Press-Republican

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January 1, 2013

Body weight not always the whole story

The new year is here and fitness facilities are packed again.

Like clockwork, everyone begins the new year with at least one resolution.

Many of those who are found in the gym during this time of year fail to reach their fitness goals simply because they are not focusing on what is really important. If your resolution is about losing weight, I challenge you to think about it differently.

Focus on your body fat percentage. By doing this, you will be looking at what really matters when it comes to both looking and feeling good.

To get your body fat percentage, you need to ask a professional to assess it for you. You may be able to find scales that will show it electronically, but the best and most accurate way to assess this is by using calipers.

If you are lucky enough to have a facility that uses hydrostatic body fat testing (a test that literally submerges you in water to measure your body fat), this is classified as the golden standard for measuring body fat. Alternatively, when a professional takes your body fat using calipers, they will use a device that will measure the thickness of a pinch of skin at several locations.

These measurements will be plugged into a formula that is used to figure out your estimated body fat percentage.

What does this number mean? It’s actually quite simple; it’s the percentage of fat on your body.

Now don’t panic, as many do when they see their percentage figure, because your body is actually supposed to be composed of a certain amount of fat. This amount varies between populations based on age and sex. Obviously, if you are outside of the healthy range, you are going to want to address this issue as part of your yearly fitness goals.

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