Weight Loss Vs Fat Loss: Calculating Body Fat Composition

body fat composition

The words “weight loss” are thrown around a lot, and when someone states that weight loss is their goal, you can almost be sure that they mean “fat loss.” Yes, there is a significant difference between the two, and we’ll explain what the differences are so you can better understand how to calculate your body fat composition.

Why You Weigh What You Weigh

Your weight can be a big indicator of your fitness level. As you workout to “lose weight,” you may, in fact, be gaining muscle, and this won’t make the scales budge much at all. That’s because muscle is very dense, made up of small tightly woven fibers and weighing more than fat by volume.

Fat, on the other hand, is comprised of large “fluffy” cells that take up a lot more space in the body than muscle. When you change your body’s composition through fat loss and muscle gain, you can actually weigh more, but appear to be much smaller in size. That’s why the scale is not a good indicator of progress.

Remember This:

1) Weight Loss= Muscle loss + Fat loss + Water Loss
2) Fat Loss= Reduction of stored body fat

Calculating Body Fat Composition

Depending on your level of fitness, your weight comes from the following:

  • Muscle 30-55%
  • Fat 10-30 %
  • Water 10-25%
  • Bone 15%
  • Organs and other tissue 10-15%

The following chart is a description of body fat percentages for men and women by the American Council on Exercise:

body fat

Calculating your body fat composition can be done at your local gym by a trainer, through a body fat caliper (also called a skinfold test), taking measurements, hydrostatic weighing, and even with your own bathroom scale so long as it is the type(BIA) that measures body fat percentage.

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