Body composition is the ratio of fat to lean mass of the body, including muscles, bones and organs. Body composition is measured using the body fat ratio. The composition of the body is measured with the proportion of body fat. Usually, in women, a healthy fat percentage ranges from 21% to 24%.
On the other hand, for men, it ranges from 14% to 17%. There are a variety of ways to calculate body fat percentage. Many fitness clubs and doctor’s offices will carry out simple tests to get the figure. There are also body fat scales that measure the weight. When you start an exercise program, it’s a good idea to know your body composition ratio, so that you can assess your progress along the way.
Losing fat does not necessarily mean losing weight. Typically when we lose fat, we tend to gain some muscles that raise our body weight, or sometimes our body weight is constant, even though we engage in intense fat burning exercises. Having the ideal lean and toned body can only be accomplished by indulging not only in fat-burning training but also in muscle building exercises.
A weight measuring scale cannot help to determine the body fat percentage but only tells you about your overall body weight. It should not be relied upon if your goal is not only to lose weight but also to become strong physically. One can calculate his/her body composition through an online body composition calculator. you just have to enter your weight, height and age into it, and it gives you a tentative body composition figure.
It is important to know your body composition, especially when losing weight. Our body comprises of two types of mass-
- Body fat- our body comprises of two categories of fat- visceral and subcutaneous. The fat found in the muscle or under the skin is called subcutaneous fat, whereas, the fat around the organs is called visceral fat. Fat is important for our body composition as it helps to provide energy, protect internal organs, regulate body hormones etc. whereas, excess fat storage is not required by the body.
- Non –fat mass- fat also gets stored in bones, water, muscle, organs and tissues and is commonly known as lean tissue. This fat actively participates in the metabolism, as they help burn calories whereas the body fat does not.
Best body composition exercises
There are 4 categories of body composition exercise that one can include in their everyday workout to get the best results
- Cardio workout
Cardio workout is one of the best workouts to lose body fat. Cardio workout helps to increase heart rate which makes you sweat even more and accelerates the fat burning process and it has proved to be beneficial when combined with other muscle-building exercises. Doing only cardio may not help you to that desired body as it helps to burn fat but must be combined with muscle training exercises to get epic results.
- Strength training or muscle building exercises
Doing only cardio or fat burning exercises is great to lose fat but muscle building also plays a key role in giving that toned shape and desired results. Including strength training workout with your daily routine will help you get quicker results. A prevalent misconception among women is that, if they indulge in strength training, it will lead them to gain more muscles and make them look bulky, which is not true. A female body does not comprise enough testosterone hormone to help them build muscles like men.
- Best body composition exercises
There are some exercises which can help to increase heart rate as well as help in strength building. One may include these exercises to get the best results in a shorter period.
- Push up- modified/tradition
- Walking lunges
- Overhead lunges
- Stability wall pushup
- Interval travelling
- Weighted lunge jump
- Abdominal side plank
- Balanced training program
As doing only cardio or strength training workout may not prove to be the best routine to get that desired body, one must maintain a balance between both to get the best results. There are two categories of workout among which one can choose –
- Circuit training- this involves a mixed cardio and strength training workout. For example, if one indulges in running (cardio) for about 10 min followed by lunges, burpees, squats or any other strength-building workout, this kind of routine is known as circuit workout and it must be followed at least 5-6 times a week to get quick results.
- Alternate day routine- In this routine, different categories of workout are performed on alternate days. One can indulge in cardio and strength building workout on alternate days, e.g.- performing cardio on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and following strength-building routine on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. This helps to maintain a balance between both and also gives times to our muscles to recover after an intense workout.
Both the workout routines will help you get epic results quickly.
Sometimes, certain factors can affect our body composition, which may not be in our control-
- Hormones- play a key role and can imbalance body composition.
- Age- with age, people gain some muscles which can result in weight gain if they do not engage in any physical activity.
- Sex- naturally, women have more fat storage than men.
- Genes- play a very important role in body composition, as some people are naturally lean while some have a higher tendency to retain fat.
How to change your body composition?
If one has more fat storage in their body, they must work at improving their body composition, by indulging in regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet. People should engage in some kind of physical activity, as it helps them to stay healthy, lowers the risk of diseases which an unhealthy person can easily catch.
To maintain good body composition, one must aim to increase muscle mass and reduce excess fat mass to make the body look better, healthier and toned. The diet may be modified, a training program introduced or all approaches combined.
Our body composition plays an important role when we are trying to lose weight. Tracking your body composition helps to assess weight loss and calculate your progress. It enables one to track their fat and mass percentage and helps them to plan a workout and diet suitable to their body requirement.