• Andrew Mason

Body Fat vs Visceral Fat

If you have had a Body Stat consultation at the gym you will have had 17 body measurements taken from muscle mass to your metabolic age. These measurements give you a snapshot of your body on the day of your consultation.

Most people concentrate on how much weight they have lost, however a better indicator of the progress you are making towards your goal is how much fat you have lost. But your body stat card records two measurements taken by the scales related to fat: Body fat percentage and visceral fat rating.

This blog will give you an overview of these two measurements and why you should concentrate on them more than purely on your weight.

Body Fat Percentage

When you step on the scales at the gym and grab hold of the handles the scales start to measure the amount of fat in your body. The scales do this by passing tiny electrical currents between your feet and your hands. You won’t feel these currents, but they measure the resistance between your hands and your feet. The more body fat you have the higher the resistance.

The scales then give you a body fat percentage. This figure is a good indicator of your general health and fitness levels. But what is a good value?

Healthy body fat ranges

Should we all be aiming to get to 0% body fat? Absolutely not. We all need some body fat to:

  • keep you warm,

  • protect your organs and joints, and

  • store energy.

If your body fat is too low, you can suffer from reduced energy levels and a decreased resistance to diseases and infections. So, we need some body fat.

On the flip side, we don’t want too much body fat. High body fat percentages can cause a range of serious health issues including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer.

So what is a healthy body fat percentage? It depends on your age and gender. As we get older we need more fat and females tend to need more fat too. The chart below shows the ranges of body fat by age and gender:

Visceral Fat Rating

Most of our body fat is stored under the skin as subcutaneous fat, however our major organs (heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, etc) need to be wrapped in a layer of fat for protection and padding. Again, we need some visceral fat but having excessive visceral fat is far more dangerous for our health than having excess subcutaneous fat.

Having excessive levels of visceral fat puts pressure on our vital organs but also the cells that store visceral fat produce hormones and inflammatory substances. Over production of these chemicals can cause inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and strokes. For these reasons, reducing and maintaining a healthy level of visceral fat is a must.

So what is a healthy level of visceral fat?

The scales at the gym measure your visceral fat and then give you a rating. This rating is a number between 1 and 59. A healthy level of visceral fat is rating less then 12. It is worth noting that it is possible to be relatively lean but have high levels of visceral fat.

Next steps…

The first thing you should do is get your body fat percentage and visceral fat rating measured so you can get a baseline reading of your current body composition. Then try to change your focus from the weight the scales show to reducing your body fat and more importantly your visceral fat rating. After that, have regular body fat measurements to help you monitor your progress towards reaching your goals.

If you don’t know your body fat percentage or your visceral fat rating, you can book a body stat consultation today. To book your body stat consultation go to the PT500 app and navigate to Book Now – Appointments – Consultation – Body Stats.

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