Are you looking to lose weight, get lean and toned, look more athletic, or build muscle?
Then the key to achieving your goal is to improve your body composition.
Body composition is the ratio of lean body mass to adipose mass (fat mass). This is very important for people who want to balance low body fat and good muscle tone. Lean body mass includes the weight of your bones, skin, organs, muscle mass, and body water. Many people just want to see the scale number drop so they will cut calories through a deprivation diet (typically a fad diet) and do countless hours of cardio to burn calories. This will drop the number you see on the scale, but it comes at a cost long term.
If you want to the best body of your life and to keep it for years to come, then you need to shift your focus away from the number on the scale to your body composition.
To find out the importance of building lean muscle and how to calculate it, keep reading.
How To Calculate Lean Body Mass
A good lean muscle percentage range should be about 70% to 90% to be considered healthy. That means that your body fat percentage ranges from 10-30%. Athletes typically range in the 7-22% body fat.
Men tend to be on the higher side with lean mass in 80-90% range and woman in the 70-85% range. Please note that you can be too lean, and that men typically don't want to fall below 5% body fat and women typically don't want to fall below 12-14% body fat. When your fat percentage falls too low, you can start to experience hormonal and health issue associated with too low of a body fat percentage.
To find out your body composition you will need to means to measure your lean mass tissue and your body fat tissue. There are multiple ways to do this including ultra sound scans, fat calipers, electrical impedance scans, etc... A quick Google search can provide you with details on the accuracy and cost of each. Your gym may even provide this service for free or a small charge!
Once you know your lean body mass and fat mass numbers you can then create a plan to improve your body composition. Likely, you will want to increase your lean mass and decrease your fat mass to accomplish your goals.
What Is The Importance Of Lean Body Mass?
Lean body mass is so important. Lean mass is the major engine of our metabolism - meaning the more lean mass you have the higher your metabolism. Meaning you can eat more and not gain weight!
Having higher lean mass also helps combat illnesses such as diabetes and insulin resistance, and can assist you during your recovery after an illness. Higher lean body mass also ensures your bones remain strong and healthy as you age.
Comparing Lean Body Mass And BMI
Both lean body mass and Body Mass Index (BMI) can be used as indicators for good health. But your weight alone only reveals how much you weigh and not the composition of what makes up that weight. Knowing how much of your weight is made up of fat and healthy muscle will lead you to make more healthy lifestyle choices.
BMI is calculated using your height and weight but does not account for the composition of your weight. It is a good starting point, but it is incomplete if lasting health is your goal. Lean body mass is a better indicator of your overall health, and making healthy lifestyle decisions such as eating healthy and getting enough exercise will improve your overall health.
How To Improve Your Lean Body Mass
To improve your lean body mass, you should consider eating a healthy whole food diet and strength training. A good diet, regular exercise, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep will aid the process as well - basically, live a healthy lifestyle. Living a healthy lifestyle will help to increase your lean tissue and reduce your subcutaneous and visceral fat. These are just a few tips on how to improve your body composition.
Age vs Lean Body Mass
It is usual for older people to have a significant amount more body fat than younger people, irrespective of the same BMI range. As you age, it is common to lose lean body mass by about 3% to 8% every ten years on average once you are past 30 year old. Subsequently, your metabolism reduces as you age because of the loss of lean mass, and so it is pretty normal to gain more fat. To slow, and or minimize, this effect you can follow the suggestions above and provided in the links above.
Too many people focus on losing weight by seeing the number on the scale drop, but this is not the best way to improve your health and get the body you want. The better measurement is body composition. Your body composition is the ratio of lean tissue to fat tissue. A healthy body composition ranges from 90% lean tissue and 10% body fat to 70% lean tissue and 30% body fat. Athletes' body fat typically ranges from 8% to 22%. These ranges depend on age and gender.
The best way to improve your lean body mass and body composition is through healthy living - whole food diet, regular exercise and strength training, good sleep, and staying hydrated. If you want to start living your healthiest, best life, then shift your focus from the scale to body composition today!