, 2014

Have you ever wondered what your body fat percentage is or how much fat you need to lose to start seeing your abs?

I want to share with you a simple way to determine how much body fat you need to lose to get ripped abs, or achieve any body fat percentage goal, for that matter.

Knowing when your abs will be visible for all to admire isn’t an exact science. As a general rule, men will have visible abs at 12-15% body fat and women at 13-16%. These are ballpark figures that are accurate for most.

That said, if you can’t see your abs it’s because you have fat covering them and need to lose it before they will be visible.

In order to determine how much fat you’ll need to lose to meet this criteria you’ll obviously first need to figure out how much fat you’re starting with.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine your body fat percentage with 100% accuracy without paying to have your composition professionally tested. Fortunately, though, not having a perfect starting body fat measurement isn’t a deal breaker as a set of skin calipers will get you close enough.

I recommend the AccuMeasure brand of calipers. They are affordable and come with instructions and a handy reference chart to use for determining your current body fat %.

Once you know your body fat percentage, determining the amount of fat you’ll need to lose to reach any body fat percentage is fairly straightforward.

First, you will weigh yourself immediately after waking up and after emptying your bladder. It is most accurate for you to also use your calipers to measure your body fat at this time as well.

You will then multiply your body weight by your determined body fat percentage to calculate your fat mass.

Once you’ve calculated your fat mass, the difference between your body weight and fat mass will give you your lean mass.

If your head is starting to spin, don’t worry; I’m going to run through an example that you can follow with your own numbers.

Here is an example of calculating fat mass and lean mass for a man weighing 200lbs at 15% body fat:

Current Fat Mass = 200lbs x 0.15 = 30lbs of fat

Current Lean Mass = 200lbs – 30lbs = 170lbs

I apologize in advance, but I have to get a little nerdy on you and allow my engineering background to come out. Yes, I created the below equations myself from scratch. And, yes, I realize it’s time to remove the pocket protector.

Here is the equation you will use to calculate the amount of fat mass you will have on your body for any goal body fat %:

Goal Fat Mass Equation

Here is what calculating the goal fat mass at 10% body fat would look like using our above example of the 200lb dude currently at 15% body fat with 170lbs of lean mass:

Goal Fat Mass Equation 2

Once you have your goal fat mass you can calculate your goal body weight by adding your lean mass to your calculated goal fat mass as follows:

Goal Body Weight Calculation

Here it is continuing with our example:

Goal Body Weight Calculation 2

If you have a long way to go to reach your goal, I recommend reassessing the situation periodically as changes in lean mass (i.e. muscle mass) will impact this calculation.

However, over the course of a month or two it shouldn’t change enough to make a drastic difference for those of us who believe in improving our physique naturally.

If you’re not mathematically inclined, don’t get overwhelmed by the formulas.

Just go through the process using your personal numbers and you’ll have a good idea of how much fat you’ll need to lose to reach your goal body fat %.

If you have any questions about calculating the amount of fat you need to lose to reach your goal body fat %, feel free to drop me a comment below.

For a free plan that will torch the fat off your body, and enable you to reach your goal body fat as fast as possible, enter your email in the signup form below and you’ll receive my ‘Round the Clock Fat Loss system in your email inbox within a matter of seconds.

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