4

votes

Ideal body fat % with sedentary lifestyle

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 31, 2011 at 2:45 PM

I posted a question several days ago regarding my weight loss. It's stabilized and is slowly going back up to where I want it to be (thank you everyone for your ideas--been drinking some goat's milk every day and including more starchy foods).

I figured that since I don't work out that I'd have a pretty high BF% despite my low weight. Turns out, I have a BF of 15.6%--at least according to my b/f's bioelectrical thingy (after it was set for my height, age and weight). I don't lift weights (although I'd like to get into using my own body mass as a workout), do cardio or anything. Should I lift weights on top of having an already low (athlete level) BF%? I do have a bit of muscle, but am still pretty small. Not looking to get hyper-athletic or anything, I'm just trying to weigh the risks of potentially losing any more body fat in case it might be detrimental. Both of my parents are naturally lean (mom was always able to put on some serious lean muscle--it's freaky), so perhaps I'm just genetically inclined to have a low BF%?

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on July 31, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Nice link, that says I'm at about what I've measured with calipers. Which is, coincidentally, about 5% lower than what my Tanita scale currently reports.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on July 31, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Gaining weight by eating more and building muscle shouldn't decrease your fat percentage, given healthy metabolic/hormonal processes (getting your period, etc) and adequate nutrition that is self-regulating for most women. And more lean mass is ALWAYS good, most especially if you are thin.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on July 31, 2011
at 03:59 PM

I would certainly not avoid physical activity because of low body fat. Our bodies adapt physiologically to their environment, and the physiologic adaptation to exercise is extremely beneficial to a number of systems an function that go far beyond simple body fat calculations. In fact there are studies that show improved parameters of health for active overweight individuals to that of sedentary people of an ideal body weight. Again health is far more than one simply calculation.

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 31, 2011
at 03:08 PM

Thanks for that link. I entered my measurements and it puts me at 17% BF.

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3 Answers

4
26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

on July 31, 2011
at 02:59 PM

Hand-held or scale 'biometrical impedance' devices are simply not accurate. If you're on the skinny side by BMI, they will tell you you have have very low body fat. I've had scales tell me I have 10% body fat, LOL. In reality (DEXA and calipers) I've always tested at 17-19%, at total body weight from 95 to 105 lbs - and I look really lean, since I'm a naturally slim pear shape.

Outside of truly accurate/scientifically proven methods like BodPod, professionally administered calipers, DEXA, and hydrostatic weighing, I've found the US Navy body fat calculator to be quite accurate for many women (who have had it confirmed with more accurate tests). It is for me - says I'm at 19%.

http://fitness.bizcalcs.com/Calculator.asp?Calc=Body-Fat-Navy

1d0497f8781845ab371b479455bfee8e

(11157)

on July 31, 2011
at 03:08 PM

Thanks for that link. I entered my measurements and it puts me at 17% BF.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on July 31, 2011
at 04:11 PM

Gaining weight by eating more and building muscle shouldn't decrease your fat percentage, given healthy metabolic/hormonal processes (getting your period, etc) and adequate nutrition that is self-regulating for most women. And more lean mass is ALWAYS good, most especially if you are thin.

07ca188c8dac3a17f629dd87198d2098

(7970)

on July 31, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Nice link, that says I'm at about what I've measured with calipers. Which is, coincidentally, about 5% lower than what my Tanita scale currently reports.

3
98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

on July 31, 2011
at 05:56 PM

You cannot reach optimal health without exercise. Every body should be lifting something somehow on a regular basis. Lifting is about so much more than losing body fat. You certainly can lift and not lose body fat if you are eating properly for your body. Sounds like you are working on that part which is great. Just add in a bit of movement to keep your body function well now and into the future and you'll be in great shape.

2
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 31, 2011
at 03:41 PM

Working out is important. Body weight exercisees or dumbells would be great. Walking a bit would be good as well.

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