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20% Body Fat...Good for a woman??


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I was talking to a guy at the gym last night and he said that if he had to guess, he'd say my body fat was around 20%.  I wasn't sure if I should be insulted or if that was a compliment.  It sounds a little high.  Would that be good for a woman??? 

Edited Oct 04 2012 15:11 by bierorama
Reason: Moved to Fitness for better response.
12 Replies (last)

Ok, so I just found some pictures on google of what 20% would look like on a women and I think I'm more like 18-19%. 

Now that I think of it, my boyfriend once told me (meant to be a compliment) that my body fat was probably around 25%.  Now I'm a little mad at him Yell.  Not that 25% is bad...but I work-out really hard and that was pretty much the equivalent of him guessig my weight at 10lbs higher than what it actually is. 

I used to confuse body fat and body mass.

I haven't had my bf percentage tested in awhile, but thru calculators online it says I'm like 23-24. I don't like that. But I know I don't have a lot of fat and I like the way I look so I'm not getting hung up on numbers and percentages.

Under 31% is considered "average" for women. Below 25% is considered "fit" and below 20 is considered "athletic." Go lower than 14% and you're down to essential body fat.

I don't think looking like you have 20% BF is an insult. Really, though, it's pretty much impossible to estimate someone's body fat % just by looking at them. Online calculators are probably even worse than eyeballing.

Thank you!  I guess I just had no idea and 20% sounded like a lot of fat.  I'd say I'm probably somewhere between fit & athletic so 20% probably isn't that far off. 

20% sounds like a lot when you think its all fat that is visible. The thing is that a lot of that fat is surrounding organs as protection and is stored for making things like hormones. Women naturally have higher bf as well because our bodies want to store energy for when we get pregnant. So, while a guy can get down to 7% when he is really trim, a woman at 7% would not have her period and would not ovulate. I am not sure what the exact # is below which you definitely won't have a period but I think its something like 14% as bierorama suggests

20% is very good. Even a dehydrated fitness model will have around 10% when she steps on stage.

 

It`s good. But if you want visible abs you need to get it to around the 15% range.

Its not advised for women to go less than about 10% body fat or else you risk disrupting normal hormonal balance, menstruation, fertility, bone density, etc. Even fitness competitors can only maintain low body fat for a short period of time. 

Some sources say 31% is average, others say 30+% is obese, 26-30% is overweight, 21-25% is normal and 20% and lower is "fitness."  It also depends on age.  The older you are, the more medically acceptable it is for your bf% to be higher.  

 

I'm a few years shy of 50..ugh..but anyway..I'm not gonna let my age give me excuses to have more bf! lol I just had my bf% re-taken 3 weeks ago. I am at 17% (and I do have visible abs-- to the poster that said you need to be at 15% for visible abs). Although I weigh about 4lbs more than I did a year ago my bf% has dropped..1 year ago it was 19%. So, I'm much happier weighing more but having a lower bf%. (Weight: 112. Height 5'4") I have no intentions of entering any type of Betty White Sr. Fitness model competition, heehee, so going any lower is not a goal or concern of mine..content at maintaining my current bf%..

Original Post by smashley23:

Some sources say 31% is average, others say 30+% is obese 

maybe obese is average

Original Post by metabolicmom:

I'm a few years shy of 50..ugh..but anyway..I'm not gonna let my age give me excuses to have more bf! lol I just had my bf% re-taken 3 weeks ago. I am at 17% (and I do have visible abs-- to the poster that said you need to be at 15% for visible abs). Although I weigh about 4lbs more than I did a year ago my bf% has dropped..1 year ago it was 19%. So, I'm much happier weighing more but having a lower bf%. (Weight: 112. Height 5'4") I have no intentions of entering any type of Betty White Sr. Fitness model competition, heehee, so going any lower is not a goal or concern of mine..content at maintaining my current bf%..

Wow, good for you!!!!!!!!  You're in better shape than most women in their 20's...that's quite an acomplishment! 

My abs are only very slightly visible...like not six-pack but closer to VS models (although not quite that lean).  So, I'm probably around 19-20%.  I think 17% would be a nice goal for me :). 

I understand visible abs is once you're below 20% (body type depending of course)

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