Thriving Well


You’re probably familiar with the term BMI (Body Mass Index), which divides weight by height to give you an indicator of total body fat.

19 Apr 2021
However, there have been criticisms of BMI over the nearly two centuries of its use, with one of the main arguments being that it does not differentiate between muscle and fat. Some people may have a higher BMI as they’re more muscular whereas those whose BMI is in the normal range may have too much body fat and not enough muscles. A more accurate measure is Body Fat Percentage (BFP), which is the ratio of body fat to lean body mass. It tells you how much of your weight constitutes fat.


Why is Body Fat Percentage (BFP) important?

No matter your weight, the higher your BFP, the higher your risks of developing obesity-related problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type-2 diabetes.

In fact, weight can be a misleading factor; being thin does not mean being free from or having lower risks. There is such a thing as“skinny fat”, whereby the body stores more visceral (or internal fat that wraps around the organs) than subcutaneous fat (that sits right under the skin and so is highly visible), thus creating a slim appearance while hiding the dangers within.

BFP is also useful to help you decide what your workout goal should be as it paints an accurate picture of your body composition – how much fat mass and how much lean body mass. Your trainer can then devise a programme that helps you achieve your ideal body composition.


How Do You Measure Body Fat Percentage (BFP)?

One of the most accurate ways to measure body fat is using Bioelectric Impedance Analysis (BIA), in which a safe electrical signal is sent through the body to calculate weight and resistance or impedance. From there, BFP and other details are calculated. Fitness First uses this method via a machine called Boditrax, a state-of-the-art tool that delivers body composition results in just 30 seconds. Boditrax is easy to use, intuitive and most importantly, gives BFP readings that are within 5% of DEXA, which is the gold standard for measuring body fat.